Coalition receives breastfeeding grant to improve duration rates in Nurse-Family Partnership program

Nov 24, 2014  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

shutterstock_166780799bwThe Healthy Start Coalition was awarded a grant to improve breastfeeding initiation and duration rates within the Jacksonville Nurse-Family Partnership program by implementing strategies identified through a Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN).

The initiative is funded through the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ “Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding through Peer and Professional Support Project” and will be implemented at the Florida Department of Health — Duval County and UF Health Jacksonville/Shands.

While breastfeeding initiation rates are high in the region and program, duration rates decrease sharply at six months. Racial disparities also persist within the community and the project, putting black babies at higher risk of never being breastfed and increasing the likelihood that they will not achieve the desired six-month duration of breastfeeding.

Through the HV CoIIN strategies, the multi-agency Nurse Family Partnership team will implement peer support groups, professional consultation and increased accessibility to breast pumps, pumping stations and breastfeeding supplies to increase both initiation and duration rates among program participants, with a particular focus on first-time African American and teen mothers.

Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions releases 2015-16 legislative priorities

  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions (FAHSC) is focusing on premature births/low birth weight babies and minority health disparities for the 2015-16 legislative session. The need and requests for these areas are outlined in the 2015-2016 legislative priorities handout.

Florida received a “D” grade on the annual March of Dimes Prematurity Report Card for the high percentage of premature births, which often lead to infant mortality, high medical care costs and lifelong health issues for babies that survive. FAHSC, the statewide network for the local Healthy Start Coalitions, is requesting $5 million in recurring funds for the Healthy Start program, which would provide services for 14,124 additional pregnant women and infants and include the expansion of successful evidence-based interventions and data tracking system.

Black babies in Florida are more than twice as likely to die as white babies. The disparity gap has been consistent as infant mortality as dropped overall. FAHSC identifies the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review as a prevention model in need of expansion. Currently, 11 of 33 Coalitions have funded FIMR projects; FAHSC is requesting $1.2 million to add 11 additional FIMR projectsa nd adequately fund the existing project.

Nominations for Dorothy Wilson Mabry Award

  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2015 Dorothy Wilson Mabry Award in Recognition of Outstanding Accomplishments by a Healthy Start Participant or Grass-Roots Community Leader.

Nominees must be from Northeast Florida. Submit the nomination form to Jennifer Gornto by January 6, 2015.

The award honors the legacy of Dorothy Wilson Mabry, a community volunteer and advocate, who devoted her life to supporting the empowerment and achievement of young women and vulnerable families. The Wilson Family provided a generous donation in honor of their mother which supports a stipend for the award recipient.

Previous recipients include Johnnie Dwayne Upson, a leader in the local Barbers for Babies program, and Magnolia Project participant Isadora Howell.

Seeking nominations for new Board, Coalition volunteers

Nov 21, 2014  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

The Healthy Start Coalition is seeking nominations for the Board of Directors and Coalition membership. Potential volunteers should have an interest in maternal and child health.

Please submit Nomination Forms to Coalition Executive Director Jennifer Gornto by January 5, 2015.

Board member responsibilities include attending all board and committee meetings and functions, such as special events, and being informed about the organization’s mission, services, policies and programs. The Board meets on the third Thursday of the month on a monthly basis, except when there are Coalition meetings. The full Coalition membership meets quarterly (January, April, June and October).

The Board and Coalition ensure organizational planning, goal setting and statutory mandates; manage the organization’s resources; promote the organization’s image; and assess and measure organizational performance, among other responsibilities.

Website tracks child fatalities in Florida, focuses on prevention

Nov 10, 2014  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

Unsafe sleep, drowning, substance exposure – hundreds of children die each year in Florida from preventable causes. In response to the number of reported deaths that come into the Department of Children and Families Florida Abuse hotline, the agency launched the Child Fatality Prevention website to raise public awareness about child fatalities and assist communities with identifying trends and solutions.

The site includes statewide data and local data and prevention information. Nearly 450 child fatalities were reported to the Florida Abuse hotline in 2013. While the site is a resource for data, it includes the reminder that each statistic represents a child taken too soon.

According to the site, in Northeast Florida, there were approximately 113 deaths of infants under age one from 2009-2014 that were investigated. Of those deaths, 47 were sleep-related due to unsafe sleep surfaces or a diagnosis of SIDS/SUIDs. At least a dozen additional deaths were attributed to other causes but included unsafe sleep conditions.

Child fatalities

The majority of the unsafe sleep and SIDS/SUIDs deaths included co-sleeping/bedsharing on a bed or couch. Many of the infants were also placed on their stomach or side – not on their back, which is the safest position according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Read the AAP’s full recommendations for safe sleep here.

Project IMPACT, the Coalition’s annual report on birth outcomes, infant mortality and the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review results, identified sleep-related deaths as a major area of concern. The annual Project IMPACT recommendations included providing education focused on babies sleeping alone on a safe sleep surface.

Parental substance abuse – both during pregnancy and after the child’s birth – impacted the lives of many babies. Several premature infants in Clay and Duval counties that died after hospital discharge were born substance-exposed after use of drugs by the mother during pregnancy. Several additional cases in those counties were attributed to parental substance misuse after birth.

Across the state, the majority of deaths occurred in children under one year of age. Sleep-related deaths — due to unsafe sleep or a diagnosis of SIDS/SUIDs — were the most common cause, followed by drowning.

The Child Fatality Prevention site includes critical information on keeping kids safe in a variety of situations: