June 2012 Newsletter

A message from our Center

We're excited to announce the launching of the Action Learning Collaborative for Latino Families of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs to improve ease of use! In this issue we'll explain the concept behind the Action Learning Collaborative model, discuss its unique benefits, past successes, and highlight the programs selected to join the ALC from Indiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Rhode Island!

All the Best,

The Staff at the National Center for Ease of Use

About the Action Learning Collaborative

The National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (2009-10) indicates that Latino families nationwide are more likely to report services are not easy to use. This disparity becomes even more pronounced when the parents of CYSCHN do not speak English as a first language. With this in mind, we decided to partner with the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) to sponsor an ALC focused on programs, policies, and practices to improve the ease of use of services for Latino families with CYSHCN.  
Lead States:
Oregon and North Carolina will serve as the ALC mentor states. The lead states were selected based on their previous work with Latino families with CYSHCN. Find out a little more about North Carolina below.
Read here, for more information on the Action Learning Collaborative (pdf).


Selected State Proposals


The state of Indiana has seen an 82% increase in its Latino population between 2000 and 2010. Latino families report longer wait times and more difficulty accessing the health care system. Indiana's project will develop a strategic plan to improve ease of use for Latino families of CYSHCN. The plan addresses many ease-of-use components including increasing the coordination of family-centered, culturally and linguistically competent resources, improving stakeholder awareness and utilizing public and private partnerships to build infrastructure. The State Office on Children with Special Health Care Needs will lead the project with diverse support from the Indiana Latino Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence, Inc., the Indiana Latino Institute, Family Voices, About Special Kids, the State Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs, and a Pediatric Professor at the Indiana School of Medicine.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a highly concentrated and growing Latino population. In response to transitions in CHIP, Medicaid eligibility requirements and service delivery methods the state will develop new communication materials. These new materials will be designed with strong consideration for cultural sensitivity and linguistic appropriateness to make services easier to use for families of CYSHCN. Special Medical Services and the Title V CYSHCN agency in New Hampshire will lead the project. Key support will come from Child Health Services (CHS) a non-profit community agency that provides primary care to low-income populations, NH Family Voices, and the Office of Minority and Refugee Affairs (OMRHA).

New Mexico

The New Mexico ALC aims to make nutrition services easier to use for Latino communities to reduce diabetes and improve health outcomes among CYSCHN populations. New Mexico is a highly diverse rural state with 45% of its total population being Hispanic and 36.5% of the population speaking another language at home. The project will develop and disseminate culturally appropriate nutrition information and dietary recommendations. These recommendations will incorporate foods commonly eaten in Latino communities to improve sustainability of new healthful behaviors. Children's Medical Services, a bilingual and multi-cultural organization will act as the project lead. Supporting organizations include the New Mexico Pediatric Society and Family Focus Groups through Parents Reaching Out (PRO).


Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island has identified an urban setting of high need, characterized by a 50% Hispanic population. Their project will work to increase family access to resources by training emerging leaders in the Hispanic Community to be peer navigators. The navigators will be available to connect with parents of CYSHCN in public schools. The Rhode Island Parent Information Network will act as lead on the project and work with the local school district and the Rhode Island Department of Public Health.

Lead State Perspective

Oregon and North Carolina will serve as ALC mentor states. We spoke with Norma Martí, the North Carolina's Public Health Minority Outreach Consultant through the State Children & Youth Branch Division of Public Health, to learn more about the ALC lead state role.  

Can you explain your role as a lead state in the ALC?
As a lead state we have made progress on innovative projects around ease of use of services for Latino families. Recently we developed a DVD narrative vignette to teach health care providers some important concepts for providing culturally competent care to Latino families with children who are hearing impaired.
What do you anticipate as the most important element of collaboration?

We really see it as a collaborative process to share ideas. We hope to provide expertise as well as learn from the other states. The ALC seeks to make new policy implementation and practice easier for all states. We support each other.
What do you foresee as challenging in this process and how do you plan to face those challenges?
We want to be sure to always have a family voice present. It's important to find ways to hear their ideas. We don't want to lose sight of their perspective because it's integral to implementing successful programs.
Interview was condensed and edited. 

ALC History

We spoke with Melody Cherny, Program Associate at AMCHP, to learn more about the value of the Action Learning Collaborative (ALC) Model.

  • AMCHP started the ALC in 1996. The model has phased through different names including Action Learning Lab, Peer-to-Peer Exchange, and now ALC. In spite of different names, the projects have consistently functioned as an intensive, small-group training program. The model brings together diverse groups to address a specific priority issue in maternal and child health (MCH). Over the past 16 years, ALC topics have included Medicaid reform, perinatal HIV transmission, perinatal health disparities, tobacco prevention and cessation, preconception health and autism. 
  • ALCs are designed to promote collaboration at the state level to improve a specific program or policy. Different states work together to identify resources, learn how to solve problems, and share promising practices in MCH. 
  • AMCHP has conducted a series of ALCs, called Peer-to-Peer Exchanges, focused on autism. These have included a focus on transition to adult health care, medical home, screening, cultural competency, and most recently, family involvement. To learn more about past Peer-to-Peer Exchanges, visit AMCHP's State Public Health Autism Resource Center.