NEWBORN SCREENING & GENETICS
APHL Supports Professional Growth Through Meeting Facilitator Workshop
by Ruthanne Sheller , MPH , manager , NewSTEPs ; Dara Plath , associate specialist , Newborn Screening & Genetics ; Chenelle Norman , MPH , ASQ CMQ / OE , manager , Newborn Screening Quality Improvement and Fran Altmaier , BSW , Arizona Department of Health Services
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically changing the landscape of in-person meetings , presenting new opportunities and challenges for organizers and attendees . In response to this shifting landscape , APHL hosted an in-person Professional Development Workshop in Silver Spring , MD May 5-6 . The workshop equipped attendees , including APHL members and staff , with skills to effectively plan , deliver , manage and evaluate virtual and in-person meetings . Attendees were excited to reunite after a two-year hiatus and actively participated in group discussions , breakouts and exercises .
The professional development workshop was initiated at the request of APH Newborn Screening ( NBS ) Committee and workgroup chairs wishing to develop their facilitation skills and improve engagement . Workshop topics included types of meetings , tools for effective meetings , ideas for leveraging technology , strategies for starting meetings , managing dysfunction and meeting templates . After the workshop , APHL staff scheduled follow-up calls to ensure accountability and the continued success of attendees .
NBS relies on the workforce ’ s commitment to continuous professional development and learning to ensure families everywhere receive quality care . Workshop attendees demonstrated this commitment to professional development — an APHL core value — by participating in brainstorming exercises and strategy discussions to confront challenges to meeting management . One exercise , in which attendees worked in a semi-circle , required them to build off words and phrases presented by their neighbor , with the goal of encouraging attendees to learn from each other .
Something as simple as clearly stating a meeting purpose rather than just the topic really ensures meetings stay on course .”
Fran Altmaier , Co-chair , Quality Improvement Subcommittee
Service Excellence and Continuous Improvement
Delivering high-quality NBS services to patients and families while continually improving screening and follow-up processes are critical tasks . By focusing on topics including meeting management , leadership strategies and defining action items , attendees learned strategies for more effective meetings to ensure service excellence and continual improvement of NBS .
Innovation , Creativity and Leadership
Innovation , creativity and leadership were the foundation of the workshop ’ s design , so a visually appealing space was chosen to encourage participants to move around and interact with each another . Additionally , workshop facilitators discussed characteristics of an outstanding meeting leader , which included finding a role for all attendees , being knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject matter , and feeling empowered — and empowering others — to grow within their roles .
As public health professionals , we are committed to the communities we serve . To demonstrate this commitment and accountability to diverse communities , including underserved groups , staff donated excess food from the workshop to local food pantry Shepherd ’ s Table .
As public health laboratories continue to adjust to a new normal , now is an opportune time to seek opportunities for professional development that provides guidance for navigating engagement via virtual and in-person platforms . g
DIGITAL EXTRA :
Interested in this workshop or hosting a similar professional development training Contact NewSTEPs @ aphl . org