Breastfeeding: Get the support you need to continue

Aug 8, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 9.45.48 AMAs World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2017 comes to an end, the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition supports the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other organizations that babies should be breastfed exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding for the first year of life and beyond.

World Breastfeeding Week is organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. The WBW 2017 theme was Sustaining Breastfeeding Together. While breastfeeding can sometimes be a challenge, mothers can be successful with support and encouragement. Coalition Breastfeeding Outreach Coordinator Denise Mills, provides breastfeeding classes in the community and encourages mothers to set goals each month and try to reach them. The next month they should set new goals and grow from there.IMG_2152

Both baby and mother gain many benefits from breast feeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Breastmilk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. A baby’s risk of becoming an overweight child declines with each month of breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed may have lower rates of ovarian cancer and certain types of breast cancer. It also allows mother more time to bond with baby.

Mothers may experience latch issues, engorgement or concerns about your milk output concerns. Mothers can find support and resources at their delivering hospital, their local WIC office, the La Leche League — Northeast Florida, the National Breastfeeding Helpline at 1.800.994.9662 and online resources like and For mothers living in Northeast Florida, the Coalition hosts weekly community breastfeeding support groups at several locations throughout Jacksonville:

  • Tuesdays from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm at the Azalea Project
  • Wednesdays at UF Health from 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm

Denise Mills can be reached at or 904.723.5422 x 127

Fatherhood PRIDE: Keeping dad in the game for success

Aug 2, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

Fathers play a pivotal part in a child’s development. New evidence shows that children with early father involvement are more likely to be and stay healthy. The Coalition’s Fatherhood PRIDE program works to keep fathers in Northeast Florida engaged, present and accounted for so their children survive and thrive.iStock_000016287227Large

An active male role in the early stages of babies’ development produced better performance in cognitive test by the age of two according to a new study by research teams from Oxford University, King’s College and College London. Dads have a more stimulating and rigorous style of encouragement, which in return leads to a child exploring more on their own and in return could lead to quicker cognitive development.

There has been a proven positive link between involved fathers and higher test scores, whether the child was a boy or girl, according to the study. The Fatherhood PRIDE program works to get fathers involved with their children during pregnancy. The program offers a Boot Camp for New Dads course that prepares new fathers to take care of a baby. Dads-to-be learn from dads who have successfully Love you, Dadtransitioned into fatherhood. Other courses offered include 24/7 Dad, Inside Out Dad and Mom as Gateway. Fatherhood PRIDE also works with dads to help them find employment, further their education, understand how to manage their finances and much more.

The role that a father plays in their children’s lives is important. If you know a father that could benefit from Fatherhood PRIDE services, please fill out the referral form and enroll today. Fathers can also refer themselves by completing this form.

Magnolia Project hosts federal Healthy Start regional meeting

Aug 1, 2017  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

IMG_0308The Magnolia Project hosted the Georgia and Florida federal Healthy Start grantees at a two-day regional meeting July 24th-25th, which provided an opportunity for the regional grantees to come together for strategizing, skill building and information sharing that will enhance their programs.

The meeting was organized by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services (DHSPS). Topics covered include Healthy Start priorities; coordinated intake and referral in Florida; sustainability planning; strengthening evaluations; quality improvement; prescription drug use during pregnancy and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome; and other relevant topics.

IMG_0284Grantees left the meeting with updates and reviews of the Healthy Start standardized screening tools, national evaluation information and other important division updates like ongoing activities and new initiatives.

Magnolia, an initiative of the Coalition and federal Healthy Start initiative since 1999, works to improve the health and well-being of women during their childbearing years by empowering communities to address medical, behavioral, and cultural and social service needs.

Open Position: Azalea Project Prevention Director

Jul 31, 2017  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition is accepting applications for a Prevention Director with the Azalea Project.

The prevention director is responsible for the planning, coordination, implementation and evaluation of Azalea Project primary prevention education activities targeting community health consumers and healthcare providers in five counties in Northeast Florida (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns) to reduce the number of babies born exposed to prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl and other substances. Click here for the full job description.

Resumes and cover letters should be e-mailed to

Coalition holds safe sleep training for community partners

Jul 28, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

20170726_091129The Coalition hosted a safe sleep training for home visitors and health care professionals to explore causes of sleep-related deaths on July 26. The training included a presentation by Dr. Emmanuel Peña, UF College of Medicine Jacksonville Assistant Professor & Child Abuse Pediatrician.

One hundred attendees from the Coalition, Jewish Family and Community Services, Children’s Home Society, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, Family Support Services of North Florida, THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health and Baptist Health attended the training.

The presentation delved into the history of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUIDs) and how unsafe sleep practices are causing babies to die. Dr. Peña also discussed the importance of applying safe sleep recommendations to individual family situations and the need for changes in the SUID death scene investigations and autopsies.

The training ended with a Q&A where the participants were able to ask Dr. Emmanuel Peña specific questions pertaining to situations that they have experienced.