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Highlighting MCH Workforce Development

Division Highlights

MCH Workforce Development

The Division of MCH Workforce Development (DMCHWD) addresses MCH workforce needs by educating, engaging, and supporting future MCH leaders, meeting the identified leadership development needs of practicing MCH professionals, and facilitating mutually beneficial partnerships between state Title V programs and MCH training programs. This month, DMCHWD is pleased to share program, grantee, and trainee highlights on workforce development.

The DMCHWD Welcomes the 2018 Trainee Ambassador Group!

The 2018 Trainee Ambassador Group (TAG) is composed of the following ten (10) current and former MCH trainees:

  1. Alyssa Bosold, Centers of Excellence in Maternal & Child Health (CoE)
  2. Erika Dennis, MCH Pipeline
  3. Christina Gebel, CoE
  4. Kiana Hardy, MCH Public Health Catalyst
  5. Samantha Hill, Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)
  6. Sandhyaa Iyengar, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) & Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND)
  7. Natasha Ludwig, LEND
  8. Marissa McElrone, MCH Nutrition
  9. Sabrin Rizk, MCH Pipeline & LEND
  10. Suzanne Stern-Brant, Pediatric Pulmonary Centers (PPC)

The goals of the TAG are to foster connections between trainees across the MCH Training Program, provide trainees with leadership development opportunities, and strengthen the link between trainees and MCHB. Ambassadors attend monthly virtual meetings and work collaboratively to create trainee-focused products.

The 2018 TAG is supporting continued implementation of the MCH Connects mentoring platform and is shaping a new phase of the TAG focused on further engaging trainees from all MCH Training Programs. For more information, please visit the TAG webpage.

Program Highlights

MCH Navigator Evaluation Learning Bundle

The MCH Navigator has a new Evaluation Learning Bundle Exit Disclaimer, which uses the CDC framework as a conceptual model to organize learning opportunities. It presents introductions to the six steps of program evaluation in short video podcasts. This resource also includes an Evaluation Toolkit Exit Disclaimer developed by NCEMCH Exit Disclaimer that includes an evaluation primer, a collection of key resources, and an interactive Choose-and-Use tool to assist users in finding instructions on how to conduct evaluations and examples of successful evaluations from the field.

MCH Navigator Evaluation Learning Bundle Exit Disclaimer

Title V Transformation Tools Portal

In order to effectively address the 15 National Performance Measures (NPMs), MCH professionals need to think about not only the evidence and strategies to make change, but also the capacity of the workforce to carry out these activities. The new Title V Transformation Tools Portal, developed by the MCH Navigator in collaboration with the National MCH Workforce Development Center, crosswalks each NPM and its corresponding knowledge and skills sets with specific learning opportunities and resources.

Title V Transformation Tools Portal Exit Disclaimer

National MCH Workforce Development Center

logo National MCH Workforce Development Center, Advancing Health Reform Implementation

Recent Publications

The MCH Workforce Development Center (the Center) has recently published several articles.

"Innovations in Maternal and Child Health: Pairing Undergraduate and Graduate Maternal and Child Health Students in Summer Practica in State Title V Agencies" Exit Disclaimer provides a promising approach to introducing undergraduate MCH students to students further along in their career decision-making as well as to Title V agency providers.

"Using Behavior Over Time Graphs to Spur Systems Thinking Among Public Health Practitioners" Exit Disclaimer describes how Behavior Over Time (BOT) graphs can be used to spur discussion and systems thinking about complex MCH challenges.

"Developing Collaborative Maternal and Child Health Leaders: A Descriptive Study of the National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center" Exit Disclaimer sheds light on (1) the Center’s training on the use of collaborative leadership practices by MCH leaders, and (2) perceived barriers to collaboration for MCH leaders.

Lastly, "Title V Workforce Development in the Era of Health Transformation" Exit Disclaimer outlines how the Center has been providing state-centered capacity-building in systems mapping and analysis, quality improvement and change management, and strategies to enhance access to care to improve the health of women and children. Since 2013, through a cooperative agreement with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Center has been offering state and territorial Title V leaders and their partners training, collaborative learning, coaching and consultation in implementing health transformation using a variety of learning platforms.

For more information, see the Center’s website Exit Disclaimer.

Grantee Highlights

Delivering MCH Education to the Hard-to-Reach Workforce in the Rocky Mountain Region: The MCH-Link Program

The MCH-Link Program is an innovative public health scholarship program that offers graduate-level Maternal and Child Health (MCH) courses addressing the current educational and training needs of practicing MCH professionals working in rural, frontier, and tribal reservation communities in the Rocky Mountain region. A critical shortage of MCH professionals exist in these areas due to geographic isolation, limited financial resources, few educational opportunities in their community or workplace, and family responsibilities. The MCH-Link Program is helping to bridge this gap by providing educational equity through opportunities for higher education and ultimately career advancement for the hard-to-reach MCH workforce. Funded by the Division of MCH Workforce Development at HRSA, the program has created and delivered a diverse mix of ten MCH courses (1 credit-hour online and conference-based) through state-of-the-art learning methods. Students can select course content in maternal and childhood nutrition, intimate partner violence, early childhood health including adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), adolescent health, AI/AN child development, sexual and reproductive health, and childhood obesity. Several other courses are currently under development. A MCH Certificate program was also created and launched during the first few years of MCH-Link, and is now fully funding five remote students who will complete their degree in 2019.

Through a collaborative network of MCH stakeholders, along with community, tribal, and rural public health partners, targeted marketing and outreach strategies are implemented each semester in order to recruit the hard-to-reach MCH workforce. Students who have been accepted into MCH-Link serve populations essential to the mission of the MCH workforce. They are public health and MCH nurses, home visitors, parent educators, MCH managers, consultants, epidemiologists, local public health directors, tribal head start staff, Indian Health Service employees, nutrition counselors and educators, violence prevention specialists, oral health workers, speech and language pathologists, and other disciplines. Now in its fourth year, MCH-Link has accepted and funded 75 rural and tribal MCH professionals to take the 1 credit-hour courses, and has also delivered these courses to over 350 graduate public health students. Extensive orientation and academic mentoring are provided to each MCH-Link student so that they are well prepared for graduate-level education. Some of the students have taken one course with MCH-Link, and other students have taken several courses in order to enhance their careers. Almost one-fourth of the MCH-Link students have experienced job changes representing professional advancement, or are now enrolled in another program of graduate study due to their success in the program. The majority of MCH-Link students come from Colorado (36%) and Wyoming (22%), along with Montana (16%) and South Dakota (12%). Students who live and work in other states have also taken courses with MCH-Link. Almost 25% of the MCH-Link students are American Indian and 5% are Hispanic or Latino. Tribal affiliations have included Oglala Lakota Sioux, Navajo, Southern Ute, Zia and Acoma Pueblo, and Northern Cheyenne.

Reaching the MCH workforce is proving to be a foundational step in quickly translating knowledge gained from course content into best practices, and is ultimately enhancing MCH services by helping promote the health and well-being of MCH populations in the Rocky Mountain region. Not only is this impacting the health of their clients, but the thinking and work of other professionals in their current rural and tribal environments. The program is housed at Colorado School of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. It is directed by Dr. Elizabeth Greenwell, ScD and Dr. Kathy Kennedy, DrPH. Dr. Michelle Sarche, PhD serves as Tribal Liaison and Caitlin Trucksess, MPH is the Program Manager.

For more information about the MCH-Link Program, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Greenwell.


Pediatric Nutrition Training Modules

The Center of Excellence in MCH Education Science & Practice at UAB School of Public Health has teamed up with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services/Children’s Rehabilitation Service to create the Pediatric Nutrition Training Modules Exit Disclaimer. The modules feature foundational information designed to refresh knowledge levels pertaining to the nutritional outpatient follow-up of children with commonly seen diagnoses. Nutritionists desiring information regarding the outpatient care of children with special health care needs can use these modules to meet their professional development goals while also receiving free Continuing Professional Education (CPE) units.

Trainee Highlights

MCH Nutrition Peer Mentoring Network

MCH Nutrition Trainees Marissa McElrone (left) and Nicole Yeo (right) have led the development of the A Day in the Life of a MCH Trainee online blog.

The MCH Nutrition Peer Mentoring Network was created as a part of the MCH Nutrition Grantees’ Diversity Recruitment and Retention Learning Collaborative as a forum for trainees to share and learn about partnering programs and fellow trainee experiences, and to foster collaborative, peer and professional networks among funded trainees. Based on program director discussions, trainee feedback, and available resources, the MCH Nutrition Peer Mentoring Network was established in the spring of 2016. Since inception, trainees have planned and facilitated six quarterly conference calls to discuss collaborative projects, share leadership and training experiences, and promote trainee engagement across the various MCH Nutrition training programs. The trainees also collaboratively developed a MCH Nutrition Peer Mentoring Network mission statement. To supplement trainee conference calls, an online blog forum entitled A Day in the Life of a MCH Trainee was developed to enhance collaboration among trainees. A subcommittee of volunteer program directors and trainees, Marissa McElrone (University of Tennessee) and Noelle Yeo (University of Minnesota), was established to lead the online blog creation and management. An initial call was held to discuss blog platforms, administration, protocol, and management among subcommittee members. McElrone and Yeo were tasked with designing, managing, and disseminating the blog to other nutrition trainees. The online blog was launched through the existing MCH Nutrition Peer Mentoring Network as a collaborative project for all trainees.

McElrone and Yeo designed the blog format, generated sample blog posts, and developed a protocol, including the blog purpose and procedures. Following the blog protocol, McElrone and Yeo provided instruction to fellow trainees on a quarterly MCH Nutrition Peer Mentoring Network conference call regarding the purpose, procedures, and management of the online blog. Each training program selected a leader tasked with organizing and posting monthly blogs for their respective programs, following a blog-posting schedule. All trainees were encouraged to like and/or leave comments on posts to further peer interaction and discussion, enhance learning, and provide an avenue for peer and professional networking. Each year, a new trainee from each program will be selected as a blog leader to increase power-sharing, equitability, and ownership among trainees, and improve overall blog maintenance and sustainability. Eleven trainees have posted blogs since the launch in January 2018.

As an ongoing, iterative collaborative project, the Peer Mentoring Network serves as a way to connect MCH Nutrition trainees across the country. Additionally, it is an avenue to learn from peers, build professional relationships, recruit future trainees, and share the impact of their training grants on MCH populations nationwide. To read trainee posts from A Day in the Life of a MCH Trainee online blog visit https://mchnutritiontrainees.com. Exit Disclaimer

Paul Milford - Making Lifelong Connections

Making Lifelong Connections (MLC) has played a major role in my development as an MCH professional. I first attended MLC in 2013 as a College of Public Health - Social Work trainee. That year I was fortunate enough to meet Shannon Haworth, a family trainee, who shared her personal journey of navigating the educational and health care systems as a mother of a child with autism. Her story stuck with me and guided how I approached family-centered care as a new social worker.

I attended MLC again in 2014 and 2015, this time as a former trainee and an emerging professional in my field. I was inspired by the work that others were doing across the nation with various MCH populations and across disciplines. The heavy focus on leadership development these years helped me build the skills to take a much more proactive role as an MCH professional. I left both of those years with an excitement and energy about MCH, as well as new professional connections and friends!

At MLC 2015, I met Zipporah Shackleford, another family trainee who shared with me her experiences as a mother of a child with special health care needs. This echoed much of what I heard from Shannon two years prior and reminded me of the important role we play in MCH to advocate on behalf of the families we work with.

I once again attended MLC in 2018 as a more seasoned professional, where I was able to co-present with Zach Goble, a friend I made at MLC 4 years earlier. Despite being in different states, Zach and I have been able to use our experiences as MCH professionals within school systems to collaborate on projects and case consultations to benefit the students in our schools.

As the name suggests, Making Lifelong Connections is about connecting MCH trainees and professionals so that we can strengthen our network and work collectively to benefit the communities/populations we serve. I am so fortunate to have made the close personal and professional connections at MLC each year!

Kayla Percy - Johns Hopkins LEAH Nurse Trainee

Three years after I became a Registered Nurse, I applied to Doctors Without Borders (DWB) / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). As an Emergency Room (ER) nurse, with some leadership, volunteer and international work behind me, I felt I was ready to work with MSF. Soon I found out, no one is ever ready to work with MSF.

After a rigorous interviewing process, I was finally on the waiting list for my first assignment and I was ready to go wherever they would send me. In May 2015, I went on my first assignment to a rebel territory during the Civil War in South Sudan. My role extended from nurse educator, to the ER, rounding on patients, rotating on-call shifts with the only physician, working as the mission pharmacist, managing the inpatient department and nurses, nursing aides and hygienists.

On my second day, 35 soldiers were flown into our hospital compound for war wounds. Immediately, my ER skills kicked in and though I was in a village without vehicle transportation, surrounded by the 2nd largest swamp in the world, sweating in a tent, I felt this is where I belonged. Working alongside 5 other expats and 20 local nurses and nursing assistants, we built a team that I could rely on, trust in and feel supported by as we all aimed to ensure the health of the population we were working within, whether civilian or soldier, ethnic minority or ethnic majority. With a wide range of infectious diseases, war wounds and malnutrition, I had a very steep learning curve, which required daily problem-solving. After six months in South Sudan, I felt even more determined to continue working with vulnerable populations both abroad and nationally and desired to combine the skills and knowledge of a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) with a public health emphasis; so, I applied to graduate school in the early mornings before our morning conferences.

While I awaited school to begin, I took another assignment with DWB and this time went to Monrovia, Liberia to work as the manager of the ER and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a pediatric hospital for children 5 years and younger. Here I experienced a drastic shift in culture, including the education level of the national staff and a population devastated by Ebola and years of civil war. I was there during the post-Ebola mission to help support the healthcare system. During this tour, I held more of a managerial role, which helped me recognize my greater interest in not only being clinical but using my clinical skills to influence population health. My role focused on supporting the national nurses and nursing assistants through continued education and team collaboration. It was an incredible partnership in which I trained one of the national nurses to take over my position as ER supervisor when I left the assignment. Being a part of a team that helped to support national staff and allow for growth was an incredibly inspiring part of my job.

Working with MSF is one of the best decisions I’ve made throughout my career. Their values of neutrality, impartiality, independence and speaking out are what kept me going through difficult situations and challenging times. It is more than a job and more than an experience; working with MSF has changed me both as a nurse and a humanitarian. I will continue to believe in the values that represent MSF, as they should be the core values of any healthcare professional.

Kayla Percy RN 
Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Nurse Trainee
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing 
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 
Doctors Without Borders (DWB) / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Boston LEND

Tarja Berry, Page Beukelman, and Grace Chang

Audiology Fellows from (respectively) Northeastern University, University of Arizona, and University of Washington

During our year as Audiology doctoral externs, each of us rotated through different clinics within the Boston Children’s Hospital Audiology system—the Boston main campus, Weymouth satellite, and Waltham campus—which provided us opportunities to solidify our diagnostic, hearing aid and cochlear implant acumen and develop into independent, confident pediatric clinicians. Some of our patients were seen in conjunction with Otolaryngology, our multidisciplinary Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, Cochlear Implant Program, Down Syndrome Program, Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic and more, allowing us to be part of interdisciplinary care teams for our patients. Often, our patients were medically complex, exposing us to the challenges and joys of working with developmentally involved patients who must manage their hearing loss.

In addition to our clinical work, we also designed a research project that investigated the current role that audiologists play in the identification, screening, and referrals for children with suspected autism Spectrum Disorder. Based on the survey that was sent to audiologists across the nation, we found that a majority of audiologists are not performing screening for children who are seen for audiology services when autism is suspected, as they do not view it as in their scope of practice. However, of the most commonly reported red flags for suspected autism were things unique to an audiology clinic. This leads us to believe that having proper education and training for audiologists on administering autism screening tools can allow us to play a vital role in early identification of autism.

We also designed and executed a Self-Advocacy Workshop for the annual Middle School Transitions Workshop. This workshop is a day of educational lectures and activities for families of elementary school children in 4th and 5th grade that addresses issues unique to children with hearing loss and the educational and logistical changes that come with transitioning from elementary school into middle school. Through activities and role play, we taught the children about the importance of self-awareness, self-advocacy and effective communication about their hearing loss, how their devices work, and how their hearing loss affects social and learning situations.

Being a part of LEND this year was invaluable to our education, offering tools and strategies to best work with these unique populations.

Anna Corridan

Occupational Therapist, Boston Children’s Hospital

My participation in the Boston Children’s Hospital LEND program has been in collaboration with the Boston Children’s Hospital Occupational Therapy Fellowship. This experience has nicely aligned with my clinical practice. Throughout the program, I have:

  • Gained interprofessional training to better serve my patients with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
  • Gained a greater appreciation for the variety of federal and local services available to patients and families.
  • Learned about current literature in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities to promote evidence-based practice.
  • Gained a greater appreciation for current policies impacting health care and patients with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Throughout the year, I observed multiple clinics within Boston Children’s Hospital, including the Down Syndrome Program, the LEND program, and the ASK program. I also had the pleasure of meeting with the director of the Pediatric Palliative Care program, one of the many Title V programs in Massachusetts. In addition to my program observations, I had the opportunity to participate in two home visits with a young man diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and his family in Charlestown, MA through the Linking Hands Program. Each activity was a valuable experience that has enhanced my practice as a pediatric occupational therapist.

For the past seven months, I have also had the pleasure of collaborating with The Threshold Program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts with several other LEND fellows. Every Sunday, the fellows led a walking group called the “Neighborhood Stroll”. This group consisted of young adults of all physical and cognitive abilities. The group size averaged about five participants each week. The club shortly grew into a small community. The group had great conversations and a lot of laughs. The group participants taught me about the importance of community while also sharing with me some of the challenges that they face on a daily basis and how they persevere to live their lives to the fullest in the greater Boston area.

Taylor Todd

Clinical Developmental Health and Psychology, Tufts University

Through my LEND experience I had the great experience of working with the Threshold Program at Lesley University. This is a two-year on-campus college experience for students with diverse learning challenges. This consists of a two-year core curriculum program and other optional programming to help with transitions into the working and academic worlds. I was able to work one-on-one with students on life and study skills. Moreover, I participated in group social outings that provided me the opportunity to talk and engage with current students and alumni. This allowed me to get a peek into their social lives and their community.

Working one-on-one with an alumni in the Threshold Program was the most salient experience for me because it allowed me to work directly with someone who is going into their professional career and needed help in course work completion. It was a rare opportunity to work with a peer, which provides a whole new perspective that I am not usually privy to. With this new growth and knowledge I believe I am truly prepared to enrich my field in ways that I would not have without this leadership training.


MCH 745 Applied Methods for Health Transformation Implementation in MCH

MCH 745 Applied Methods for Health Transformation Implementation in MCH

Links to the MCH Navigator Evaluation Learning Bundle video

VIDEO: MCH Navigator -Spotlight on Evaluation Exit Disclaimer

Links to the MCH Navigator Public Health Pronto video

VIDEO: MCH Navigator - Title V Transformation Tools: Developing the Workforce to Implement Evidence-Based Strategies Exit Disclaimer

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