The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), a new Conquering CHD partner, is a national resource, partner, and advocate for public health leaders and others who work to advance the health of women, children, youth, families, and communities. Since its founding in 1944, AMCHP has implemented targeted programs, advocated for national legislation and funding, and convened stakeholders to achieve the shared goal of healthy children, healthy families, and healthy communities nationwide. Through this article, AMCHP is excited to present itself to the Conquering CHD community and share how our work connects with individuals and families impacted by Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs).
In accordance with its mission, AMCHP supports state and jurisdictional Title V Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) public health programs, among other maternal and child health programs. State and jurisdictional CYSHCN programs focus on strengthening family-centered, comprehensive, coordinated systems of care that enable all children and youth to thrive. AMCHP provides Title V CYSHCN program staff with practical resources that offer guidance on implementing public health programs to accelerate progress toward systems of care that produce equitable outcomes for all children.
AMCHP as a Partner on Birth Defects Surveillance Programs
In September 2021, AMCHP received a grant from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) to support partnerships between Title V and birth defects programs to improve surveillance activities, prevention strategies, referral, and linkages to health care and other services.
Through this grant, AMCHP has partnered with the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN). Both organizations work together on building capacity and engagement between Title V Maternal and Child Health/Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs programs and birth defects surveillance programs. AMCHP and NBDPN have combined technical assistance activities, resources, and engagement opportunities to promote collaboration and intentional alignment between Title V and birth defects programs.
AMCHP as a Partner to Families
AMCHP engages with families to bring their unique insight and experience into the organization’s structure, leadership development, and program and policy activities. Families contribute to AMCHP’s publications, and they serve on the organization’s committees, advisory groups, and board of directors.
AMCHP as an Advocate for Programs and Policies
AMCHP’s government affairs team advocates for programs and policies at the federal level to improve maternal and child health nationwide. Many of the organization’s federal legislative priorities align with efforts to advance the health and well-being of children with CHDs and their families, including the following:
- Each year, AMCHP joins other members of the national Newborn Screening Coalition to urge Congress to provide robust funding to federal newborn screening programs as part of the annual government funding bills. The federal newborn screening programs help to ensure that every baby in the U.S. is screened for several serious health conditions, including CHDs, shortly after birth.
- AMCHP leads a coalition of national organizations in advocating for funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, which many states use to support newborn screening follow-up, including for families with a positive screen for CHDs.
- One of AMCHP’s federal legislative priorities for 2022 is to support congressional passage of a reauthorization of the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act to increase the federal investment in newborn screening and support the modernization of the nation’s newborn screening system.
- AMCHP partners closely with the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and advocates in support of NCBDDD funding. NCBDDD is the federal agency that administers CDC’s congenital heart defects tracking and research activities to identify heart defects and improve the health of individuals living with CHDs.
To learn more about AMCHP’s federal legislative priorities to improve maternal and child health, see the AMCHP 2022 Federal Policy Agenda.
Join AMCHP at the 2022 Annual Conference!
The AMCHP Annual Conference is one of the country’s largest gatherings of MCH professionals. In 2021, more than 1,300 people attended the conference virtually from nearly every state/territory/jurisdiction in the United States, including directors of states programs, federal officials, advocates, family leaders, researchers, and health care providers.
The AMCHP 2022 Annual Conference will be held May 24-26 virtually (Register here). Considering the 2022 conference theme, “Reflecting on our Past, Shaping our Future,” AMCHP looks forward to identifying practices and policies designed to address the key challenges that MCH programs and families face and strengthening the partnerships between local and state MCH programs and the families and communities they serve.
About Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) – CHD is the most common birth defect and a leading cause of infant death. In 2021, 40,000 babies will be born with CHD in the United States alone, joining the 1.35 million new patients born this year around the world. 1 in 100 people worldwide are diagnosed with CHD.
Thanks to advances in medical technology and surgical procedures, more adults than children are now living with congenital heart disease. CHD is a chronic, lifelong condition that presents significant challenges for the patient and their family. CHD has no cure.
About AMCHP – The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) leads and supports programs nationally to protect and promote the optimal health of women, children, youth, families, and communities. Since being founded in 1950, AMCHP has served as a national resource, partner, and advocate for state public health leaders and others working to improve maternal and child health public health systems.
AMCHP supports its members and the broader public health community by disseminating best practices; advocating on their behalf in Washington; providing technical assistance; convening leaders to share experiences and ideas; and advising states about involving partners to reach our common goal of healthy children, healthy families, and healthy communities.
About Conquering CHD – Conquering CHD exists to conquer the most common birth defect. We engage, listen, learn, and act. We create visibility and empower all impacted by congenital heart disease, accomplishing this through awareness, knowledge, community, and research. Visit our website at www.conqueringchd.org.