Skip Navigation

Strengthening the evidence base for maternal and child health programs

New: MCHbest strategies database for sample ESMs

Technical Assistance

woman pointing to colored sticky notes on a glass wall with three men listeningThe Strengthen the Evidence Base for MCH Programs initiative (MCH Evidence Center) provides needs-based, focused, and solution-oriented technical assistance (TA)1 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.

We are eager to talk with you further about your ESMs. We provide TA that is customized to your needs and the time you have. 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.

Read More: About Our TA

Addressing complex, systems-based issues is strengthened by a team approach. We collaborate with Evidence-Based Decision Making team of the National MCH Workforce Development Center to identify, develop, measure, and improve your ESMs.

We also collaborate with the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) to ensure that you have access to promising practices and tools from other Title V programs across the country. Finally, we coordinate with a wide array of MCHB-funded topical TA centers to make sure you have access to cutting-edge knowledge and resources from the experts. Read more about our TA here.

We provide Evidence informed Technical Assistance: Interactive support tailored to the specific needs of individuals or teams, designed to advance best practices in a specific domain.  Evidence informed technical assistance draws on empirically proven methods (information based on the synthesis of scientific evidence) when possible, is context sensitive, and person- or client-focused.  Evidence informed technical assistance uses evidence-based methods in conjunction with client and (TA) practitioner expertise and knowledge and information about the values, preferences, and circumstances of the target client or population. [Sources: Leeman et al. 2015; Rabin and Brownson, 2019]

You can also talk with your regional project officer who will contact us to arrange for TA, either for your group individually or as part of a group Title V programs.

The TA Process: What To Expect Through Our TA Process

We use a consortium-based approach1 to provide TA, expert consultation, training, and resources to assist Title V agencies develop and measure evidence-based programs to support women, children, families, and communities.

This model is described in the text of the sectionWe engage with Title V agencies in a 3-staged process including 1) Decision-Making 2) TA Process/Implementation and 3) Impact Evaluation. Underpinning this process is both the partnership developed between the Center and TA recipient as well as your individual context.

Preparation for Technical Assistance

Prior to receiving technical assistance, the MCH Evidence Center will work with to prepare for engaging with the Center. Preparation will involve 1) gathering information regarding your team’s needs; 2) identifying any gaps that exist between current conditions and desired outcomes; and 3) exploring readiness and capacity to commit to programmatic, organizational, and/or systematic changes. Finally, we will discuss what your desired goals “look like” and  the process for involving staff and stakeholders in identifying priorities, strategies, and measures that best fit with your organization’s mission or goals. This includes:

  • Identifying findings from needs assessments
  • Thinking about readiness for change
  • Considering organizational capacity
  • Visioning what your goals might look like
  • Decision making about timelines, roles, and responsibilities
Technical Assistance Plan

Next, we will develop a technical assistance plan that includes goals and objectives, potential interventions (strategies), and a discussion of fit concerning potential interventions. We will discuss theories of change associated with selected interventions and consider possible implications for populations across your state or jurisdiction . We will also share TA resources and ways to designate staff roles and responsibilities as they relate to TA activities. Our TA plan is built on:

  • Mutually identifying goals and objectives
  • Sharing evidence-based/informed interventions  
  • Assessing fit with the realities of your work environment
  • Exploring logic model or theories of change
  • Identifying resources that could help launch and sustain your work
  • Delineating staff roles and responsibilities
Technical Assistance Implementation

In order to help ensure successful technical assistance , the Center will work to build staff trust, respect, and rapport, while offering the opportunity of professional development among TA recipients. Professional development will be strengthened by the Center’s use of coaching, mentoring, and consultation to build and strengthen your ability to use prioritized  interventions . Our implementation model is built on:

  • TA provider knowledge and credibility
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Customized consultation
  • TA provider support/feedback
Technical Assistance Evaluation

In an ongoing effort to continually improve, we will ask you to evaluate your experience with the MCH Evidence Center. We also offer services and resources to help you with an enhanced ability to evaluate your own work in an continuous quality improvement model. We will be asking you to reflect on outcomes related to your technical assistance experience as well as lessons learned. Our evaluative process includes:

  • Quality and satisfaction of the TA provided
  • Outcome evaluation of integrating TA into ongoing work
  • Impact evaluation to gauge longer-term effects of programs developed through TA
  • Fidelity of use of interventions adopted/adapted
  • Lessons learned
Sustainability of TA-Facilitated Change

Our goal when offering technical assistance is to offer resources, tools, and services that are replicable and sustainable in your everyday work. Far from a ‘one-and-done’ approach, the MCH Evidence Center promotes continued conversation and collaboration  with all recipients, and provides additional follow-up services to ensure teams feel well supported.

We look forward to working with you and developing a tailored technical assistance plan that best meets your need!

To request an exploratory call please fill out a request through our online intake form.

"SMARTIE" TA: Targeted TA That Advances Health Equity

Specifically, we provide SMARTIE TA that leads to:

  • Sharp, Specific, and Systems-based ESMs. We help sharpen ESM goals to more fully advance NPM topics and utilize systems to sustain these strategies.
  • Measurable and Meaningful ESMs. We ensure that your ESMs are measurable and in line with related projects in other states and jurisdictions.
  • Actionable, Achievable, and Aligned ESMs. We ensure that your ESMs inform your actions, are aligned with your needs assessment, and flow from your State Action Plan.
  • Relevant and Research-based ESMs. We connect your ESMs with the published evidence, emerging promising practices, and what other states are currently doing.
  • Translatable, Targeted, and Time-phased ESMs. We engage your team in developing sustained approaches to address specific needs of your populations, including Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN).
  • Inclusive. We emphasize the importance of bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power. (Source: OpenSource Leadership Strategies and The Management Center).
  • Equitable. We co-develop processes that work to advance health equity and address social determinants of health.

Examples: Our TA Takes On Many Forms

Examples of TA that we provide:

  • A Title V agency requests feedback on how to develop meaningful measures for its full list of ESMs before final submission of the annual block grant application.
  • A Title V agency asks us to engage in a year-long process to help improve their ESMs for the next block grant application and upcoming needs assessment.
  • A Title V agency wants to develop a safe sleep campaign (NPM 5) but isn’t sure whether to base it in the hospital or during prenatal visits and wants to know what the evidence says is the most effective intervention.
  • A Title V agency (MCH, CYSHCN, or both) needs guidance on the RBA process specific to certain NPMs.
  • A new project requires research on “what works” from the evidence and the field.
  • A group of states/jurisdictions who have chosen NPM 9 (Bullying) want to compare pilot programs to find the most effective behavior-change programs.
  • A region is interested in the MCH Evidence team presenting the RBA process to a group of states/ jurisdictions.

Note

1 Our TA is based off of the work of two main sources: (1) Le LT et al. A Technical Assistance Model for Guiding Service and Systems Change. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 2014. 380–395 and (2) Dunst CJ et al. Scoping Review of the Core Elements of Technical Assistance Models and Frameworks. World Journal of Education, 2019. 109-122.

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.