Marcus Johnson-Miller currently serves as Iowa’s Title V Director and Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Family Health at the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). Along with the Title V program, Marcus oversees the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation Program, Title X Family Planning, Abstinence Education Grant Program, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Newborn metabolic and hearing screening programs and other state-funded maternal and child health (MCH) related programs.
Marcus began his career in the Title V program as an administrative intern in 2002, assisting with the preparation of the Title V Application and Annual Report and implementing professional development opportunities for MCH staff at the state and local level. His first official position began in 2003 as the contract manager/claims processor for the Bureau of Family Health. Later, Marcus managed IDPH’s Child and Adolescent Reporting System, the data system for Title V programs to report activities and services. Most recently, he served as Iowa’s Title V Block Grant Coordinator and State Coordinator for Iowa’s 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative. Through his experience, Marcus has well-rounded experience including fiscal management, data management, and program coordination. [learn more]
As part of our Voices of AMCHP series, designed to highlight our dedicated Board members and their work, we invited Marcus to share some insights on his background, experience serving on AMCHP’s Board of Directors, and his advice for young MCH professionals.
What motivated you to join AMCHP’s Board of Directors?
Over my career, I have always appreciated the way that AMCHP supports state Title V programs. I wanted to give back to the organization that has provided so much assistance to our state.
How do your background and experience contribute to your role as Treasurer of AMCHP’s Board of Directors?
As a state Title V Director, I see directly how Title V funds are used within states. I currently oversee a budget of over $40M annually. One of my first positions in Iowa’s Title V program was our contract and fiscal manager. I helped prepare the annual budgets, executed contracts and paid claims. While I am no accountant, I understand financial processes, especially when dealing with federal and state funding.
How has your previous position on the board as Regional Director prepared you for this new role of Treasurer?
As Regional Director, I was able to see how the board functions and was able to watch my predecessor report as treasurer. As a membership supported organization, I am always interested in ensuring that the contributions of the state Title V programs are used in the most effective and efficient ways.
How has your role at AMCHP’s Board of Directors contributed to your work?
I have made so many connections to other state Title V directors through my work with the AMCHP Board. Being able to call up another state to see how they are addressing an issue or to learn more about something they shared at a meeting has been invaluable! Also, being at the table as we develop and approve strategic plans, legislative priorities and other guidance has helped provide some insight into where we want to go in Iowa.
How do you manage your time between your role on the AMCHP Board, Title V MCH Director, and serving on several external MCH committees/councils?
As Title V Director for my state, I see it as my role to set the direction for Iowa’s MCH program. By serving on other committees, councils and the AMCHP Board, I am able to see what is happening across the state and country to inform my work. I have an amazing staff that are able to manage the day-to-day work within the Title V program and are always open to new ideas.
What motivated you to work in the maternal and child health (MCH) field?
As I think back to my motivation to keep working in MCH, there are two reasons that I always come back to. Growing up in rural Iowa, I remember the lack of access to services. I have always been interested in ensuring that all Iowans have access to health and other supportive services. Secondly, shortly after graduating from college, one of my closest friends died due to complications related to preeclampsia at the age of 25, one week after giving birth to her first child. She was active and healthy. I want to make sure that this doesn’t keep happening to women. If we do this work right, we are setting families up to be successful throughout their entire lives.
Thinking about the 2023 AMCHP Annual Conference theme, Cultivating Diverse Leaders in Maternal and Child Health, what can other established MCH professionals like yourself do to empower young leaders?
Listen to what the young leaders are telling us! The ways that young people communicate and engage are very different from how I communicated at their age. We need to be open to adapting what we do to meet the current needs of young leaders.
What advice would you give a young person interested in working in MCH?
Come intern with Iowa’s Title V program (or any state Title V program)! This will allow you to see a wide variety of programs, tasks and ways that you could make an impact in the MCH world.
Given that our Board is very engaged in AMCHP’s strategic planning process, what are you most excited for our organization to potentially accomplish by 2027?
Finding new and better ways to connect with those individuals with lived experience.