Posts tagged ‘AMCHP’

Seeing Public Health through a New Lens

One of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held February 10-13, in Arlington, Virginia. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Emma Beall, BSPH

This Mardi Gras, I decided to trade in my beads for a trip to the AMCHP annual conference. The theme, Staying Focused: The Enduring Commitment of MCH to Families and Outcomes, featured several fascinating panel discussions, such as one emphasizing the importance of including fathers and men in MCH programs. Another focused on recent disasters across the U.S. – the recent wildfires, hurricanes, flooding – and rise of the opioid epidemic – as well as the threats these emergencies pose to public health.

The day before the conference officially started, I attended two skill-building sessions with other conference participants. The morning session, Transforming Health Centers into Adolescent- Centered Medical Homes, was one of my favorite parts of the conference. During this session, facilitators walked the group through specific ways health facilities can more effectively reach and serve adolescents, particularly through changes to clinic environments. Tips presented included both providing phone chargers in waiting rooms and posting confidentiality laws throughout the clinic so that teens know what they can disclose in confidence with providers – without fear of their parents finding out. Facilitators also noted the importance of extending clinic hours to allow for appointments later in the day and on the weekends in order to better reach teens. Other sessions focused on a range of topics, from preventing teen pregnancy in rural communities to improving maternal and child health using a collective impact model.

The conference ended with an inspiring keynote from Michael Lu, who previously served as the director of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Lu highlighted the importance of incorporating One Health into future MCH work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that this approach “recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment.” Given the recent emergence of Zika and the readily visible impacts of climate change, from rising sea levels to severe storms, I hope that future initiatives will use this lens when aiming to address the health of mothers, children, and families.

Emma Beall is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2018. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Public Health at Tulane University in December 2016. Her interests include preconception health, adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health, and clinic-based interventions. She enjoys yoga and exploring all that New Orleans has to offer



February 28, 2018 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

AMCHP 2018 Conference Proposal Submissions


Call for Proposals: The 2018 AMCHP Annual Conference

Feb. 10-13, Crystal City, Va.

DeadlineFriday, Sept. 111:59 p.m. ET

The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) invites you to submit a proposal for the 2018 AMCHP Annual Conferencewhere the theme is Staying Focused: The Enduring Commitment of MCH to Families and Outcomes.

Tracks for this year’s conference include:
·       Adolescent Health (includes youth development and transition)
·       Advocacy
·       Child Health
·       CYSCHN
·       Epidemiology/Data, Assessment and Evaluation (includes Health Outcomes: Impact of Investment/ROI, etc.)
·       Family and Youth Engagement (includes fatherhood involvement, family-centered care)
·       Health Care Financing and Coverage (includes Health Reform)
·       Life Course Approach
·       MCH Block Grant Transformation
·       MCH Systems Building
·       Women’s and Infant Health
·       Workforce Development and Leadership

The AMCHP Annual Conference is the ideal venue to present your ideas, research, innovative programming, best practices and effective outreach strategies to MCH and other public health practitioners. Our audience includes directors of state programs, federal officials, advocates, family leaders, researchers and health care providers. We encourage proposal submissions to include any aspects related to family and youth engagement and involvement. Reviewers will give special consideration to proposals that include family or youth as presenters and/or panelists, especially for the Family and Youth Engagement and the Adolescent Health tracks. 

Click here for complete information about submitting your session proposal and for the online submission system. The deadline for submissions is FridaySept. 1. You will receive notification of the status of your submission by Friday, Oct. 13. 

If you have questions about the session proposal submission process, please contact Corey Siembeida at or (703) 964-1240, ext. 20.

July 31, 2017 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

Renewed by coaching

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Thea Lange, BA

Although attending the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Annual Conference helped me develop new skills and knowledge to bring back to New Orleans, the highlight of my experience was an impromptu coaching session.

I have always appreciated the value of coaching and mentoring programs but, prior to this experience, I have never attended a conference that offers coaching sessions to its attendees. When I learned that coaching was available at AMCHP, I immediately signed up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one excited about the opportunity. I was put on a waitlist and assumed I would have to wait until next year for my coaching session.

Luckily, on Monday afternoon I received an email telling me that a slot had opened up!  Too busy with skills-building sessions to prepare for my coaching appointment (but unwilling to pass on the opportunity), I walked in underprepared. To my surprise, that didn’t matter. In fact, my session was more fruitful because I didn’t have time to overthink.

During the session, my coach asked me a series of questions about my professional and personal aspirations. Through mirroring my tone and body language, she helped me feel confident about my plans for the next few years. Speaking with her gave me a renewed sense of purpose and passion for the work I am doing. I left the coaching session and AMCHP excited to get back to New Orleans and get to work.


Thea Lange is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She received a bachelor degree in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and continues to integrate her undergraduate background into her public health work. Her interests include early childhood education, criminal justice reform, and trauma-informed care.


April 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm Leave a comment

Health Equity in Maternal and Child Health

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Alexis Robles, BA

The 2017 AMCHP Conference in Kansas City was the first conference I attended as a graduate student at Tulane University. I was made aware of this conference through my internship in health equity with the Louisiana Office of Public Health – Bureau of Family Health. The theme of the AMCHP Conference was Engagement with Intention: Inclusivity, Diversity, & Non-Traditional Partnerships. This theme fit perfectly with my work as the BFH Health Equity Intern and I submitted a proposal to present on undoing implicit bias, which was accepted as a poster presentation. The theme of the overall conference was incredibly important to me and inspiring. Public Health professionals from across the country gathered to discuss and share information on diversity, equity, and inclusivity in Maternal and Child Health.

I was exceptionally lucky to be able to participate in the Radical Justice 101: Building the Capacity of MCH to Advance Racial Equity: Putting Concepts into Action daylong session. This session struck me with its participant diversity as it included public health professionals from all different backgrounds, from pediatricians, Title V coordinators, and epidemiologists, to doulas, students, and community health workers. From these different professional backgrounds, we all came together to focus on individual and organizational skill building as it relates to health equity. It was inspiring to see the collaboration across states, professions, gender, races, and languages in the room as we discussed the heavy but necessary topic of racial justice, racial equity, and health equity. Overall, I left this session inspired to join the MCH public health community and with much needed skills on talking about race constructively and authentically engaging both community and partners on social justice issues.

This session combined with the overall theme and accompanying sessions at this conference left me inspired and hopeful for the future of diversity and equity in MCH. I have a renewed passion and sense of purpose to continue this work in my personal and professional life. This conference was an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow while seeing firsthand the quality of work being produced across the nation.

Alexis Robles is a third-year MPH student with a concentration in Community Health Sciences and a certificate in Program Management, with an interest in Maternal and Child Health.  She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her professional background is in community health, particularly with vulnerable and sensitive populations and health policy. Her research interests include health equity, health disparities, racial equity, and social justice. Alexis loves watching horror and sci-fi films and collecting indie bath and body products. She spends her free time with her rescue dog visiting as many parks as possible.


April 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Building Better Brains

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Francine Wood, BS

I jumped at the opportunity to attend the AMCHP conference. As a public health student, attending a public health focused conference was one of the milestones that I was encouraged to achieve prior to graduating. With this in mind, I was ecstatic to take advantage of all the sessions and networking opportunities available at the conference.

The first session, a skills building session, happened to be my favorite. The session, Building Better Brains: Using Partnership Early Brain Development to Impact Academic Success and Life-Long Health, focused on using the life course approach to improve the health outcomes during early childhood. The brain is not fully developed at birth and most of the structural development occurs between 3 – 5 years. Although, this is an important stage, brain development is an on-going process and development of different parts such as the frontal lobe can occur as late as age 25. Understanding these mechanisms as public health professionals is important but it is vital to explain the science of early brain development to stakeholders who impact the development of babies, children, teenagers and youth. One of the organizations that has been successful in driving positive change within these populations is the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS). The organization has engaged parents, legislators, government officials and other stakeholders to understand what promotes, derails and affects brain development using tools such as the Brain Architecture Game. GEEARS did not achieve its success in a silo, it partnered with the University of Georgia and had the support of the Georgia Department of Public Health. This shows the importance of leveraging partnerships both on the government and private level, and working towards a common goal.

Overall, the session was very insightful and it provided a practical application of the life course approach and other behavior change theories often discussed during my classes.

Francine Wood is a second-year MPH student in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioural Sciences concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her interests include social and behaviour change communication, monitoring and evaluation, sexual and reproductive health, HIV and STIs.  She also loves travelling and immersing herself in new cultures, cooking and volunteering in her community.



March 29, 2017 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

Diversity, early childhood, and context

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), held this year March 4 – 7, in Kansas City, MO. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Fiona Ritchey, BS

The AMCHP 2017 Conference in Kansas City was the first conference I’ve attended specifically geared towards Maternal and Child Health, and I loved it. Having attended APHA the previous school year, I was looking forward to seeing what a smaller, more focused conference would be like. The overall theme for the conference was Engagement with Intention: Inclusivity, Diversity, & Non-Traditional Partnerships. During my time at Tulane I’ve come to better understand some of the strengths and limitations of the public health field as it stands today, and I truly believe that maximizing our impact going forward requires engaging diverse, non-traditional partnerships with intention. There will never be enough money, buy-in, or brilliant ideas for us in public health to successfully go it alone, particularly for the big, structural changes that are needed to promote health equity and eliminate racial disparities. So it was inspiring and invigorating to be among researchers and professionals who’ve reached the same conclusions and are working on creative ways to tackle our toughest, most intransigent issues.

The first day of activities was technically the pre-conference, and included skills-building sessions in the morning and afternoon. It was so refreshing to have a smaller, interactive learning experience at a conference, rather than sitting in an enormous meeting hall and maybe getting to ask a single question. The first skills-building session I attended was called Building Better Brains, presented by several folks from Georgia representing different organizations working together to improve early childhood systems in the state. Early childhood development is my area of interest, so I was excited and interested to see the success of their collaboration in another southern state with relatively similar challenges. We played an interactive brain-building game with pipe cleaners, straws, and weights that successfully made childhood neurodevelopment very accessible to a lay audience. I got lots of contact information at the session and I’m excited to share the game with folks I work with in New Orleans.

One session I was disappointed in was about cultural competence as a tool to reduce health disparities. While there was a fun, easy game at the beginning to encourage participants to think about the level of diversity in their lives, we got barely any time at all to discuss the results and why we might have found what we did. The presentation afterwards defined a trajectory of cultural competence that failed to address cultural humility, which I consider to be a key factor for predominantly white public health professionals that often work in communities of color. There was also an extended part of the presentation about “dimensions of different cultures” that basically reduced each culture to a stereotype. Luckily that afternoon I attended another session called Place, Race, Poverty, and Young children which provided a much more nuanced and contextual look at the role of race in early childhood systems and health disparities. Overall I think I gained some valuable knowledge and skills from AMCHP that will serve me as I enter the MCH workforce this summer. I’m excited to hear what my fellow scholars thought!

Fiona Ritchey is a second-year MPH student with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health and a certificate in Epidemiology. Her background is in psychiatric research, with a focus on mood and anxiety disorders. Her professional interests include early childhood development, mental health, policy, and health equity. Fiona is a cooking fanatic, and spends her free time researching recipes and cooking for friends and family.


March 28, 2017 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

Finding Inspiration in Hidden Treasures

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) in April, in Washington, D.C. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Sylvia Adjei, BA

Attending a public health centered conference felt like one of the milestones that every public health student has to experience before graduating and venturing out into the real world. With this notion, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the AMCHP conference. As a first time attendee of a conference focused on the field of public health, I did not know what to expect. Were the attendees going to be public health gurus too high up to even engage with the emerging young public health professionals like myself? Would the topics discussed in the sessions be too complex for my mind to comprehend, yet the fear of not wanting to sound unaware prevent me from asking clarifying questions? These and so much more were the questions that I replayed constantly until my first day at AMCHP.

During my first session, “Building a Multisector Approach to Reducing Infant Mortality,” the uneasiness that I felt prior to the conference began to fade away. I realized, each person in the room, as learned as they are, still thirst for new knowledge and information to take back to their states and cities to shape their public health practices. I learned from the session presenters that in building multisector partnership, we have to do three things: 1. Determine the priority issues, which results from having honest conversations with communities; 2. Get the right partners – the best approach is to use the life course perspective; 3. Determine how to turn it into action – either build off toolkits developed by other sectors or use design thinking to come up with innovative approaches.

This session fine-tuned some ideas that I already held regarding multisector partnerships, but it also imparted unto me some new information. Perhaps, the gem that I came across at this session and the entirety of the conference was learning about Oakland, California’s Maternal Paternal Child and Adolescent Health (MPCAH) Program. Judging by the heads that turned and the hands raised in the room, it was no secret that Oakland’s MPCAH was the first and only one in the nation. Oakland’s MPCAH program addressed a question that I have asked myself several times after choosing to concentrate in MCH. The question being, “If fathers’ involvement is important in addressing maternal and child health issues, why then have we systematically excluded fathers from initiatives addressing maternal, child and adolescent health?” Learning about the MPCAH program made me wonder how bright the future of MCH would be once we begin to shift towards the inclusion of fathers.

Sylvia Adjei is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student with a concentration in Global Maternal and Child Health, and is expected to graduate May 2016. Her interests include health equity, improving minority birth outcomes, and evaluating the impact of public health programs. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and immersing herself in new cultures, going for a walk, drinking tea, and catching up on her favorite comedy shows.


May 4, 2016 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

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