EQUITY & ANTI-RACISM
AMCHP is dedicated to centering equity and advancing anti-racism efforts in MCH. View our current initiatives to learn more about our dedication to this work.
- AMCHP’s Health Equity Committee
- Accelerating Upstream Together to Eliminate Racial Disparities in Infant Health by 2030
- AMCHP’s Internal Equity Committee
- AMCHP’s Joint Organizational Commitment to Anti-Racism and Racial Equity
The purpose of AMCHP’s Health Equity Committee is to provide national and state level guidance, leadership, and coordination in AMCHP efforts to achieve equity in maternal, child, and adolescent health and well-being, which is one of AMCHP’s core values.
Health Equity Committee Charge:
- Provide public health strategic framework(s) for reducing health inequities to guide maternal, child, and adolescent health (MCAH) leadership to address racial/ethnic and other health disparities; (FRAMEWORKS)
- Motivate thought leaders in MCAH to expand or shift focus from service oriented to community transformation paradigm in order to address underlying contributors to disparities; (JUSTIFICATION)
- Collaborating with others to identify and operationalize approaches or existing efforts for MCAH leaders to address social and structural determinants of health. (STRATEGIES)
- Make recommendations regarding gaps in resources, tools, research, or program evaluation in order to continue to expand the science regarding contributors and successful intervention strategies. (NEEDS)
- Ensure a core of critical messaging is developed and used by AMCHP and a track of speakers/presentations relevant to health equity is supported at the national conference and other educational venues (EDUCATION)
On behalf of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)’s Office of Regional Operations (ORO) and Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)’s Division of State and Community Health (DSCH), AMCHP, in partnership with CityMatCH, hosted the Region 5 states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin) in a virtual summit on November 8-9, 2021 from This summit was a space to bring together engaged individuals from across Region 5 states to connect with one another, understand how to use strengths-based community-rooted data, and build an action plan for racial equity in infant health.
Virtual Meeting Objectives
- Explain the problem of racial inequities in infant health by examining data and current trends that exist across the nation, and particularly in Region 5.
- Produce a shared vision to accelerate progress to eliminate racial disparities in maternal and infant health by 2030.
- Commit to recognizing racial equity as a key factor in accelerating positive birth outcomes.
Each Region 5 state was invited to register up to seven (7) representatives from their state health agency or key partnerships to participate in the meeting. The ask was for these 7 individuals to be inclusive of folks working in both maternal and infant health and key partners from outside the Title V agency if they have been engaged to date. These individuals will be a part of action planning for racial equity in infant health, meaning they should be knowledgeable of and able to reflect on the path forward.
Additionally, we held four (4) spots for each state to include representatives from community-rooted organizations in this meeting. These organizations must intentionally serve Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx/Latine, Asian, Pacific Islander and other birthing people of color, including distinct cultural groups made marginalized by white supremacy. The leadership of these organizations should be representative of who they serve. We noted that in many cases, that may mean that a local health department or other typical ‘community’ partner of a state health agency would not meet this definition. AMCHP reached out directly to the Title V agencies to support the identification of these community-rooted partners, which for some states included recommendations of organizations to invite based on those that have been in contact with AMCHP about wishing to support their Title V program in building racial equity in infant health.
Meeting Highlights (with recording links where applicable):
Coming Together in Community: AMCHP, CityMatCH, and federal leadership provide an introduction and welcome to the Region 5 Infant Health Equity Summit. During this session, participants received an orientation to the online meeting platform and an invitation to join in community with one another as we build our collective racial equity practice.
Welcome from the HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs and HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health: CAPT Joshua Devine, PharmD, PhD, serves as the senior federal public health official in Region 5 providing leadership and support for the work of HHS with a focus on public health action. CAPT Devine provided a brief overview of key HHS efforts in Region 5 and their alignment with the MCHB Call to Action, Accelerating Upstream Together to Eliminate Racial Disparities in Infant Health by 2030.
Accelerating Upstream Together to Eliminate Racial Disparities in Infant Health by 2030: Call to Action & Data Brief: Dr. Michael Warren, Associate Administrator of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, HRSA, HHS, presents to Region 5 states a collective call for action and collaboration for infant health equity by 2030. Dr. Warren shared foundational information about infant mortality in the region, including a data brief compiled by the MCHB team. After his presentation, Title V programs and their partners shared reactions and questions inspired by the Call to Action. In this space and throughout the remainder of the meeting we explored this question, “How will we work together to be accountable to this vision?”
Aligning to a Community-Rooted Vision of Racial Equity in Birth Outcomes: During this panel discussion, community-rooted organizations serving Black and Indigenous birthing persons in Region 5 states described their visions for racial equity and birth justice. They shared how their stories guide their organizations’ efforts and values and how their work challenges today’s systems of providing care and support to birthing people and their families. Through this panel, we explored bridges between community-rooted ingenuity and the actions needed by public health, health care, and policy stakeholders to align toward racial equity in maternal and infant health.
Coming Together in Community: Reflections from Day 1 and Review of Day 2: The AMCHP team welcomed back participants to the second day of the meeting. We wrapped up our reflections from Day 1 and walked through the agenda for Day 2.
Introduction of Water of Systems Change and Focus for State Breakouts: AMCHP staff members Anna Corona and Jessica Simon introduce the structure for the second day of state breakout time, focused on the Water of Systems Change. We introduced the key tenets of this model developed by FSG, which include:
|State Breakouts overview: The rest of the meeting was spent in state-specific breakouts. For this portion of the agenda, participants worked together to craft a specific aspiration based on what the team hopes the Title V program can achieve internally to move forward in eliminating racial disparities in infant health outcomes by 2030. Participants then went through an activity to assess their respective state Title V program’s internal systems conditions and think about what existing elements in the Title V program, the organizations represented, and yourselves may be holding the problem in place and keeping you from reaching your aspiration statement. Participants them visited the MURAL boards of the other state teams to inspire questions and reflections about how the conditions for system change (e.g., practices, relationships, power dynamics) influence their aspirations.|
State Your Commitment: In this final time together, Title V programs and their partners from Region 5 expressed their joint commitment to the Call to Action. Consider, what actions will you take in 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month from this meeting? We look forward to emerging from this meeting in a space of accountability and clarity for transformational organizational changes for racial equity in infant health.
Illinois: Our guiding star is an [Illinois] state title V organizational system that convenes/accelerates partners across the state in order to reduce inequities in maternal and infant deaths . To achieve this, our organizational system must be sufficiently resourced, flexible, and held accountable for aligning muscle/resources to center, elevate, and support the lived experiences of all pregnant and birthing persons.
Indiana: Our guiding star is a [Indiana] Statewide network of MCH partners that produces shared strategic framework to prioritize funding, knowledge and skills to achieve and impact health equity. To achieve this, our organizational system must align strategies and communication to implement equity driven solutions that are centered on community and stakeholder needs.
Michigan: Our guiding star is a Michigan MCH organizational system that produces zero preventable deaths and health disparities. To achieve this, we must set standard expectations for and hold ourselves accountable to implementing policies and directing programs based on community voice, and engaging in more combined planning, training, and education opportunities (internally and with community partners).”
Minnesota: Our guiding star is a [Minnesota] state Title V organizational system that produces a deep resolve for healthy Black, Indigenous, and rural babies, moms, families, and communities, without disparities.
Ohio: Our guiding star is a [Ohio] State Title V Organizational System that produces transparency that supports accountability and co-creation with community. To achieve this, our organizational system must support equity-empowered systems that are rooted in and advancing equity of the historically subjugated, oppressed, and disenfranchised, and includes purposeful engagement and power-sharing with these groups.
Wisconsin: Our guiding star is a Wisconsin MCH infrastructure that produces optimal health for all through equitable relational partnership, lifting the voices and co-creating with the communities of historically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color being served. We will achieve this through establishing systems of accountability to dismantle racism in Wisconsin-specific policies and practices that perpetuate inequitable birth outcomes and social determinants of health, like systemic segregation and mass incarceration.
Leading up to this collective space for Region 5 states to come together around a common racial equity purpose and to build stronger and more aligned teams, AMCHP and CityMatCH coordinated the following activities to bolster engagement ahead of the November meeting:
- Region 5 Infant Mortality webinar series. CityMatCH and MCHB hosted a webinar series for HHS Region 5 state and local MCH professionals and their partners who are dedicated to eliminating racial inequities specific to infant mortality in the region. The webinars are meant to supplement the work happening in each state as they drive towards reducing infant mortality and eliminating racial disparities. The AMCHP team attended the webinar series regularly and used the series to host a pre-meeting webinar, Empathy Cultivation: Practicing Awe as Essential to Equity in Design and Outcome, which was presented by the Anarcha Collective of Birthing Justice Advocates. The webinar series in its entirety can be accessed at this CityMatCH-hosted site: https://www.citymatch.org/region-v-infant-mortality-webinar-series/
AMCHP’s Internal Equity Committee will conduct tasks to support AMCHP’s core values of infusing health equity, social justice, and inclusion into internal policies, practices, programs, services, and structures by building and supporting the implementation of AMCHP’s internal equity strategy that:
- Aligns to a clear equity and justice framework
- Ensures funding/contractual awards, related financial processes, and decision-making are aligned with business practices that optimize inclusion, accessibility, operational transparency, accessibility, and technical/advisory supports for fair and equitable access to resources
- Measures, tracks, and evaluates the impact of AMCHP’s health equity, social justice, and inclusion efforts
The role the IEC will play in working towards goals will be by selecting training mechanisms and processes for AMCHP staff to:
- Build and maintain capacity, skills, and competencies that support the operationalizing, continual assessment, and realignments of health equity, social justice, and inclusion into internal policies, practices, programs, services, and structures
- Access learning opportunities that deepen and develop personal understanding of inclusion and equity at an organizational level
- Support successful and diverse external partnerships with government, professional, and community organizations/partners
The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) united with three other national maternal and child health organizations in a bold, public commitment to undoing racism as a key driver to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, highlighting irrefutable disparities in morbidity and mortality rates across racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
By signing the Joint Organizational Commitment to Anti-Racism and Racial Equity, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), CityMatCH, the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA), and the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) pledge to devote their combined organizational strength and influence to educate respective constituencies, jointly advocate for change, hold one another accountable, and create tangible steps to root out racism wherever it exists.
This joint organizational commitment is rooted in action and includes foundational principles that address the difference between racial equity and health equity and acknowledge the tremendous power and influence of public health institutions to disrupt structural inequities created by racism. Between racial equity and health equity and acknowledge the tremendous power and influence of public health institutions to disrupt structural inequities created by racism.
- We commit to examining and improving our organizational internal processes.
- We commit our organizations to influence to promote external work.
- We commit our organizations to develop and release communications to support this work.
See the full commitment document for more information, including detailed action plans for each commitment area. Organizations will meet on a regular basis to share measured progress, including best practices related to actions taken and obstacles overcome, and assist each other with ways to address challenges.
EQUITY & ANTI-RACISM
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