Informing MCH Public Health Practice through Data, Assessment and Evidence-Based Practice
February 2017

Cheryl Clark, Krista Granger, Jennifer Farfalla, Lynda Krisowaty and Charlotte Cleveland
Epidemiology and Evaluation Team, AMCHP

Data and information assist with descriptive measures of health and health-related services and can be used to demonstrate the impacts of interventions, administrative policies and laws/regulations on the health of mothers, children and families. To support effective use of health data and information, AMCHP’s Epidemiology and Evaluation team leads learning, mentorship and networking collaboratives, and provides epidemiology and data technical support to AMCHP members, MCH professionals and external partners. The following are selected highlights from 2016.

Supporting the Journey Towards Evidence-Based Practice

 With an increasing need to demonstrate definitive links between programs and intended outcomes, the use of evidence in program design, implementation and evaluation has become more imperative than ever. With funding from the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau, AMCHP continued to provide opportunities for the MCH field to share and replicate promising, innovative and best practices that serve to strengthen evidence-based practice.

Best Practices Awards

The AMCHP Best Practices Committee reviews and disseminates emerging, promising and best practices from public health programs across the U.S. so effective models can be shared and replicated among the MCH community. The Best Practices Committee awarded the following top emerging, promising and best practices submissions from 2016 and presented the honors at the AMCHP Annual Conference in March 2016:

    • Emerging : Innovative Approaches: Communities Systems Building Grants for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Text (North Carolina)
    • Promising: Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait Consumer Education Initiative (New York)
    • Best Practice: HealthConnect One: Community-Based Doula Program (Illinois)

Submissions to Innovation Station

AMCHP welcomes submissions of innovative MCH practice descriptions to share with the MCH field. In 2016, AMCHP had 16 submissions to Innovation Station in the following categories: cutting-edge practice (1), emerging (4), promising (10) and best (1).

Replication Projects

Three states were awarded funding and technical support from AMCHP to replicate a best practice in Innovation Station.

  • Hawaii: Replicating Oklahoma’s Text4baby & Sooner Care (Emerging Practice)
  • Louisiana: Replicating Oklahoma’s Text4baby & Sooner Care (Emerging Practice)
  • Iowa: Replicating Colorado’s Transition Interagency Group Envisioning Realization of Self (T.I.G.E.R.S.) (Emerging Practice)

Leading Learning Collaboratives

AMCHP continued to facilitate well-received learning and mentorship opportunities for the MCH field.

Return on Investment Analytic Action Learning Collaboratives (ROI ALC): Through support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, AMCHP led two cohorts of the ROI ALC from August 2014 – February 2016. Guided by health economists and communications experts, nine state teams completed a return on investment analysis and communication product. Results and lessons learned from state teams were shared at AMCHP, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, CityMatCH and American Public Health Association conferences in 2016.

Harvard School of Public Health and CDC Program Evaluation Practicum: For a third year, AMCHP worked in partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard School of Public Health to conduct this three-week course that began in January 2016. AMCHP participated on calls with CDC and Harvard faculty to coordinate the design of the curriculum, solicit state team participants, evaluate applications and invite speakers. The practicum provides an opportunity for Harvard Master of Public Health degree students and state MCH program staff to learn essential program evaluation methods and collaborate in the development of an evaluation plan. Upon course completion, student participants had developed a comprehensive evaluation plan that could be implemented by their respective MCH programs.

Data Translation Action Learning Collaborative: In May 2016, AMCHP launched an eight-month ALC to increase data communication capacity among state-level MCH epidemiologists. After a competitive application process, AMCHP selected six states (Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisiana, Washington and Hawaii) to participate. The ALC consisted of virtual learning events, peer-sharing sessions, learning assignments and technical assistance from a national communication experts to work on communication products. The communication experts for the ALC were storytelling expert Laura Saponara from the Public Health Institute, data visualization expert Jenny Lyons from Evergreen Data and health equity/strategic communication expert Glynis Shea from the University of Minnesota. In December, state teams presented on their final projects, which included conversation guides, presentations, data websites and infographics.

Expanding Communications and Knowledge about the Zika Virus

In Fall 2016, AMCHP was provided funds by the CDC to increase communications and knowledge among Title V programs on the Zika virus, including recommended strategies to reduce its transmission. The CDC enlisted AMCHP to coordinate a meeting in September 2016 composed of reproductive health experts from national, state and local agencies and organizations to discuss strategies to improve access to contraceptive methods to reduce risk of Zika transmission.

Providing Peer-to-Peer Sharing and Networking Opportunities

Leadership Lab Epi-Net Peer to Peer Cohort: AMCHP led the first MCH Epi-Net P2P Cohort from December 2015 – September 2016 for 10 selected MCH epidemiologists to network with their colleagues and hone leadership skills. The cohort received leadership development learning opportunities, peer-to-peer interactions and mentoring. The cohort also engaged in a group collaborative project creating the Toolkit to Effective Persuasion and Communication for MCH Epidemiologists.

MCH Epi Community of Practice (CoP): AMCHP launched the MCH Epi CoP as an online space for MCH Epidemiologists to collect and share MCH epi practices and resources. The goal of the MCH Epi CoP is for participants to increase their MCH epidemiology capacity by helping one another overcome problems, test ideas, catalog acquired knowledge and enhance professional networks. This CoP is open to anyone interested in MCH Epi topics.

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) MCH Symposium 2016: AMCHP was a planning partner for the MCH Symposium Expanding our Focus: Emerging Methods to Incorporate Populations Underrepresented in MCH Analysis and Reporting at the 2016 CSTE Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The symposium focused on strategies for identifying and including underrepresented populations and for incorporating emerging analytics. AMCHP is again a planning partner for the MCH Symposium at the 2017 CSTE Annual Conference.

Training and Epi Support Services

In May 2016, AMCHP launched Epidemiology Support Services as a structured means to provide members with direct epidemiology support and connections to field experts to guidance on applied MCH epidemiology projects. AMCHP and CityMatCH offered four two-day epidemiology-focused trainings on Sept. 12-13 prior to the 2016 CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference for those wishing to build their skills in the areas of Medicaid claims analysis, data communication, spatial thinking and evidence-based public health. Each of the four trainings had 20 to 45 participants. Training evaluation results showed that all trainings were very well-received. All of the training participants in the Data Communication, Spatial thinking and Evidence-Based public health trainings strongly agreed or agreed they were satisfied with the information from these trainings, while 94 percent of those in the Medicaid claims analysis training strongly agreed or agreed they were satisfied with the training.