Grantee Spotlights

A Synergy of Strengths – Title V collaboration with DMCHWD in Nebraska

NEP-MAP Nebraska Partnership for Mental Healthcare Access in Pediatrics Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services was a successful applicant for the DMCHWD Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program in 2018 – with Nebraska's Title V agency leading project direction and management.  Today, the University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe Meyer Institute delivers a clinical demonstration project and the behavioral health expert team.  Yet the scope of NEP-MAP (the Nebraska Partnership for Mental Healthcare Access in Pediatrics) is much broader than the clinical demonstration project alone. 

With Title V as lead agency, NEP-MAP is grounded in strong principles of equity, family-centered care, inclusion, and systems change.  A large statewide Systems Advisory Committee, which includes family members and family advocates as equal and respected partners along with all others, meets quarterly.  The advisory committee helps ensure that NEP-MAP activities don't occur in a silo. NEP-MAP promotes integration and alignment with other system efforts and resources – in order to make a greater and more lasting positive impact on outcomes in the population.  

The NEP-MAP Systems Advisory Committee is also home to several Technical Workgroups that draw specifically on the expertise of partners across the state to advance project goals and objectives.  In the area of Screening, a common agenda exists to increase screening and referrals in both community and clinical settings, using standardized and normed instruments that are culturally- and linguistically-appropriate for family members.  One of the NEP-MAP Technical Workgroups produced a Screening and Referral Guide, which takes a life course approach to screening for mental well-being among children, youth, and their parents/caregivers. NEP-MAP, working with the clinical project partners and behavioral health consultants, also delivers training in behavioral health to primary care providers in rural and underserved areas of the state, in both clinical and community settings.  

Title V has identified mental health topics affecting MCH populations in Nebraska as priorities in each of the last three five-year statewide needs assessment cycles, in the form of maternal depression, youth suicide, early childhood development, and/or access to mental and behavioral health services for children with and without special health care needs.  Title V has long been engaged in workforce development projects.  Heading into late 2020, the need for "all hands on deck" in terms of helping address mental health needs as they impact MCH populations has never been so immediate and visible.

Nebraska Title V continuously delivers training and professional development to licensed health care professionals, to the Community Health Worker workforce, and to youth-serving professionals from across education and health sectors.  Stepping into the role of delivering workforce development in order to increase the capacity of primary care providers to screen, refer, and treat children and youth with mild to moderate mental health conditions was a natural and important collaboration for Title V.

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Power in Partnerships

UAB Pediatric Pulmonary Center on behalf of the Alabama MCH Network

Former MCHB Associate Administrator Dr. Michael Lu was fond of quoting an African proverb: "if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together." He used this quote often to talk about the power of partnerships in Maternal and Child Health. Alabama has been home to multiple DMCHWD grantees over time, including LEND, LEAH, PPC, MCH Nutrition, MCH Pipeline, Pediatric Access to Mental Health, Centers of Excellence, and MCH Nursing. Many years ago the grantees formed the Alabama MCH Leadership Network, with the goal of providing collaborative training, raising awareness of MCH throughout the state, and creating synergy between grantees. Network grantees meet monthly for program updates and to plan joint events, typically one trainee networking event and two seminars in each academic year. Trainees are also encouraged to rotate across project sites. In June of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the annual "Grand Rounds" visit to the UAB campus by the Alabama State University Pipeline trainees to become a virtual event. Trainees from the other Network grantees stepped up to plan and implement a well-received "virtual visit" to explore MCH careers and graduate programs. The Network maintains a joint web page Exit Disclaimer. Title V collaboration extends to the state level as well.  As one of the few states with the MCH and CSHCN programs housed in different state agencies, the Alabama state Title V programs began having regular collaborative meetings in the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, these collaborative efforts expanded to include all Title V funded programs in the state, including Family Voices, training and home visiting grantees, and later expanded to include representatives from partners such as the state Medicaid agency. Now held three times a year, these meetings provide an opportunity for sharing of program updates, developing professional relationships, planning collaborative work, and modeling these collaborations for trainees.  

Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)

Title V Collaborative Activities

Children's Hospital Los Angeles is fortunate to have a range of interdisciplinary MCHB funded training programs, some of which have been operating for a long time and some that are brand new.  These include: 

  • California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) program, which trains leaders, educates community providers, conducts research and promotes systems change to improve the health of children with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental disabilities (funded since 1966)
  • Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program (DBP), which aims to build the capacity of professionals to evaluate, diagnose, develop and provide evidence-based interventions to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (funded in 2013)
  • Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) program, which provides interdisciplinary training to prepare leaders in clinical care, research, public health policy and advocacy as it relates to adolescent health (funded in 2017)
  • Pediatric Pulmonary Center (PPC), dedicated to developing leaders who will improve the health of children with respiratory conditions (funded in 2020)

While these programs are based at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, they are physically housed at three different sites in the central Los Angeles area. Historically, we relied primarily on two shared faculty to keep each other current on our individual training activities.  The pandemic and the pivot to virtual meetings created new opportunities for faculty collaboration and for trainees to learn together.   Preliminary plans for the 20-21 training year include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) combining components of our respective leadership training for fellows across programs; 2) collaborating on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) education and projects for trainees; 3) creating a community advisory board to advise all 4 programs; 4) exploring strategies to expand the diversity of trainees in the future; and 5) creating a shared forum for the final presentation of CA-LEND, DBP, LEAH, and PPC fellow projects. 

Kennedy Krieger Institute Hosts Virtual Summer Research Program to Promote Health Equity

Center for Diversity in Public Health Leadership Training at Kennedy Krieger InstituteKennedy Krieger Institute hosted seven Maternal Child Health-Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Research Network (MCH- LEARN) scholars this summer who attended college in the Maryland and Washington, DC region. Scholars participated in virtual seminars on (1) Prevention of Health Disparities Across the Life Course using National Academy of Sciences reports as a foundation for readings, (2) Research Accountability and Design Seminars, (3) Professional Development and Advocacy Seminars, and (4) Examining CDC Winnable Battles through a Social and Cultural Lens. A mentoring team was developed for MCH-LEARN scholars that included both a researcher and professional developmental mentor during their 10-week MCH research, leadership and advocacy experience. The scholars showcased their summer MCH research projects virtually during the Johns Hopkins Career, Academic, and Research Experiences for Students (C.A.R.E.S) Symposium. Each MCH-LEARN scholar submitted their research for presentation to the Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Students. The MCH-LEARN program is designed to prepare scholars to conduct original research and to address the social determinants of health and health disparities through research, advocacy, and practice. Below are the scholars' future career goals and research project titles.

Biostatistician: Associated Risk Factors of Language-Based Disorders in Sickle Cell Disease

Lawyer/Public Health and Equity Advocate: Everyday Racial Discrimination Experiences, Cumulative Violence, and Substance Use among Black Young Men: Moderating Effect of Masculinity Norms

Psychologist: Parenting as a Protective Factor for Youth Exposed to Violence in Adolescence

Public Health Medical Professional, Research, Advocate Doctor, OB/GYN: Comparing Apples and Oranges: Examining Developmental and Behavioral Differences Between Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Young Children with Developmental Delay Research Disparities in Health Disparities: Social Determinants of Health and Nursing Research

Neuroscience and Linguistics, Research, Academics Psychologist/Business Owner: Telehealth Satisfaction at Kennedy Krieger Institute During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Translatable and Preventive Perinatal HIV Transmission Strategies


Collaborating to Improve Healthcare Transition Outcomes


The Waisman Center University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the home of the WI Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Training program, and also contracts with the state's Title V Block Grant program at the WI Department of Health Services for several of the state's Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) programs, including the WI Youth Health Transition Initiative.  In 2020, two LEND trainees made significant contributions to the work of the Health Transition Initiative as part of their practicum and summer research experiences. 

In May 2020, LEND graduate Kristen Crabtree, DNP, presented to over 70 members of the Health Transition Learning Community on "Supported Decision-Making: What Health Professionals Need to Know." This webinar focused on how health professionals can use a Supported Decision-Making process in their practice for youth with special health care needs to encourage independence in decision-making. A Supported Decision-Making agreement can be used as an alternative to or as a tool under guardianship. Attorney George Zaske provided a parent perspective. Kristen's presentation is incorporated into one of the modules of the Youth Health Transition curriculum for health professionals.

Video of the session Exit Disclaimer.

From May-August 2020 Kelly Kuehl, a medical student and intermediate LEND trainee at UW-Madison, completed a summer research experience through the Shapiro Scholarship Program, working with Anne Harris, WI LEND Director and Maria Stanley, Waisman Center Medical Director.  The goal of the project was to determine the needs and barriers related to obtaining high quality healthcare and healthcare transition for adults with Down syndrome (DS) in Wisconsin as perceived by stakeholders within the DS and health care communities.  While the original plan was to engage with the community through in-person meetings and interviews, Kelly transitioned her work to online data gathering due to COVID-19.  Significant findings are being used to inform training curricula and transition outreach activities by the Youth Health Transition Initiative.  These two examples represent just two of the ways in which the LEND program collaborates with the WI Title V CYSHCN programs to train professionals and improve services for CYSHCN and their families.

New York State Title V and MCH programs partner to support state's COVID-19 Maternity Task Force

University at Albany School of Public Health Maternal and Child Health Program (Maternal and Child Health Public Health Catalyst Program Grantee)

This spring, the University at Albany (UAlbany) School of Public Health's Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program was tapped to support the state's COVID-19 Maternity Task Force by helping to review the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy.

The task force was established in April 2020 by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and the New York State Council on Women and Girls, and was convened to address challenges related to COVID-19 for pregnant people. Part of the task force's charge included conducting a literature review to help the task force assess the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and make recommendations.

Staff from the New York State Department of Health's Division of Family Health collaborated with faculty and students from the UAlbany MCH Program to complete the review, which included early published and gray literature and emerging guidelines from governmental and professional medical organizations.  The Division of Family Health oversees the New York's Title V Program and is a longstanding partner of the MCH program.

The team presented a summary of its preliminary findings in a webinar with the state's regional perinatal centers in May. A copy of the early review and other COVID-19 resources are available on the NYS Perinatal Quality Collaborative website Exit Disclaimer.

The University of Florida Pediatric Pulmonary Center, Gainesville FL

University of Florida Pediatric Pulmonary Center (UF PPC) and the Florida Department of Health Children's Medical Services Title V Office of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (FL DOH CMS) Collaboration: The Florida Family Leader Network (FFLN).

The FFLN is a collaboration between the Florida Network of MCHB programs and the FL DOH CMS and is coordinated by the UF PPC.

The Florida MCHB network, which includes the UF PPC, University of Miami Mailman Center on Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UMLEND), the University of South Florida (USF) School of Public Health Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Education Science and Practice met for their annual meeting in 2016. Representatives from FL DOH CMS and community family leaders were also in attendance. Discussions at the meeting confirmed the MCHB programs' commitment to strengthening family-professional partnerships in Florida. Family leaders expressed a desire to connect with one another as they reported often feeling isolated in their individual settings. There was consensus that family leaders needed and wanted to improve their leadership skills and the best setting for this would be in collaboration with compassionate, supportive health professionals. The FFLN emerged as an outcome of this meeting.

The goal of the FFLN is to "breakdown silos to optimize the health and wellbeing of CYSHCN." The network is a family-professional partnership comprising family/youth leaders and professionals in Florida. It currently has more than 180 members, two thirds of whom are family/youth leaders. Angela Miney, the UF PPC Family Partner, coordinates the network's activities. Members connect via a private Facebook group and listserv. Webcasts sponsored by the FFLN include topics on supported decision making, advocacy, and patient and family-centered care.

Since 2018, the FFLN has met for an annual summit which fosters the goals of networking and leadership development. The 2020 virtual summit "Developing Partnerships" had over 130 participants, with sessions on "Resonant Leadership", "Friendship in the Time of COVID'" and "Family Youth Engagement". For more information visit the FFLN website Exit Disclaimer.

Georgia State University's Partnerships with the Georgia Title V Program

Center for Leadership in Disability, Georgia State University, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University (GSU) collaborates with Georgia's Title V program across five different initiatives under their Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) and home visiting programs. Beginning in 2015, GSU and the Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) program began supporting Georgia's Title V CYSHCN program on the following three projects:

  1. providing positive behavior support (PBS) training for Part C early intervention providers and families of young children,
  2. organizing Georgia's autism stakeholders and initiatives into a comprehensive plan referred to as the Autism Plan for Georgia Exit Disclaimer, and
  3. supporting an annual Autism Conference & Expo Exit Disclaimer, which brings together all of Georgia's autism stakeholders to learn from and network with each other.


Through the PBS project, GSU has provided nearly 600 in-home coaching sessions to families in Part C on the use of PBS with their young children. We have trained over 100 families on PBS in small-group trainings, and we have trained 1,358 Part C Early Intervention providers on the use of PBS in the homes. The annual Autism Conference & Expo has provided professional development and networking in the area of autism policy, advocacy, and supports to over 3,000 registrants over the past five years. The GaLEND trainees support all of the Title V CYSHCN projects and they report the value of their experience. For example, one social work trainee noted:

"As a social work trainee, I had the opportunity to participate in multiple positive behavior support trainings for families. In addition to providing me with helpful strategies that I could use with families, this experience also provided insight into the diverse job responsibilities of social workers. This project allowed me to observe a licensed master social worker provide didactic trainings and individual consultation with families, develop curricula and resources, collaborate with local and state partners, and participate in a research study. Lastly, by traveling throughout Georgia, I became more aware of the gaps in services and various struggles that families were experiencing daily."

In 2019, GSU partnered with Georgia's home visiting program to evaluate the use of the Learn the Signs.Act Early (LTSAE) and Talk With Me Baby (TWMB) curricula within home visiting settings. GSU has engaged 12 home visitors and 31 families in the use of LTSAE and TWMB. In 2020, GSU and Georgia's Part C program began a five-year partnership to rebuild Georgia's Early Childhood Intervention Comprehensive System of Personnel Development. Through this new initiative, GSU and Georgia's Part C program will support the following activities: (a) creating a Part C leadership program; (b) creating an early childhood higher education consortium; (c) building a scholarship program for Part C providers; and (c) increasing the early childhood intervention content in Georgia's university training programs. 

KSKidsMAP: Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program

KSKidsMAP staff embarked on a (pre-COVID) trip across Kansas! The team met with physicians and clinicians in rural Northwest Kansas to share information about the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access program. The trip resulted in the enrollment of primary care providers in 15 of the 21 counties in the Northwest Kansas region.

Healthy Tomorrows: The East Side Community Center: A Hub of Health and Empowerment for Youth

2019-YWCA's East Side Community Center, New Britain's East Side residents, and Central Connecticut State University's Community Art class collaborate to paint a mural on a prominent retaining wall located at 600 East Street as part of a civic engagement project to improve walkability and revitalize the neighborhood.

Turn 2 Us: New York Presbyterian Hospital Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program


This academic year, Turn 2 Us at New York Presbyterian Hospital served 675 students and teachers in Northern Manhattan through in-class mindfulness exercises that promote positive mental well-being and academic success among youth. The Turn 2 Us program is supported by a Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program grant.

Congratulations to Kelsee Torrez, winner of the 2020 AMCHP Emerging MCH Professional Award for Region VII

Kelsee Torrez, Behavioral Health Consultant in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Family Health

Kelsee currently serves as the Project Director for the HRSA Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Behavioral Disorders and the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access programs. Kelsee also supports the development, implementation, and coordination of programmatic activities within Title V Maternal and Child Health programs related to behavioral health.  Kelsee previously worked for the Single State Agency that oversees both mental health and substance use prevention and treatment services in Kansas.  Kelsee served as the Project Director for a program that supported the wide-scale operation, expansion, and integration of the System of Care approach to improve behavioral health outcomes for children and their families.  Her previous work experience also includes providing care coordination for women offenders with mental health and substance use disorders, pregnant, and/or disabled as they were releasing from the state correctional facility.



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