Communities and Systems



  • Improving the health status of MCH population groups is a complex process because so many factors influence the health of children, adolescents, and families. Therefore, solving health problems and improving health status requires the active involvement of many disciplines and an array of public- and private-sector jurisdictions. Reaching a goal of promoting health and preventing problems requires a broad-based systems approach, rather than a categorical approach, to the issues.
  • Systems thinking is the ability to appreciate complexity. This includes the ability to see the whole and the parts to understand the ways in which the parts interact and influence outcomes.
  • Collaboration is a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered by two or more organizations to achieve goals and act as one to solve an agreed-upon issue. The key to collaboration is the use of supportive and inclusive methods to ensure that those represented by the collaboration are included in the change process and share power. (Source:
  • Constituency building depends on the core competencies of communication, self- reflection, critical thinking, and ethics and professionalism.
  • The successful MCH leader thinks systemically about the complexity of policy, practice, and research challenges. Personality characteristics and temperament that may aid in this competency include passion, persistence, self-motivation, optimism, flexibility, creativity, charisma, humility, and patience.


Participants will:

  • Identify basic features and issues in healthcare systems
  • Identify the relationship between mission, vision, and goals and activities, planning and the community being served
  • Describe and demonstrate basic business and administrative principles related to planning, funding, budgeting, managing, and evaluating an agency
  • Demonstrate the ability to build constituencies and collaborations among organization
  • Describe principles of systems thinking
  • Develop an agenda and lead a meeting
  • Provide a needs assessment
  • Identify community stakeholders
  • Identify dynamic interplay between parts in a collaboration
  • Maintain strong stakeholder base

Core Seminar

Please note: This module is intended to be done over a period of time. It involves a pre-assessment (30 min), some self-directed readings (2+ hours), and then a lecture with interactive questions (2+ hours). You will probably want to divide this into four segments and do it over a period of a couple of months.

When doing the Systems of Care Module, you may find that the audio is a little soft. This can be remedied by using earphones.

Also, the slides do not forward automatically. When the narration has stopped, press the down button to forward it to the next slide.

Self-Directed Learning

  • Interview the head of a community agency
  • How does her organization function? How does it interface with other agencies and organizations?

Community Activity

  • What systems have you dealt with in developing your community activity?
  • Has your activity involved one or more “communities”?
  • How have community and systems interacted? What would improve this?

Participation in Faculty Activities

  • Join your preceptor in community activities and meetings

Leadership Journal & Portfolio

  • Observe and discuss the systems of care which impact the families you work with. How do these contribute to or help reduce disparities in health outcomes?
  • How do communities help/hinder the child’s care? How could they be improved?
  • Do PPC children have a medical home?
  • Write about your experiences observing/interacting with community agencies – assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • How have you felt this week?

Clinical Preparation

  • Observe and discuss the systems of care which impact the families you work with
  • How do communities help/hinder the child’s care? How could they be improved?
  • Do PPC children have a medical home?