A Community of Practice (CoP) is defined as “a group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise by interacting on an ongoing basis.1 With the vision of being an exceptional national resource center, the Maternal Health Learning and Innovation Center (MHLIC) will create a space for online communities of practice for health care and public health professionals, state health agencies, communities and key stakeholders. These communities will help to expedite translation of knowledge to practice, identify and leverage best practices and standards in the field of maternal health, support peer learning and advance innovation.
And any big idea means you have to start somewhere! This is how the first MHLIC community of practice organically formed from the May 2020 Learning Institute.
One of the peer innovation sessions offered during the May Learning Institute was ‘State MHI Indicators: Measurement for the Overall Initiative’. This session provided an opportunity for states to learn more about shared maternal health indicators and give feedback on the proposed cross-cutting measures. There was representation of program evaluators and data analysts from all nine state programs to start the conversation on common measures they would employ. Though there are a variety of innovation activities across the states, the conversation focused on six topic areas that were common across all programs. There was rich conversation and deep thought around each topic area working to ensure that the measures they were choosing would be relevant for the duration of the project as well as tell the story of the amazing work being done.
With so much to discuss and such little time to do it in, the group was only able to discuss three of the topics. and therefore, agreed to reconvene later. On the group’s second time together, they were not only able to complete their task but realized that the support they could provide each other going forward would be vital to each of their individual state’s project success. And like that, the State MHI Measurement CoP was formed! We look forward to convening more groups around common areas of interest like telehealth and equity.
1 Wenger, Etienne, McDermott, Richard, Snyder, William M. Cultivating Communities of Practice. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, MA. 2002.