Healthy Start St. Johns Human Services Counselor Gail Koller recently reached over 10,000 moms and enrolled them into Healthy Start services to help them have a healthy pregnancy and baby. She’s spent over 17 years being the entry point for moms in the county receiving information and tools needed for a healthy start.
The Healthy Start screen is a one-page questionnaire completed by pregnant mothers at their prenatal care provider’s office and after delivery in the hospital that screens for any potential risk factors that can affect a baby’s growth or development.
Gail receives the Healthy Start screens completed by the moms from their healthcare providers’ offices. Gail believes providers in St. Johns County highly value Healthy Start services, so they make her career and ability to contact women much easier. The providers work to eliminate risk factors and high infant mortality rates through more personable healthcare – asking questions to the mom beyond the Healthy Start screen.
Gail has five days from receiving the screens to call those moms showing risk factors. She goes over insurance, WIC, breastfeeding education, safe sleep, childrearing classes and much more. When Gail contacts these moms, she said they often express feelings of overwhelming relief as they may not have anybody to reach out to for support or information on their pregnancy – a void that she begins to fill gratefully.
Cara Seifart, program manager of Healthy Start at the Florida Department of Health, recognized that Gail touched the lives of this many moms and Dr. Dawn Allicock, director and health officer of the DOH St. Johns County, chose Gail as Employee of the Month for January 2017.