The 2016-2017 National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps members
In Northeast Florida, 23 National Health Corps (NHC) Florida AmeriCorps Program members are placed each year at non-profits and government sites across the region to help meet critical health needs of children, families, pregnant women and other at risk segments of the population. The members in the Northeast Florida region will focus their services on maternal child health (MCH), smoking cessation and
The mission of the NHC Florida, an initiative of the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, is to foster healthy communities by delivering and connecting those who need it most with health and wellness education, benefits and services, while developing tomorrow’s compassionate health leaders. The NCH Florida is one of four NHC sites funded by the Health Federation of Philadelphia.
Maternal Child Health
There are four MCH members that serve at the Florida Department of Health Nassau County, the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and UF Health Jacksonville. The key components of their roles includes community outreach and education, interconceptional services, Healthy Start care coordination, provider/community outreach, tracking results and initial contact with clients. The members who serve with UF Health Jacksonville also assist with administering pregnancy tests, as well as provide health education on topics like childbirth and breastfeeding with Healthy Start clients.
The members whose services are directed towards smoking cessation are hosted at Baptist Health, the Florida Department of Health Baker County and Tobacco Free Florida (TFF). Their services focus on tobacco prevention courses, educational courses on the dangers of tobacco use, youth development and
overall healthy lifestyle choices. TFF plays a major role in the prevention of tobacco use throughout the entire state of Florida. The member wo serves with TFF Duval spends eighty percent of their service hours working with Duval County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT).
There are two members who focus on nutrition in the Northeast Florida region. They are hosted by the YMCA of Duval County and the YMCA of Clay County. The members conduct pre- and post- fitness evaluations of y
outh participating in physical and nutrition classes. The members also research and develop a 13-week plan of healthy eating and physical lessons for use in the YMCA day camp settings. The plan is distributed to all YMCA Summer Camps in the Duval and Clay County regions to be used during winter, summer and spring break.
The Coalition continues to provide public health professionals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in their desired fields of work through the NCH Florida. With recent additional funding for the next three years, tomorrow’s public health leaders are assured to have a place to learn in Northeast Florida.
Each year, three residents in the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville, Department of Pediatrics – Division of Community Pediatrics get to experience hands-on training as they take a residency with the Magnolia and Azalea Projects, where they learn about the social determinants of health and community-based preconception and prenatal services, as a part of their Community Rotation.
The goal of the Community Rotation is to increase the pediatric resident’s understanding and exposure to key community health/community pediatrics concepts. This year’s participants included Dr. McLendon, Dr. Munir and Dr. Ward. The residents visited the Magnolia and Azalea Projects to shadow activities, including a group activity at Azalea on substance abuse. At the end of the Community Rotation, the residents are expected to have achieved competencies in life course sciences, child health equity and child advocacy.
The residents rotate on a monthly basis, spending an actual 15 days in the community. During their time, the residents participate in a variety of community activities that are scheduled throughout the year, including the City of Jacksonville’s forum on Crime and Safety and the Northeast Florida Children’s Advocacy Summit.
A priority for the Coalition is training medical and other healthcare professionals on life course factors and social determinants of health like toxic stress, racism and lifelong poverty that leads to poor health outcomes. The residents involved in the Community Rotation become better equipped to serve the community and address the issues that impact people’s lives. This benefits the community because their health issues can be better managed by doctors who understand the root causes of poor health outcomes in the communities the doctors serve.
Sue Combs is the Healthy Start coordinator for the Florida Department of Health Baker County. The task force looks at maternal/infant health issues specific to Baker County.
The Baker County Infant Mortality Task Force meets the second Tuesday of every month at 1:15 p.m. at the Baker County Health Department. At present, this task force consist of community members from Healthy Start, Healthy Families, Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, Hubbard House, First Coast Women’s Services, Baker Prevention Coalition, AmeriCorps, WIC, and Responsible Fatherhood.
The purpose of this meeting is to look at maternal/infant health issues specific to this rural community. Some of the issues that were identified through the Florida Healthy Baby Initiative were lack of male influence in the home, preterm deliveries, tobacco use during pregnancy, late entry prenatal and incomplete prenatal care.
At present, the task force is revising the current action plan to address the topics of interest in the community as related to infant mortality. This revision includes looking at the role community partners can play in outreach and education in the community. The first item on our revision agenda is “father/mother involvement”. Stephanie Bechtel, Healthy Start care coordinator will lead this committee and will collaborate with Khalil Talib of the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative to initiate community engagement through a baby shower for dad’s. The task force will focus on child safety at the next meeting which will be held on October 10, 2016.
Sleep-related deaths continue to occur in Northeast Florida, despite national and local campaigns that educate and empower families to follow safe sleep practices. As a result, the Coalition will relaunch the Northeast Florida Safe Sleep Partnership in October 2016 to bring together local agencies and community members to develop strategies and initiatives.
The Coalition recently surveyed more than 600 parents in the region on why they bedshare. The results were discussed at a community meeting in August, and several key messages and strategies were developed by attendees. These will be incorporated into a safe sleep marketing campaign to be implemented in October 2016 with funding from the March of Dimes Florida Chapter.
The momentum of the survey and community meeting will be continued with quarterly Safe Sleep Partnership meeting that will be begin at a date in late October to be announced soon.
In 2015, 18 percent of all infant deaths in Northeast Florida were sleep-related, up from 16.8 percent in 2014 (according to provisional data from the Florida Department of Health). Statewide, sleep-related deaths accounted for 15.9 percent of infant deaths in Florida in 2014 and 14.8 percent in 2015.
Bedsharing is a leading factor identified in sleep-related deaths — in 2015, bedsharing was found in 58 percent of sleep-related deaths by the medical examiner.
The majority of sleep-related deaths can be prevented by following safe sleep practices like:
Putting baby to sleep alone in his or her own sleep surface (a crib, bassinet or pack and play).
Placing baby to sleep on his or her back.
Avoiding bedsharing and napping with baby on a couch or chair, especially if on pain medication, drugs or alcohol.
Keeping items like stuffed animals, blankets and pillows away from baby while sleeping to avoid suffocation.
Carlotta and Dakota are brand new parents, but they were prepared for the challenge with the help of a friend. Bridgers, their Nurse-Family Partnership nurse home visitor, helped them prepare for the birth of their daughter, the joys of parenthood and their next steps in life.
The Nurse-Family Partnership nurses deliver the support that moms need to have a healthy pregnancy; become knowledgeable and responsible parents; and provide their baby with the best possible start in life.
Learn more about the benefits from Carlotta & Dakota:
Every Baby. Every Day. The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and all of our programs, like the Nurse-Family Partnership, provide women and their families with the support and education they need to make sure every baby has a healthy start.