Student Spotlight: How did Alyssa Scott’s Deployment Help Address Minnesota’s Title V Key Priority Areas?

#UMNMCH student Alyssa Scott (MPH 2021) wrote this reflection on how her field experience and deployment with the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Title V Block Grant team have contributed to her experience in the MCH Program.

With a background in nonprofit communications and fundraising, I was excited for this opportunity to learn about grant management and policy implementation on a state level. Back in 2018, I began my graduate school journey with an interest in policy implementation and how data and evaluation can influence new policies that respond to the needs of a community. Working with the Title V Block Grant team at MDH gave me the perfect opportunity to learn about one way in which this happens in the MCH world.

During my time at MDH I was primarily working with data and information that came from a community needs assessment process completed prior to my time with the organization. I was focused specifically on American Indian maternal and child health and comprehensive early childhood systems. Strategy Teams, made up of a diverse group of statewide stakeholders, MDH employees, and grantees, had met to identify strategies to improve disparities experienced in each of these areas. 

"I learned so much about how grant money is distributed and what that process looks like on the federal and state level, how MDH partners across other government agencies ensure that goals are met and what is involved in making progress to improve maternal and child health across the state." Quote by Alyssa Scott

I utilized the information the strategy teams identified and helped write Title V Maternal and Child Health Priority Briefs and Data Stories for the general public to learn about what work is being done to meet Title V’s 11 key priority areas. Throughout the process of writing American Indian Maternal and Child Health and Comprehensive Early Childhood Systems briefs, I got to highlight health inequities and the impacts of COVID-19, and engage with various stakeholders. I learned a lot about collaborative grant management and grant writing/reporting. There are a lot of moving pieces involved in Title V funding and the necessary re-prioritization of resources to manage the COVID-19 created some unanticipated challenges. 

I learned so much about how grant money is distributed and what that process looks like on the federal and state level, how MDH partners across other government agencies ensure that goals are met and what is involved in making progress to improve maternal and child health across the state. I’m excited to take this knowledge of government agency work and state/federal funding forward with me as I seek a job in the health policy realm. 

Alyssa Scott is a recent graduate of the MCH MPH Program. Prior to receiving her MPH she also completed a Master of Public Policy (MPP) and is particularly interested in policy implementation related to maternal and child health. Alyssa received her BA in English and Political Science from Carthage College in 2014. Her background is in nonprofit communications and consulting. She recently completed her deployment with the Title V section of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) working primarily with the Block Grant. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, and dabbling with vegan cooking. Alyssa now hopes to establish a career in health policy. 


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