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Strengthening the evidence for maternal and child health programs

Technical Assistance

woman pointing to colored sticky notes on a glass wall with three men listeningThe project provides needs-based, focused, and solution-oriented technical assistance (TA) to Title V professionals to help them acquire knowledge and skills to develop, implement, improve, and evaluate Evidence-based/informed Strategy Measures (ESMs) and to address questions of how to choose, implement, and evaluate programs based on evidence more broadly.

Read this factsheet about the TA that we provide and how it coordinates with assistance from the National MCH Workforce Development Center.

Please contact us to talk about your TA needs. Depending on the nature of the request, this TA will be provided either one-on-one, or, if shared evidence concerns exist among staff, in state-based teams.

The Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM) team of the National MCH Workforce Development Center (NMCHWDC) will lead TA and support efforts in three broad activities:

1. Coordinate a review of state-initiated ESMs. Staff will focus efforts each year to systematically retrieve ESMs and provide a detailed review of measures.

This process will include:

  1. Assessing and aligning goals: analyzing how the ESMs align with NPMs and state strategies.
  2. Appraising evidence: analyzing how ESMs align with the continuum of evidence identified by the evidence analysis reports and other ESMs. The project will link ESMs to both the established peer-reviewed literature and to promising practices from the field.
  3. Assessing infrastructure: analyzing state systems and capacity to implement and sustain relevant evidence-based/informed strategies to drive change in ESMs.
  4. Identifying practice change: analyzing the type, scope, and scale of change required to effectively deliver and sustain selected programs over time.
  5. Conducting measurement and improvement: analyzing how best to track and report progress on ESMs.
  6. Assessing communication and dissemination: analyzing processes and tools that will facilitate continuous learning and dissemination concerning ESM-related activities in the state.

2. Assess the need for and provide TA on writing effective ESMs. Staff will provide individualized, needs-based, and solution-oriented TA on writing effective ESMs to states who need additional guidance both preceeding and following the annual block grant review. This TA will specifically incorporate best practice strategies and measurement activities from the field.

To ensure that TA is available to states/jurisdictions at all times during the year, staff will build on proven TA models currently in place at NMCHWDC:

  • Longer-term, intensive TA: Activities to address longer-term issues follow Brownson’s Evidence-Based Public Health framework and include: (1) training that integrates knowledge and hands-on skill building; (2) coaching that pairs participants with a staff coach who connects them to appropriate resources; and (3) TA to help participants solve a systems-wide identified issue in their states.
  • Shorter-term, responsive TA: Staff will integrate similar TA components into this model where the team directly responds to a state need that is more complex than a simple information or training request, but not systems-based.
  • Ongoing Evidence Check-Ups: As part of a set of standard core areas that the NMCHWDC TA team provides on an ongoing basis, staff will include an Evidence Check-Up as one of the TA topics that they concentrate on with states. The Check-Up will use a tool that helps states quickly see the connection between their TA request, ESMs, and other action plan activities currently under way in the state. Further, the Check-Up will evaluate the strength of the state’s ESMs and how well they are being implemented and measured. In this way, ESM-focused assistance will be seamlessly integrated into ongoing TA for states that may not have been aware that they needed to focus on or improve their ESMs.

3. Refer grantees to resources beyond the scope of the cooperative agreement. All consortium partners currently coordinate with MCHB in their informal TA and referral system. The project will ensure that staff refer state and jurisdictions to the appropriate resources that may lie outside the scope of this project.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.