Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition
The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, Inc. was organized in 1991 as part of a statewide network of community-based organizations to reduce Florida’s high infant mortality and improve the lives of pregnant women and their families. The group is governed by a volunteer board which allocates state funding and provides oversight to local agencies that deliver services to pregnant women and families of newborns. The Coalition covers Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.
The Coalition is comprised of more than 40 members representing consumers, physicians, local government, business, health care payors, social services, education, civic organizations, public health, nurses, local medical societies, mental health, hospitals, local health planning agencies and midwifery in the five-county area. A 21-member governing board directs Coalition efforts. Standing committees conduct the organization’s activities.
One of 32 community-based maternal and child health groups in the state, the Coalition is supported by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the Florida Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, donations, grants and other funding sources. In 2014-2015, the Coalition has a total budget of approximately $9.6 million. More than 90 percent of this funding is used to provide direct services to at-risk pregnant women, new mothers, infants, fathers and families through contracts with community providers, MomCare, the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Project, the Azalea Project, the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, Healthy Families Jacksonville and the Magnolia Project, a federal Healthy Start initiative to reduce disparities in birth outcomes. Remaining resources support planning, administration and community-based initiatives around priority topics like safe sleep, adolescent reproductive health, breastfeeding and substance-exposed newborns.
The Healthy Start Coalition leads a cooperative community effort to reduce infant mortality and improve the health of children, childbearing women and their families in Northeast Florida.
In Northeast Florida, too many babies die from preventable causes and lack of health services. Through the cooperation of elected officials, local churches, business leaders and members of the community, infant mortality, racial and social disparities are substantially reduced by programs that address and support the entire family. The Healthy Start Coalition is a recognized model and catalyst for community involvement, collaboration and innovative services governed by a diverse and active membership. Sustainable financial and in-kind resources are developed to support the Coalition mission.
Every baby deserves the best possible start in life and should be raised by a healthy family in a caring, prosperous community.