National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

John Richards Receives Young Leadership in Maternal and Child Health Award

On Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, at the end of a long day of activities celebrating the 75th anniversary of Title V of the Social Security Act, MCHB Director Peter van Dyck called John Richards to the stage in front of a crowd of hundreds of his peers and handed him the 2010 Young Leadership in Maternal and Child Health award.

Young Leaders in MCH Award

Richards, who has worked at Georgetown University at the Maternal and Child Health Library in various capacities since 1998, was co-nominated for the award by the entire staff of the MCH Group at Georgetown University, plus colleagues in the field who include MCHB grantees, MCHB officials, and other people who work closely with him. These include:

  • Mary Adkins, Director, Project IMPACT
  • Romuladus Azuine, Public Health Analyst, Office of Epidemiology, Policy and Evaluation, MCHB
  • Suzanne Bronheim, Director, NCCC SIDS/ID Project and Research Professor
  • Bill Cessato, Director of Communications, GU School of Nursing & Health Studies
  • Sandra Frank, President, Association of SIDS & Infant Mortality Programs (ASIP)
  • Kathy Graham, Executive Program Director, SIDS Program Support Center
  • Kay Johnson, Principal, Johnson Consulting Group
  • Laura Kavanagh, Director, Division of Research, Training and Education, MCHB
  • Susan Kim, Manager of Grants and Communications, The O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law
  • Toby Long, Associate Professor, GU Center for Child and Human Development
  • James Resnick, Public Health Analyst, Office of Epidemiology, Policy and Evaluation, MCHB
  • Colleen Sonosky, Associate Director, Office of Preventive and Acute Care, DC Department of Health Care Finance

The nomination, submitted officially by Dr. Rochelle Mayer, MCH Library Director, was read to the crowd at the award ceremony by van Dyck. The text of the nomination follows:

Take 200% effort, add passion, creativity, technology expertise, and mastery of multidisciplinary content, and you get John Richards - a shining light in the emerging generation of MCH leaders. John could not be more qualified or deserving of the Young Leadership in MCH Award.

He is, first of all, an accomplished Principal Investigator (PI). He currently serves as PI on:

  • A Distance Learning (DL) grant, "Addressing Mental Health Concerns;"
  • An MCH Knowledge to Practice grant, "Around the Table: Promoting Healthy Eating Through Culture and Food;"
  • A training and technical assistance project for the DC Department of Health Care Finance, "HealthCheck Provider Education System;" and
  • The Title V/Title XIX Coordination and Technical Assistance Project.

His newly funded Distance Learning and Knowledge to Practice proposals both ranked first in the external review process, earning scores of 97.5% and 99% respectively.

Two completed Distance Learning grants - "Well-Child Care: A Bright Futures Curriculum for Pediatric Providers" and "Promoting Healthy Mental Development" - have been used as the State EPSDT training curriculum for Nevada and Georgia and are now available to the public online from Georgetown University. His expertise in distance learning has earned him a leadership role; he led the group that developed the Distance Learning Performance Measures and moderated the Distance Learning Skills Building session at AMCHP and the MCHB Distance Learning Webinar.

Second, with the same vigor he brings to his own projects, John serves as Director of Information Technology (IT) for the MCH Library, the National SIDS Resource Center, and the National MCH Oral Health Resource Center. He also provides IT consultation to:

  • The National Center for Cultural Competence;
  • The National TA Center for Children's Mental Health,
  • The Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation,
  • The Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies,
  • The Georgetown University Department of Medicine, and
  • The O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law.

His innovative use of Web design has been recognized with over 30 awards, including two Grand APEX awards, four Merit World Wide Web Health awards, and a Macromedia Accessibility Showcase award. In addition to IT skills, John brings ingenuity and resourcefulness to program development. For example, he pioneered the concept of "75 books for 75 years" to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Title V.

Third, beyond his work ethic and standard of excellence, John's personal strengths make him a natural leader and skilled partner. What is most remarkable about John is his quality of heart: his compassion, integrity, and generosity. John's capacity to cultivate relationships has not only produced lasting friendships but has also forged thriving collaboratives. He has brought all of us along with him into the digital age.

An impressive example of his ability to build partnerships is demonstrated with the four national SUID/SIDS Centers. This federal initiative consisted of four centers that were previously uncoordinated in their technology and information dissemination. Enter John with dedication, patience, and enthusiasm: three years later, we have a harmonized consortium delivering joint multimedia products that have, in the last quarter, received two national awards. Perhaps more than anything else, John's partnership building is a gift to the field of MCH.

Fourth, underlying his catalog of accomplishments are core competencies that serve John well now, and will continue to serve him well in the future.

Projects now require, and John possesses, creativity in the application of innovative technologies, combining IT skills and content knowledge. John is an auto-didactic learner, which is an engine for growth in a field that joins a public health perspective with discipline-specific expertise.

Like the field itself, John remains flexed, ready to respond programmatically to emerging issues and advances in health care policy and practice. The greatest challenge for the future is harnessing MCH vision and goals to the horsepower of science and technology. The field is moving at warp speed. John is leading the charge.


Did we mention it was a big crowd?

Title V 75th Anniversary Crowd

Congratulations, John!

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