Maternal and Child Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2005

From the Chair

Greetings for the New Year! While we are well under way, this is my first opportunity to communicate to you my thanks for all your hard work for our Section and wishes for success and good health in the coming year.

We are off to an active start. At the Annual Meeting in D.C., the open business meeting was a centinal event of advocacy planning. As a Section we identified 20 advocacy issues and then narrowed our focus to six that the group felt were a good starting point for our efforts. After small group discussions, action plans were developed, and the committees are following up with specific activities they can accomplish over the coming year. The six areas were voted on, giving priority to the following considerations:
1) Impact on population;
2) Urgency of threat to policy; and
3) Possibility of making a difference.

The top six issues and action items suggested included:

1) Funding for Local Public Health: Focus on needs to achieve 2010 Healthy People, IoM’S Future of the Public’s Health funds for infrastructure and people.

a) Involve the affiliates…state by state.
b) Work with ASTHO, NACCHO.

2) Breastfeeding as Part of the National Health Agenda.

a) Moving breastfeeding higher on APHA & other agendas.
b) Focus on impact on health across the ages.

3) Elimination of Medicaid/EPSDT Block Grants.

Contacting all MCH members to lobby their Representative on impact of changes; use Section listserv, create needed source documents.

4) Immigration and Health:
Issue of health access beyond immigrant status, affecting others in same communities; impact on quality of services
Action steps: document scope of problem, “white paper.”
Petition for MDs & RNs to refuse to follow policies that restrict health care services to undocumented immigrants.

5) Integrity of Scientific Inquiry:

Two issues: Using science to promote values, or industry.
Action steps: Review current APHA policy; Propose changes;
Use ISC to see what APHA can do; Monitor and document problems related to appointments, etc; Plan sessions at next year’s meeting.

6) Roe v. Wade and Other Threats to Reproductive Health.

Reframe the issue – whole range of reproductive options
Remember this is not a “minority issue." Need to clarify agenda.
Personalize it. Relate it to other MCH issues: IPO, etc.
Develop regional strategies based on a template, monitor policy
changes that impact reproductive rights and service access.

As you can see we have identified a strong advocacy agenda. I strongly encourage Section members to go onto our web site, pick a committee and get involved with the work going on to achieve or goals. This is a long-range agenda and will require all of us to pull together.

I hope during the next two years we can streamline Section processes, involve more members, have exciting scientific sessions and business meetings and contribute to the policy-making and action of the Association. I am thrilled to be working with you!!!

Nominations for Section Leadership Positions

Please consider nominating yourself or other section members to these leadership positions. Deadline is Feb. 18, 2005.

Maternal & Child Health Vacancies:

Two Section Councilors

Position Description: The Section Council is comprised of the Chair, Chair-elect, immediate Past Chair, Secretary, Secretary-elect and six elected members (Section Councilors). Section Councilors serve for three years. The officers and Section Councilors are voting members of the Section Council.
The duties of the Section Council are as follows:

  • To provide overall direction to the Section;

  • To make general recommendations about the Section's annual priorities;

  • To develop Section policies;

  • To submit annually to the Governing Council, through the Director of Section Affairs, a report of the transactions of the Section and of the plans of the Section for the succeeding;

  • To formulate rules of procedure for the Section;

  • To consider and transmit to the Governing Council policy statements originating in the Section;

  • To recommend and advise the Executive Board about the deployment of Section members to various Association Boards, Committees and Task Forces; and

  • To approve the creation of standing and subject area committees, provide their overall charge, appoint their chairs, and discontinue subject area committees which are no longer needed.

  • The Section Council meets at least once during the APHA Annual Meeting and once in the spring. Meetings are open to all interested Section members. Although the Chair is responsible for developing the agenda and for communicating the agenda to the Secretary for dissemination prior to the meeting, a member of the MCH Section may suggest new items of business, preferably to the Chair prior to the meeting, but also at the meeting itself.

    4 Governing Councilors

    Position Description: The Section elects representatives to the Governing Council for two-year terms. The number of representatives is determined by the size of the Section membership in relation to the entire APHA membership. (The composition and functions of the Governing Council are described in the APHA Constitution, Articles IV and VI.) The Section's representatives to the Governing Council are responsible for the review of MCH-related policy statements. Prior to the APHA Annual Meeting, a Governing Councilor (the “Whip”) selected by the Section Chair organizes the review by the Governing Councilors. The Councilors meet with the Section Council before the start of the Annual Meeting to review the policy statements the Governing Council will consider and to determine the Section's position on them. The Section and Governing Councilors also develop a consensus on candidates for APHA offices. During the Annual Meeting, the Governing Councilors attend Governing Council meetings, hearings sponsored by the Governing Council, the Section's business meeting, the Section Council meeting, and if possible, the spring meeting of the Section Council.

    For more information please contact JoAnne Fischer at <>.

    During the Annual Meeting, it was approved to change language within APHA bylaws, therefore now stating that individuals must be a current member of APHA & the Section as of Feb. 1 to be eligible to run.

    In an effort to increase participation in the Section Elections, APHA is creating a 2005 Section Election Web site (linked to the APHA home page), which would include a contact list of the Nomination Chairs and the nomination forms. For consistency they have established a Feb. 18, 2005 deadline.

Thoughts on George Silver

George Silver
I was saddened to see the reports of the death of George Silver and how little was written about his life and accomplishments. He passed away on Jan. 7, 2005 at his home in Chevy Chase, Md., at the age of 91.

From the earliest moment I entered the field of maternal and child health, I knew him as one of the “elders” of the field. During the 1990s I had the great pleasure of hosting him several times here at Johns Hopkins where he met with and spoke to our MCH students.

His career included public service as the deputy assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1965 to 1968 where he was one of the principal authors of the EPSDT provisions of the Medicaid law. For much of his career he was a professor of health services at the Yale University School of Public Health. He published his well known book, Child Health: America’s Future in 1978

George earned his MPH at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1948 and served for two years as the health officer in Baltimore’s Eastern Health District. In 1993, he was honored by Hopkins through election to membership in the University’s Society of Scholars.

George was an idealist and a conscience for the field. From my earliest encounters with him, he made me feel guilty that I wasn’t doing enough for mothers and children - that I wasn’t thinking radically enough. In the late 1990s he believed that the country would come back to its senses after the Reagan era. After attending the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of our MCH Department here at Johns Hopkins, he wrote to me in 1998:

“First, the present reversion to anti-social legislation and limitation of social action and reform is about to change [he was ever the optimist]… Second, we have failed to win radical reform of the health and medical care system in the past decades in part because we have emphasized the need for change in response to the needs of the poor and dispossessed. The new emphasis has to be on the average American’s needs, the middle-class as we like to describe the majority. Third, we need to start with a revolutionary approach to care and cost and payment details for children’s services, because the families will be less threatened by rearrangements for the children than they would be for themselves. Fourth, we need to regroup around pediatric advanced practice nurses, reserving pediatricians as specialists and consultants. Maternity care also would be centered in midwives with obstetricians as consultants. Single payment source will be much easier to accomplish now as managed care organizations like HMOs are accustomed to provide services on a third-party basis… When do we start? … Enthusiastically and gratefully, George”

George Silver was an inspiration to those of who attempt to follow in his footsteps. He was a tireless advocate for making the health of women and children a priority for this country. We miss his warm but provocative prodding to provide leadership to the next generation.

--Bernard Guyer, MD, MPH
Zanvyl Krieger Professor of Children's Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Editor's Note: Both George Silver and Bernard Guyer were honored with the APHA Martha May Eliot Award (Silver in 1986 and Guyer in 2003). The award honors a extraordinary health service to mothers and children.

Be With Women!

Raising awareness about women's health concerns is the focus of a public service campaign launched this February by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the nation's oldest women's health organization.

Under the banner "WithWomen*" on its new site at <>, and with its new dark teal advocacy wristbands, ACNM aims to draw more attention to the myriad of major issues in women's health care, including the precipitous rise in unnecessary and dangerous elective C-sections and the gap in access to care between women of color and white women.

"The purpose of the WithWomen* campaign is to create a virtual network of health-care organizations that believe women count and are working to improve the lives of women and their families," according to Deanne Williams, CNM, the organization's executive director.

Learn more online at <>.

American College of Nurse-Midwives Annual Meeting

2005 is the 50th Anniversary of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Information about the June 10-16 ACNM Annual Meeting and Exhibit is available at <>.

Annual MCH Leadership Conference

18th Annual MCH Leadership Conference Sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago MCH Program

This 18th annual MCH Leadership Conference is now national in scope. Join us at the Hyatt Lodge in Oakbrook, Ill. (close to both O'Hare and Midway airports) on May 16-17, 2005. At this year's conference, interdisciplinary experts and participants will come together to share findings about emerging MCH issues,
cutting-edge research, and innovative programs designed to improve the health and well-being of women, children and families. The conference includes a dynamic keynote address by Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, University of South Florida, and plenary sessions by Donna Strobino, PhD, Johns Hopkins University; Jennifer Culhane, PhD, MPH, Drexel University; Gary Slutkin, MD, University of Illinois at Chicago. Keynote and plenary topics include the return on investment from research, Healthy Steps for Young Children, current thinking about prematurity prevention, and reducing

For more information about the conference including the detailed agenda and registration information, please visit our Web site at <>.