2016 Family Leadership Conference and Reception

2016 National Family Leadership Conference logo

Expanding our Reach, Impacting the Future

Wednesday, March 30th, 8:00am-5:00pm & Thursday, March 31st, 8:00am-2:00pm
Pavilion, HRSA Headquarters, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD

2016 National Family Leadership Conference
Download or browse the conference program.

Over 150 family leaders from every state along with professional partners gathered at HRSA headquarters in Rockville, MD over two days to connect and share; learn innovative strategies and best practices; and strengthen our collective imp.  Workshops were held on topics such as systems change at the local, state, and national level; recruiting, training, and supporting diverse leaders; youth leadership development; the cultural implications of health literacy; promising practices in working with diverse families; developing and sustaining "value add" partnerships; and more! 


MCHB Legacy and Award Celebration

A highlight of the conference was the MCHB Legacy and Award Celebration.  This event honored the visionary leadership and support of four influential leaders within MCHB: Merle McPherson, MD; Bonnie Strickland, PhD; Diana Denboba; and Kathy Bishop, PhD (posthumous). The extraordinary development of family leadership in health as we know it today would not have been possible without the the significant contributions of these leaders.

Dr. Merle McPherson, Diana Denboba, Bonnie Strickland, Debra Waldron



Family Voices gratefully acknowledges the support of the Health Resources and Services Administration,
Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs for providing
funding for this meeting through cooperative agreement #U40MC00149, the National Center for Family/
Professional Partnerships. We also thank the Health Resources and Services Administration for donating the
beautiful conference space. This meeting would not have been possible without the generous support of our

conference sponsors

Honoring Champions of Children's Health

WHEN: Tuesday, March 29th, 5:30 - 7:30 pm

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562

Please join us for a Family Voices Reception to celebrate the outstanding leadership of three individuals who have been true champions of the rights of families of children and youth with special health care needs:

Connie Garner


Connie Garner, Former Policy Director for Disability and Special Populations to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and staff to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts



Rodney Whitlock


Rodney Whitlock, Former Health Policy Advisor and Acting Health Policy Director for Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee



Cindy Mann


Cindy Mann (in absentia), Former Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services and founder and Director of the Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Heath Policy Institute



2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Family Opportunity Act, which included funding for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) in every state and DC. F2F HICs help millions of families of children with special needs navigate health care systems, take on critical roles as partners in their children's care, and participate at the systems level to improve health care for children.

We are very pleased to honor Ms. Garner, Mr. Whitlock, and Ms. Mann for the fundamental roles they have each played in championing the roles of families as key partners in ensuring quality health care for children, including supporting F2F HICs and other programs and policies that benefit children with special health care needs or disabilities and their families.

Families of children with special needs across the country thank Ms. Garner, Mr. Whitlock and Ms. Mann, recognizing the profound impact of their work on the daily lives of children and families.
Please join us in celebrating the work of these important children’s health champions!