Ask the Alumni
October 2017

We asked alumni: Given AMCHP’s goal on alignment, what did you find most challenging about alignment in your work in Title V/MCH? Were there examples where you successfully addressed alignment within your agency or across other agencies?

Here’s what they said:

It is challenging when the priorities are set without a thorough process to embed the family perspective. Sometimes aligning the actual experience of families with the priority does not match up.

 – Eileen Forlenza
Immediate Past President, AMCHP Board

In terms of alignment, I always think of it as promoting “horizontal” collaboration and work in a “vertical” world. Everything about state government is vertical: reporting lines, programmatic organizational units, siloed funding, rewards, and recognition and promotion, etc. [Colorado’s] best example of alignment is our cross-program work on our early childhood obesity prevention initiative, which encompasses effort on 2 NPMS: breastfeeding and physical activity. This effort is housed in our WIC program, but funding and collaboration comes from MCH, WIC, and [the] chronic disease [department], all of whom weigh in on the action plan and the performance management progress. This one initiative meets deliverables for multiple federal grants and puts the issue of children and primary prevention front and center. It has been a very successful and long-lasting effort, particularly since most states are not leveraging WIC funding for more population-based efforts. I supervised two of the programs – WIC and MCH – when I started this effort, and Chronic had a need to do something on breastfeeding for its CDC grant, so we were able to convince them to “get on board” for this cross-division effort.

– Karen Trierweiler
Former Region VIII Director, AMCHP Board

I made it a point that any new initiative at the state level needed to align with the MCH Title V Block Grant goals. For example, when there was a discussion of future MCH projects with our Medicaid agency or Perinatal Quality Collaborative, I would share our Title V focus areas/goals and determine how we could have a collective impact by ensuring the new project contributed towards these goals.

– Kris Albers
Former Region IV Director, AMCHP Board