AMCHP to Host Plenary Session on Sharing Your Why!
May 06, 2022

The AMCHP 2022 Annual Conference is approaching! We can’t wait for you to join us at AMCHP 2022, held virtually from May 24-26, and be part of our Sharing Your Why plenary session where WHY is front and center.

Get inspired by our maternal and child health (MCH) community through their stories. Discover why they feel passionate about their work, what motivates them, why things need to change to create more equitable opportunities for the MCH population, and where their efforts fit into that change.

Through our Sharing Your Why plenary session and our presenter’s stories, we aim to:

  • Highlight the multiple ways in which their journeys to the MCH field enhance and strengthen the overall MCH workforce.
  • Make you feel motivated and passionate about their work and the direction that MCH needs to head to shape better futures for children, adolescents, and families.
  • Motivate you to reflect on their MCH journey, what brought them to the MCH field, and experience a sense of belonging within the MCH field.
  • Allow you to discover how the public health and MCH fields are enriched by having a workforce with diverse experiences and backgrounds and acknowledging the many pathways to and within MCH.
  • Understand our collective capacity to welcome others into the MCH field, feel inspired to create a welcoming environment, and think intentionally about who they are/should be inviting into the MCH space as the collective building blocks for effective and strategic partnership and collaboration.

Check out these inspiring testimonials from our MCH community!


“As an early career professional, the wildflowers in the field reflect the different professional positions I’ve taken and passions I have explored. We all have our own list, right? My path has picked up on the cross-sector of public health in different fields which led me to pursuing a Masters in Public Health.”

Logan Smith, Title V CYSHCN Program Specialist, Montana Department of Health and Human Services


“I’ve been at AMCHP for a little over three years now and I love getting to work with everyone in MCH. It’s a special feeling to get to work with people who are so passionate about the work we do, especially around health equity and anti-racism, youth and family engagement, and the centering of the lived experience. My why is just feeling really motivated every day to continue the work that we all do to improve the systems of care for all of our MCH populations. I just feel like I’m part of the MCH family now.”

Maura Leahy, Program Manager, Child and Adolescent Health, AMCHP


“I am an internal medicine and pediatrics trained physician and I’ve always enjoyed my work with children, families, and really thinking about health impacts across the life course. My journey in public health began back in 2012 as a Title V children and youth with special healthcare needs director here in Texas. Since that time, I have taken on other roles within my public health career with maternal and child health, continuing to be a key component of my work. I really enjoy my time in clinical medicine and being able to care for individuals and at times entire families. However, over the years, what I’ve found to be most fulfilling in my career is being able to improve outcomes for large groups of people across not only the state of Texas, but our nation. And I’ve been able to do that through my work in public and population health.”

Manda Hall, M.D., Associate Commissioner, Community Health Improvement Division of Texas Department of State Health Services


“Through my experience in LEND, I learned how to pair my lived experience and passion for disability rights and advocacy to create meaningful systems change for those who have been historically marginalized. And that’s my why. Despite having one less academic degree than my original life plan, I found something even better: a place at the welcoming table of MCH. After almost five years at AMCHP, I haven’t looked back. I am only looking forward to continuing this work.”

Paige Bussanich Falion, Senior Program Manager, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, AMCHP


“Coming from a medical Sociology background, maternal and child health is an area of study that both fascinates me and that I find inherently tied to women’s issues. The inherent inequalities that exist in gender, class, and wealth directly correlate with maternal and child health issues. The capitalist structure of US’s society does not help secure stable health access for many women and children across the country, especially considering nearly 14% of the nation lives in poverty. The for-profit institution that is the US health system directly harms women, children, and families as well as their access to stable, affordable, and secure healthcare. My interest in this field stems from my knowledge that women and children, especially black and minority women and children, are ostracized in both the welfare and medical institutions, which also has negative repercussions on their socioeconomic standing. Having poor health can reduce one’s chances of finding stable employment and housing, leading to a cycle of structural violence, rooted in poverty and instability.”

Briana Leone


Learn from Teresa Nold of LEAD-K Family Services Program as she explains her story as a part of the Deaf community, her family’s experiences with health care needs, and what she hopes can improve.

Also, be sure to check out this video of Nold and her son Isaac doing an American Sign Language Cover of Ben Platt’s “Can’t Imagine.”


Listen to Coralaidee Jiménez’s personal experiences and how they catapulted her into the field of public health.


Interested in attending? Register now and join MCH leaders and thinkers at AMCHP 2022! For more information about the conference, please visit our conference website. To hear more testimonials, please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.