AMCHP Innovation Hub is an online platform that provides maternal and child health (MCH) professionals and advocates with resources and tools to explore, build, and share effective work grounded in evidence that contributes to improving the health and well-being of MCH populations and their communities. It is home to the MCH Innovations Database, a searchable repository of “what’s working” in the maternal and child health field (also known as practice-based evidence) that includes both practices and policies. Learn more about Innovation Hub’s resources and technical assistance opportunities by exploring the tabs below.
How AMCHP Thinks About Evidence
In the MCH field there is a growing emphasis on the importance of using evidence-based practices to address MCH challenges, but what do we mean when we say “evidence”? There is a tendency in the public health field to assign more value to evidence generated by experimental studies and evaluation designs than other types of evidence. While evidence from scientific research studies is absolutely important, so are other types of practice-based and community-defined evidence. AMCHP recognizes many forms of evidence as valid for showing a practice is effective and defines “evidence” as:
Anything that demonstrates a given activity is having an intended impact for a specific community or population. Recognizing that public health occurs in “real world” settings, what we consider evidence should not be limited to that which comes from controlled scientific research; it should also expand to include and uplift evidence that is defined by impacted communities and represents the values, needs, and preferences of those with lived experience.
This definition is intentionally holistic to capture the full breadth of practice-based insights (especially those reflecting community members’ values, needs, and preferences) that can demonstrate the effectiveness of programs and policies. These include:
- Community-defined evidence (CDE): A “set of practices that communities have used and found to yield positive results as determined by community consensus over time and which may or may not have been measured empirically but have reached a level of acceptance by the community”. CDE emphasizes the inherent knowledge, experience, and expertise in communities defining what “works for them”. Note that the term “community” has not been specifically defined because each population group, entity, and geographic area defines itself differently and therefore the term should be defined by the group itself (Martinez et al., 2010).
- Best Available Research Evidence: Information resulting from systematic and methodical ways of gathering data using various study methods and ongoing evaluations. It includes evidence from systematic reviews, experimental (e.g., randomized control trials), quasi-experimental (e.g., longitudinal), and non-experimental (e.g., pre-/post-test) study designs (Puddy & Wilkins, 2011).
- Individuals’ Experiential Evidence: Insights gained from individuals with the lived experience of being impacted by a program or policy (or lack thereof) sharing their values, needs, preferences, and expertise.
- Professionals’ Experiential Evidence: Insights from MCH professionals that is accumulated over time and is often referred to as intuitive or tacit knowledge (Puddy & Wilkins, 2011).
Practice-based evidence (PBE) is defined as “a range of treatment approaches and supports that are derived from, and supportive of, the positive cultural attributes of the local society and traditions. Practice based evidence services are accepted as effective by the local community, through community consensus, and address the therapeutic and healing needs of individuals and families from a culturally-specific framework” (Isaacs, Huang, Hernandez, and Echo-Hawk, 2005). AMCHP defines evidence holistically to capture the full-breadth of information and practice-based insights that can support the effectiveness of an intervention. As how we define evidence has the power to further invalidate, stigmatize, and oppress the experiences of those from historically under-resourced communities, AMCHP strongly considers and values practice-based evidence when making evidence-based decisions about programs.
AMCHP collaborates with a variety of partners in our work to build the MCH evidence-base and support MCH professionals and advocates to integrate more evidence-based initiatives into their work.
We collaborate with the Strengthen the Evidence Base for MCH Programs Initiative at Georgetown and the National MCH Workforce Development Center at UNC to provide evidence and implementation-related technical assistance to MCH professionals. Learn more about AMCHP’s partnership with these groups here.
AMCHP partners with the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs on our Evidence-Informed Policy Track of the Model Innovations Database. Check out their work to learn more about the best public investments into state policy actions that produce results for young children and society.
MCH Innovations Database
AMCHP’s Evidence-Based Practice Initiative began in 2010 with the establishment of AMCHP’s Innovation Station Database, now called the MCH Innovations Database. This database was developed to serve as a repository of effective MCH practices that Title V professionals could look to for inspiration and could replicate or adapt to their own context. Over time, this resource has evolved to serve the entire MCH community, beyond Title V. More than just a database, AMCHP’s Innovation Hub has grown to be a comprehensive online platform of resources to help MCH professionals identify, implement, share, and replicate practices and policies grounded in evidence.
The MCH Innovations Database is a searchable repository of “what’s working” in the field that improves the health and well-being of MCH populations. It features both practices and policies happening across the country that positively benefit women, children, families, and communities. Practices in the database are assessed along a continuum and receive a designation of Cutting-Edge, Emerging, Promising, or Best depending on the amount of evidence demonstrating their work’s impact, among other criteria. Policies in the database are assessed according to whether or not they meet the criteria to be considered a model example of Evidence-Informed Policy Development, Policy Implementation, or Policy Evaluation.
Technical Assistance Opportunities and Support
Each year, AMCHP awards up to four organizations to replicate a practice from the MCH Innovations Database. If selected, participants receive tailored technical assistance and individualized guidance from AMCHP and representatives from the practice being replicated. AMCHP provides two tracks of technical assistance (TA) ─ the Capacity Building Track and Implementation Track─ depending on an organization’s level of readiness to replicate an Innovation Hub practice. To learn more about the process and our current awardees, visit our Replication Projects page.
Innovation Hub Learning Community (IHLC)
The IHLC offers programmatic support to all practices in the MCH Innovations Database through one-on-one customized coaching, didactic training webinars, and peer-sharing opportunities. The IHLC aims to:
- Provide a network of support for participants that is responsive to their programmatic interests and needs;
- Facilitate spaces for peer-sharing in which participants can co-create solutions and share programmatic successes;
- Offer learning opportunities that boost participant confidence applying evaluation and implementation principles and tools;
- Support Innovation Hub practices to resubmit their work to the MCH Innovations Database and move up the Practice Continuum.
In 2023, AMCHP will be hosting four webinars on topics related to programmatic best practices that all MCH professionals and advocates are welcome to attend. Click the title below to register for the upcoming webinars:
- February 23rd: Tracking Progress Towards Your Goals: Utilizing Key Performance Indicators
- May 23rd: Starting from Your Strengths: Planning for Sustainability
- August 24th: Expanding Your Impact: Preparing to Scale Up Your Practice
- November 28th: Who’s Guiding Your Choices: Centering Community in Evidence-Based Decision Making
AMCHP’s Evidence & Implementation team is happy to offer support to those interested in submitting to the MCH Innovations Database. This support can include having a call to identify which designation a practice or policy should submit to, helping you scope the information you should include in your submission, as well as helping individuals to complete submissions over the phone. We are happy to assist you with your submission! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your submission support.
General Technical Assistance
Our team also offers general technical assistance to increase the capacity of states and jurisdictions to optimize the use of evidence to shape and champion effective policies and programs to achieve health equity. Email us at email@example.com to learn more about the type of assistance that we can offer.
Examples of TA that AMCHP provides:
- A state/jurisdiction has received TA on designing its ESMs, and now wants examples of programs that others have used to achieve similar outcomes.
- A state/jurisdiction or MCHB-funded project (like a CoIIN) would like to submit an effective practice to Innovation Hub.
- A state/jurisdiction would like to replicate a practice or component of a practice from Innovation Hub.
- A state/jurisdiction has a question about where to find assistance related to the implementation of a strategy that advances their state action plan.
Submitting a Practice or Policy
Do you have a practice or policy that is positively benefiting women, children, families, and communities? Share it with AMCHP’s Innovation Hub! Practices in the database are assessed along a continuum and receive a designation of Cutting-Edge, Emerging, Promising, or Best depending on the amount of evidence demonstrating their work’s impact, among other criteria. Policies in the database are assessed according to whether or not they meet the criteria to be considered a model example of Evidence-Informed Policy Development, Policy Implementation, or Policy Evaluation.
Click on one of the buttons below to learn more about how to share your work to the MCH Innovations Database.
Get Involved with Innovation Hub
MCH Innovations Committee
AMCHP Innovation Hub is supported by the MCH Innovations Committee. The purpose of the MCH Innovations Committee is to amplify and support innovative maternal and child health (MCH) approaches grounded in evidence to eliminate health inequities and improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities across the nation, through evidence- and implementation-centered technical assistance, resources, and support. Responsibilities of the committee include to:
- Identify and refer potential effective practices and evidence-informed policies to the MCH Innovations Database.
- Conduct bi-annual reviews of effective, and ideally equitable, practices and evidence-informed policies (Fall and Spring).
- Provide feedback on, support the development of, and ensure the accessibility and appropriateness for MCH audiences of AMCHP Innovation Hub trainings and resources.
- Make recommendations for revisions to the effective practice/evidence-informed policy submission criteria, submission forms, and review processes based on feedback from reviewers and submitters.
- Conduct outreach and foster collaboration with community-based practices to better partner with these groups and support them to submit their work to Innovation Hub.
- Using a racial equity lens, welcome, review, recognize, and collaborate with evidence-based/-informed innovative programs and policies, encourage replication of these programs and strategies, and celebrate their successes.
- Identify opportunities to align with and support other AMCHP initiatives and organizational committees.
Review for Innovation Hub
Innovation Hub submissions are reviewed by a team of three volunteer reviewers who are matched with a submission based on their MCH areas of expertise. Reviewers assess the submission according to criteria related to the designation the submission applied for. Reviewers provide applicants with direct feedback on each submission’s strengths as well as areas for growth and improvement. Reviewers are expected to commit to a total of 2-3 hours to participate in the review process which includes reviewing the submission and filling out the scoring form, participating in a 45 minute call with other reviewers, and completing a survey on your experience.
Each review runs for approximately two months, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. The time commitment for serving as a reviewer is roughly 3 hours total including watching an orientation video, reviewing your assigned practice, and participating in one45 min review call with your fellow reviewers.
Benefits of serving as a reviewer include:
- Contribute to the MCH field by providing valuable feedback to developing and established practices and policies
- Be on the forefront of emerging MCH evidence-based/-informed practices and policies
- Gain experience with program evaluation and a peer-review process
- Develop professionally while learning how AMCHP defines evidence and evaluates practices
- Connect with MCH professionals from around the country
Sign Up to Be a Reviewer
Interested in reviewing practices? Complete this short sign up form, and our team will contact you with next steps.
Interested in reviewing policies? Complete this short sign up form, and our team will contact you with next steps.
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U01MC00001 Partnership for State Title V MCH Leadership Community Cooperative Agreement ($1,696,335). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
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