• The late Gov. Lawton Chiles secures passage of legislation with bipartisan support to address Florida’s high infant mortality and low birth weight rates. Law includes expanded Medicaid coverage for pregnant women and funding for education and risk reduction services. A statewide network of local coalitions is created to plan, fund and oversee community services.
  • Health departments in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties are funded by state to provide Healthy Start case management and other services to at-risk pregnant women and newborns.



  • Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition incorporated to implement state’s new Healthy Start legislation in five county area. The late Phil Gilbert, executive vice-president of Duval County Medical Society, serves as founding chairman.

Original Healthy Start Logo



  • Coalition completes first Service Delivery Plan highlighting maternal and child health needs in northeast Florida.



  • Project Impact, the region’s fetal and infant mortality review project, is launched. Jacksonville Children’s Commission provides grant to support case review activities.



  • Help Them Thrive Birth to Five implemented by the Coalition as part of statewide education and awareness campaign highlighting the importance of prenatal care, preventive pediatrics, early intervention & parenting and family planning.
  • Coalition, Jacksonville Children’s Commission and Duval County Health Department adopt cooperative agreement to integrate Healthy Start and Healthy Families services in high need areas of Jacksonville. This approach was used for several years. All home visiting providers now collaborate in Jacksonville through the Duval County Providers Group which ensures families screened by Healthy Start are referred to the agency most appropriate for their needs.



  • First Maternal & Child Health Data Report published by the Coalition.



  • Physicians and hospitals targeted in new outreach program to increase Healthy Start screening rates.
  • Gov. Chiles visits Jacksonville to kick-off new Prenatal Passport, a public awareness campaign to promote early prenatal care. Winn-Dixie partners with Coalition to provide special baby bag to pregnant women who enter care early and complete all their visits.
  • First grant received from Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida to support a new fatherhood initiative implemented in partnership with the Jacksonville Urban League’s Head Start Program.
  • Healthy Start service providers expanded with funding of Shands Jacksonville and Healthy Families. New contracts address mental health and counseling needs as well as healthy child development.

Gov. Chiles kicks-off new Prenatal Passport



  • Coalition becomes organizational home to efforts to enroll uninsured children in new KidCare program as part of statewide outreach initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • Disparities in infant mortality examined using Perinatal Periods of Risk (PPOR). Findings highlight need to focus on health of women before and between pregnancies. Town hall meeting held to share results.
  • Magnolia Project opens with funding from federal Healthy Start program. Project offers pre- and inter-conceptional care to at-risk women of childbearing age living in northwest Jacksonville. Partners include Jacksonville Community Health Center, Duval County Health Department, St. Matthew Church and Shands Jacksonville.
  • Northeast Florida pilots a simplified Medicaid enrollment process for pregnant women using a one-page, mail- in application. Success of efforts leads to adoption statewide as part of new Healthy Start Medicaid waiver.

Magnolia Project Grand Opening Simplified Medicaid Enrollment Process



  • Black Infant Mortality Task Force identifies need for increased focus on health disparities. New faith-based initiative, Hold-out the Lifeline, launched by St. Matthew Church in partnership with Coalition. Funded by state Closing the Gap program, the AME Ministers Alliance assumed leadership for the project in 2004 and expanded efforts with Moses Project to address sleep-related deaths.
  • MomCare, a new counseling and education program for pregnant women insured by Medicaid, is initiated as part of new Healthy Start Medicaid waiver. MomCare staff at Coalition contacts newly enrolled women and assists them in selecting a prenatal care provider and obtaining other needed services.

Hold-out the Lifeline launched to address sleep-related deathsMomCare is initiated



  • Coalition receives planning grant from the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) to integrate substance abuse and HIV prevention with other services for at-risk women of childbearing age. Plan results in three-year grant to implement the Azalea Project which focuses on substance-involved pregnant and parenting women and young girls in their households. Partners include the Duval County Health Department, River Region Human Services, Gateway Community Services and the Bridge of Northeast Florida.
  • Special outreach and education effort targeting local nightclubs is implemented by FIMR Community Action Team. The initiative addresses high rates of sexually transmitted infections, a contributing factor to poor birth outcomes. A free 24 hour, toll-free hotline (1-888-U-R-WOMAN) is established to provide information and referral as part of the project. Outreach on the Beat engaged police officers in distributing information to pregnant women and others who might need care.

Special outreach targeting local nightclubs is implemented Special outreach targeting local nightclubs is implemented



  • Coalition joins three other communities in implementation of national Friendly Access program. Working with USF Lawton & Rhea Chiles Center, teams from Shands Jacksonville, the UF Departments of Pediatrics & OB/GYN, and the Duval County Health Department attended the Disney Institute to learn about ways to increase customer service and satisfaction with health care with a goal of increasing its access and use during pregnancy.
  • FIMR Community Action Team launches first campaign to promote safe sleep and reduce SIDS and other sleep-related deaths in northeast Florida. Initial efforts target grandmothers and other caregivers.

Coalition joins in implementation of national Friendly Access program Coalition attends the Disney Institute



  • Azalea Project, the Coalition’s new community initiative focusing on substance-involved women and girls in their families, opens its storefront site.
  • Coalition hosts forum on uninsured children featuring guest speaker, Cindy Mann, JD, of the Georgetown Center for Health Policy. Mann is currently Director of the federal Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS).

Azalea Project opens its storefront site Azalea Project graduation Coalition hosts forum on uninsured children with Cindy Mann, JD



  • The Coalition receives funding from the state’s Vitagrant settlement to promote breastfeeding and use of folic acid by women of childbearing age.
  • The AME Ministers Alliance, a Healthy Start community partner, receives federal funding for Body and Soul, a three-year initiative to promote healthy weight among men and women of childbearing age through church-sponsored exercise and nutrition groups.

Vitagrant settlement to promote breastfeedingBody and Soul receives federal funding Body and Soul promotes healthy weight through church-sponsored exercise and nutrition groups



  • Northeast Florida selected as one of three sites that will test efforts to adapt the Fetal and infant Mortality Review (FIMR) process to identify missed opportunities for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. The project is funded by the CDC, CityMatCH and NFIMR. Partners include the UF Rainbow Center, City of Jacksonville Ryan White program, and the Duval County Health Department.
  • North Florida Health Service Corps established as AmeriCorps site. Coalition provides initial support for five members and continues to benefit from program placements.
  • Consumers recruited through the Azalea Project and other Healthy Start initiatives; participate in Jacksonville’s Blueprint for Prosperity initiative. Infant mortality is recognized as a sentinel problem impacting the community.



  • An increase in infant mortality rates, particularly among non-whites, leads to the formation of the St. John’s County Infant Mortality Task Force. The task force meets monthly to identify causes and develop a plan to address them. Participants include the health department, Flagler Hospital, St. Johns County Mental Health & Social Services, Healthy Families, Mt. Moriah Christian Ministry, local churches and other community groups.
  • Coalition hosts its first regional Advocacy Summit on maternal and child health featuring Sam Bell, Esq. and Melanie Hall. Stakeholders finalized position papers and a strategic plan for the 2007 legislative session.



  • Safe Sleep Partnership organized to increase awareness among parents, educate health care providers and child care centers and other community agencies about strategies to reduce sleep related deaths. Initial implementation efforts include bus ads in Jacksonville and grand rounds by National SIDS expert Fern Houck, MD at Flagler Hospital and Shands Jacksonville.
  • Westside Wildflower Clinic was started in St. Johns County to address preconception care, community education and outreach. Partners included Good Samaritan Health Center and the St. Johns County Health Department. The project was one of five community initiatives funded with one time state support to address CDC recommendations on women’s health prior to pregnancy. Other initiatives were funded through Healthy Start programs in Duval, Clay, Nassau and Baker Counties.
  • Jacksonville/Duval County is one of eight Florida Communities participating in the state’s new Black Infant Health Practice Initiative designed to reduce disparities in birth outcomes. A community team is formed to develop needed interventions as well as state and local policy recommendations.
  • Children’s Home Society becomes a Healthy Start service provider offering education and telephone support to low- to – moderate risk pregnant women. The new program is intended to reduce caseloads among case management staff at the health department, allowing them to increase the intensity and duration of care provided to the highest risk participants.
  • After 15 years of affiliation with the Northeast Florida Regional Council, the Coalition became an independent organization, increasing its operating and budgetary flexibility. The Coalition was co-located and shared staff with the Health Planning Council of NEF until 2012.
  • Boot Camp for New Dads is launched in partnership with Shands Jacksonville.
  • Walk in My Shoes, a poverty and health access stimulation exercise, is held in collaboration with the Coalition for the Uninsured.

Safe Sleep Partnership organizedWestside Wildflower Clinic was started in St. Johns County Walk in My Shoes exercise is held



  • Coalition is founding member of new Northeast Florida Breastfeeding Collaborative. Group aims to work with local hospitals to achieve Baby Friendly Hospital designation.
  • Healthy Start Dash Board created to track service delivery.



  • A longitudinal evaluation finds clients served by the Magnolia Project were more likely to have a decrease in low birth weight and infant mortality in subsequent pregnancies and lower rates of recurrent STDs compared to women who did not receive project services. Funded by the CDC, the Institute for Health, Policy and Evaluation Research (IPHER) at the Duval County Health Department conducted the study which was published in the Journal of Maternal & Child Health.
  • Make a Noise! Make a Difference! education and awareness campaign designed and implemented in response to recommendations of the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. (JCCI) study of infant mortality. Funded by the P1 Class of the Community Foundation, a group of young philanthropists, the initiative successfully raises awareness about infant mortality and its impact on the black community.
  • New Service Delivery Plan developed using a life course approach. Plan is recognized nationally for integrating social determinants into needs assessment and strategy development.
  • Coalition partners with New Town Success Zone Early Childhood Subcommittee and Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women to implement PhotoVoice. The initiative helped local women with young children expand or acquire photography skills and use them to document assets and challenges in the neighborhood. Participants successfully advocated for positive changes in their neighborhood.

Make a Noise! Make a Difference! campaign with Tanya Lewis Lee Make a Noise! Make a Difference! campaign with Tanya Lewis LeeMake a Noise! Make a Difference! campaign with Fleda Mask Jackson Coalition implements PhotoVoice 



  • March of Dimes funds the Camellia Project, a three-year initiative to provide education and support to women who have had a baby hospitalized in the NICU. Project partners include Shands Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
  • A new infant mortality task force is established in Baker County to address high rates of infant death.
  • Magnolia Project celebrates its 10th anniversary!
  • A regional Teen Pregnancy Task Force is organized to identify ways to reduce early childbearing, a risk factor for infant mortality. Activities include a Teen Listening Tour to gather information from adolescents themselves. The task force report lays the groundwork for multiple initiatives and positions the Coalition to receive federal teen pregnancy prevention funding in 2012.
  • Chartrand Foundation provides challenge grant to continue social marketing campaign. The Coalition organizes Rounds at the Grounds as an annual fund-raiser to support ongoing community education and awareness activities, including the Make a Noise! peer educator program and the new leadership academy. Jacksonville Jaguar Eugene Monroe signs on as Healthy Start ambassador.
  • Coalition hosts first Feed the Children distribution in Jacksonville. Food and household items are distributed to nearly 400 families. Additional Feed the Children events were held in Duval, Baker and St. Johns County in 2012. A fourth distribution event is planned for Clay and Nassau Counties in 2013. Feed the Children has contributed nearly $400,000 in goods and services to the Coalition through this program which aims to address food insecurity in vulnerable communities.
  • Coalition jumps into social media with re-designed website and Belly Buttons, a Facebook Page for consumers. You can find us now on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. The website re-design was supported by a grant from the Chartrand Foundation.

March of Dimes funds the Camellia ProjectRegional Teen Pregnancy Task Force organized Regional Teen Pregnancy Task Force organized   Rounds at the Grounds annual fund-raiserCoalition hosts first Feed the Children distribution in Jacksonville Safe Sleep Gingerbread



  • The Coalition partners with the Duval County Health Department to sponsor Undoing Racism, a CDC funded initiative implemented by the Genesee County Health Department in Flint, Michigan and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. The workshop tackles institutional racism and its impact on health disparities.
  • The 4 ME Teen Health Project is piloted by the Coalition in two public housing communities in response to recommendations from the Teen Pregnancy Task Force. Funding is provided by the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida. The program includes workshops for teens, a teen leadership council and parent workshops.
  • The Make a Difference! Leadership Academy is started with an initial class of 18 community residents and program participants. The initiative is designed to build community capacity for addressing health and other disparities by supporting grassroots community leadership. An additional 13 participants graduated in the second series.
  • More than 50 students from Edward Waters College, UNF, Chamberlain College of Nursing and JobCorps were trained as Preconception Peer Educators as part of the federal Office of Minority Health’s “A Healthy Baby Begins With You” campaign, which began in 2007. The purpose of the program is to enlist college students as peer educators not only on college campuses but also in the community at large, to help disseminate essential preconception health messages. A follow-up workshop with community organizations was held in 2012 and resulted in the formation of the Infant Mortality Alliance comprised of PPEs from colleges and other program throughout Jacksonville.

Coalition sponsors Undoing RacismCoalition sponsors Undoing RacismThe 4 ME Teen Health Project is piloted by the Coalition More than 50 students trained as Preconception Peer Educators  Kingsley Tour leadership acdemy Tonya Lewis Lee with Barbers for Babies  



  • Jacksonville is one of five sites funded by the state under the new federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. The Duval County Health Department and Shands Jacksonville team up to implement the Nurse-Family Partnership program, an evidence-based initiative for low-income first time mothers in New Town and the surrounding area, Arlington and the Westside.
  • The Coalition is one of seven sites in Florida funded for a three-year federal teen pregnancy prevention initiation, Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). The new project expands the 4ME Teen Health pilot to additional sites in Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties. An innovative text messaging service, BrdsnBz, is established as a resource for teens in the region. Partners include the Jacksonville Housing Authority, Boys & Girls Clubs of NEF, the Bridge, JASMYN, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission and the Nassau County Health Department.

Innovative text messaging service, BrdsnBz, established as a resource for teens