Julie Traylor, AMCHP’s Annual Conference Committee Chair, is the Director of Strategic Development for the Division of Family Health and Wellness at the Tennessee Department of Health, where she focuses on developing staff and partnerships. She came to the department as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CDC/CSTE) Applied Epidemiology Fellow in 2013 and led the completion of the 2015 Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant needs assessment. Following the fellowship, she spent 6 years as the MCH Block Grant coordinator leading assessment, planning, implementing, and reporting on grant activities. She now leads a team focused on strategic planning, staff training and development, and MCH informatics projects. Julie has been a member of AMCHP since 2014. In 2016 she joined the Best Practices Committee because of her interest in evaluation and desire to disseminate best practices throughout the MCH workforce. She joined the Conference Planning Committee in 2019 and now serves as committee chair.
What is your role on the AMCHP Conference Planning Committee?
I am the chair of the AMCHP Conference Planning Committee, which comprises both AMCHP members and staff. We are responsible for planning and implementing the AMCHP Conference annually in partnership with the conference consultants. I work with the AMCHP Board Liaison to lead monthly planning meetings, organize tasks, and fulfill needs during the conference. I see my role as advocating for a conference that meets the needs of members.
What motivated you to join the Planning Committee in 2019 and now shift into a leadership position as Committee Chair?
I have always connected with AMCHP as an organization, starting with my first conference in 2014. Ever since then, I have participated in committee work. The first committee I served on, as a member and then chair, was the Best Practices Committee (now the MCH Innovations Committee). After maxing out my volunteer time there, I moved to the Conference Planning Committee. When the chair position became vacant on the Conference Planning Committee, I was asked to consider it. I am a volunteer at heart and always willing to take on responsibilities where needed, so I agreed to chair the committee. It has been a great experience working with Caroline Stampfel, AMCHP Board Liaison for the committee, over the years.
What is your favorite part about planning the AMCHP Annual Conference and working with other committee members?
I really enjoy the innovative ideas that committee members come up with to improve the conference experience each year. They are so engaged and invested in the work which makes it fun to be a part of this group. I also really appreciated the work ethic of the committee. Members realize we are here to do a job and they all work together to fulfill our collective responsibility. There is great camaraderie within this group.
What features of this year’s conference are you most excited about?
I am most excited about the in-person component of the conference. After 3 years of completely virtual conferences, I can’t wait to see AMCHP members in person. Over the years, I have developed relationships with colleagues across the country by attending the AMCHP Annual Conference. The conference is sometimes the only time I get to connect with these colleagues in person. It is rejuvenating to have that in-person connection, so May 2023 can’t get here fast enough!
What is something you want potential participants to know about this year’s conference?
This year we are planning to offer a hybrid experience, which will include both in-person and virtual components. We will try to bring the best of both worlds to our event. We hope this will allow more members to attend the conference through the modality that is best for them.
Thinking back on the 2022 conference theme, what is your “why” for working in maternal and child health?
I do this work because I want to improve people’s lives. I believe everyone should have the environment and resources they need to lead a healthy and happy life. I have seen generational changes in my own family that show this is possible. I want that for all families. We are in this together.
What does the 2023 conference theme, Cultivating Diverse Leaders in Maternal and Child Health, mean to you?
We need to continually invest in our workforce. It is so important to transfer knowledge to new staff and grow the skills of all staff. We also need to diversify our workforce at every level. It is important to take action to make this a reality. I look forward to many conference sessions on this topic. Ultimately, we need to remember our strength is in the health, well-being, knowledge, skills, and diversity of our workforce.
How do you think this conference will impact the future of the maternal and child health field?
Any time colleagues come together to learn from each other, there is growth. The dissemination of ideas and the development of partnerships propel us all forward. This coming together is so important for impacting the maternal and child health field.