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How the ITMHCA Endorsement® Benefits Me

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Although I am not yet required to submit the renewal letter, I did want to provide some thoughts about how the Endorsement® has benefited and influenced me. I am fully aware of how helpful it is to hear impact feedback and hope that my comments will support others in going through the process.

1. Putting together the portfolio was an amazing experience! Although it took a bit of work, somehow, it put my life into perspective in a way I had not imagined. Normally, when I pull together past work and training experiences, it is for a job application or short vitae for a presentation or a training I am doing rather than an opportunity to view how I became who I am. I had a HUGE benefit in that I kept good records of my training, having had to produce listings for accreditation processes by COA, HFA, CARF, and other accrediting bodies, so perhaps I could easily get past the searching and focus more on what drove me to do what I do. Reviewing the training content allowed me to revisit some of the folks I had received training from - and it made me want more connection to them. I re-connected with a few of these folks via publications and websites.

Seeing where I started so many years ago, I was able to trace the significant "choice-points" in my life; some of which brought me to tears, some brought huge smiles and remembrances of those who have mentored me, and some brought pride in accomplishment and wonder about how I had the strength to make those difficult choices. It was not dissimilar to compiling a memoir. As I was fully immersed in this process and feeling the freedom of literary license, quotes from some of the amazing thinkers in the world emerged. I loved thinking about these quotes whether musical, in speeches, poetic, or artistic and decided to include some of these in my portfolio to illustrate the power of each section. As I prepare for renewal each year, I will be mindful about how I use training and work experience to impact the lives of infants and young children and their families in a way that can prevent violence and trauma without resolution.

2. I am fortunate in that simply by the nature of working for a National office, I can have a larger imprint on policy, practice, training, and system development than I could have had locally. Now that I have a Level IV endorsement, I now feel significantly more persuasive about the importance of infant mental health at a national level... and because I am endorsed at the highest level, I find I am much more listened to and my opinions are more sought after (albeit I am endorsed at a policy level.. I will apply for clinical when I have an opportunity for direct work with families). I am surprised at how many state and national experts are limited in their knowledge of infant mental health - mostly thinking about treatment rather than promotion. I am using my Endorsement® to educate our network of home visiting programs about infant mental health in the following ways:

~ Including infant mental health within our national accreditation standards for 2011 - 2013.

~ Including infant mental health in our basic training outlines and content (all staff who use our home visiting model will now know we are an infant mental health program and why)

~ Including infant mental health in our national logic model and pose that infant mental health separates our home visiting model from others

~ Including a hope that our national home visiting program can partner with infant mental health to support the thousands of staff in our network to apply for infant mental health endorsement level II (I have created a crosswalk between the Infant-Family Specialist

- IIE and the training our program offers, along with our critical elements of quality performance). Of course, we would link our home visitors up with their state endorsement process... or if their state does not have one, we would link to the MI IMH Endorsement® process (there needs to be a national entity).

Thank you for letting me tell you the impact of my endorsement on my life... and with great hope, let you know how this work will impact others.

Kate Whitaker MsEd IMH-E® (IV)
Director, HFA Northeastern/Western Regional Office
Prevent Child Abuse America
 

For questions about Endorsement® please email endorsement@itmhca.org