So you want to be a leader… but how?

Michael C. Lu, MD, Associate Administrator, Maternal & Child Health, Health Resources and Services Administration,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and MCH Student Kori Wilford

Leadership Competencies are complicated and difficult to assess. How do you measure critical thinking? How do you know if someone has successfully reflected on personal goals, strengths or limitations? If this type of growth is ongoing and subjective, how do we know if an individual is where they should be in their development or training? The University of Minnesota Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Health is implementing innovative strategies to target these necessary leadership skills. Having public health graduate students attend Association of Maternal and Child Health’s (AMCHP) 2012 conference is one way we can do just that.

Check-out student’s reflections on their experience at AMCHP below and how attending benefited their professional and personal development. We have some noteworthy personal assessments going on!

Constructing a Core MCH Knowledge Base
“Over the course of the conference, I met people who were obstetricians, pediatricians, midwives, doulas and people who were epidemiologists, analysts, policy specialists and even journalists all working in the field of MCH. That’s when I realized how MCH is everything – everything affects the lives of mothers and children and how they in turn, effect everything else.” – Vidya Venkataraman, MCH Student

Critical Thinking
“Every session I went to buzzed with the vocabulary and tools I have gathered in my methodology courses and scientific-based women’s health classes.  As I articulated my ideas in conversation with MCH leaders from across the nation, I was reminded that our program has encouraged me to think critically and it has allotted me the growth and confidence I need to start my professional MCH career.”  –Lucy Cosgrove, MCH Student

Interdisciplinary Team Building
“From developing partnerships with community stakeholders to address local public health issues to sharing best practices between state Title V agencies, collaboration emerged as an essential component of MCH work.” –Elisabeth Seburg, MCH Student

“In order to progress further in eliminating disparities and improving better access to quality health care for those without such services will require efforts and collaboration from individuals in all disciplines.” – MaiSee Moua, MCH Student

Collaboration with the Wider-Community
“One thing that I took from a session I attended at AMCHP was that public health needs to work alongside communities to promote their unique strengths. From examining these strengths, public health professionals have the opportunity to implement sustainable change within a community.” –Sarah MapelLentz, MCH Student

 Building a Professional Network
“Overall, I think that it is a great opportunity for students to network with important people in MCH as well as an opportunity to see the many ways in which our course work is being applied throughout the country.” – Danielle Young, MCH Student

MCH Student Jess Nelson and friend

“It was truly inspiring to be around 700+ people who share my passion and to hear the stories of the speakers, award recipients, and of the spoken word performers. It was a great reminder as to why I’ve chosen to devote my life to this field.” – Jess Nelson, 1st year

How can conferences support other areas of development? How can we creatively address other competencies such as ethics and professionalism or advocacy?

You can evaluate your leadership development and skills through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Assessment tools. Check them out and take the tests!

Town Hall Discussion with Dr. Michael Lu

You can also view pictures and materials from the MCHB Joint Interdisciplinary Training Meeting that occurred during AMCHP. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau Training Program gave students, trainees and faculty the chance to discuss innovative practices in leadership training.