CASSIE LAUVER: Good Morning. Why don’t we get started, I think we have a lot of good information. I’m Cassie Lauver, and I direct the Division of State and Community Health in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. I know most of you here, and welcome you to Washington DC. This is our second workshop for needs assessment. After the Block Grant Review last summer, we looked at the technical assistance requests from states, and found that over 30 states, I think over 37 states, had requested technical assistance either in the area of the upcoming 5 year needs assessment, or in the area of state performance measures on how to look at state priority needs and formulate state performance measures that are relevant and measurable for the state. We knew that states were well on their way even though the next needs assessment is not due until July of ’05. There has been some confusion as to when that next 5 year needs assessment was due…it is due July of ’05, but we know states are well on their way to collecting and analyzing data and working through the process.
States are very diverse in our different places as it relates to the needs assessment, so there is not really a “one size fits all” way of providing technical assistance, but it seemed that most of the requests had to do with such things as the process of the needs assessment. They have good data sources, they have good ability to collect and analyze data, for the most part, in states that’s improved significantly over the last 5 or so years, but what states seem to be asking was ‘then what? How do we establish the priorities not just for our specific programs, but for the MCH populations in the state? How do we bring the stakeholders together to establish priorities and set the goal and the mission and direction for Maternal and Child Health?’ So that’s what we’ve tried to do in this day and a half technical assistance workshop. Right now, I’d like to introduce the faculty, and today Donna Peterson, who’s in the back, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I don’t know if Donna Straveno is here, she is going to be presenting tomorrow, she is from Johns Hopkins, and she and Jeff Koshel, who is the deputy in the division, will be working with you on state performance measures.
The other thing that was important from states, because what we did do, is talk to a lot of states, either through the regional conference calls that are held in many of the regions or with individual states, and that was the ability to link and talk and work with other states, and for states to find out what other states are doing in terms of their needs assessment processes, what has worked, what hasn’t, and to learn from each other, so we tried to build that into the program as well. We’re doing 4 of these, we had the first one last week in Atlanta, this is the second. You guys will be stars, we are videotaping this. There are a lot of people that have indicated an interest, and that weren’t able to come, we’ll videotape this and archive it on our website, Dr. van Dyck will provide a preamble, if you will, to this on the website. We’re hoping to have that available by AMCHP and be able to announce at AMCHP that this particular meeting (will be available) so we’ll probably conduct this one a little different than the others because we have a number of small group exercises that we’ll ask you to report at, and when we do, even though we can’t capture on film the detail of the small group discussion, we’ll have you come up to the microphone and report out so we can capture that for people that are listening.
There’s also been discussion and requests for best practice, or promising practice, if you will, in needs assessment and development of state performance measures. There is an effort in the bureau, the bureau has a contract with a group of consultants who will actually be at and contacting states, and working on that. Unfortunately their product wasn’t due out until August. It could have been more helpful because of where states are in their process of state needs assessment, so we’re hoping that we’ve got them on a faster track and that they can at least present preliminary data in our skills building session at AMCHP coming up in the beginning of March, or actually I think our session is on February 28th , or whatever that Saturday is leading in. Hopefully by that time the contractors for the bureau will be able to present out some promising practice, at least preliminary information on promising practice as it relates to needs assessment.