Champions and Partnerships

Champions and Partnerships



Successful IECMHC programs are based upon effective collaboration and champions and partners. Champions and dedicated partners can contribute to strong collaboration by acquiring funding, championing a shared understanding of the goals of IECMHC, engaging in joint planning, cultivating mutual respect, and communicating effectively.

Identifying IECMHC champions can be a key opportunity to cultivate and connect leadership from clinical, community, and policy areas around early childhood issues.

Identify and convene leaders from health care, education, and human services organizations and develop relationships among key personnel in partner agencies with a goal of developing a network of leaders who understand and support IECMHC. Get to know these leaders, and use them to help champion IECMHC among their agencies and partners.

Identify shared values among community partners in why and how services are delivered and a common understanding of IECMHC.  Establish effective communication among agency partners, and implement a clearly defined and fair division of responsibilities.

The Boston Public Health Commission implemented an integrated early childhood mental health model in the medical home and developed a core team to spearhead the project. The core team included a primary care provider champion embedded in the primary care practice which served as the medical home, whose role included developing a vision for IECMHC services, educating other providers about the services, and orienting other core team members to this embedded model of practice.

Finding champions and leadership partners for IECMHC is important, but it can be challenging. Because IECMHC is a hybrid profession that encompasses infancy and early childhood and mental health, potential champions and leadership partners in one or the other discipline might not see themselves as powerful voices for the field. Programs can begin by finding ambassadors for IECMHC, who can then do some deeper partnership work to cultivate champions over time.

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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.