National Women’s Health Week Kick-off

May 9, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

The Magnolia Project kicked off National Women’s Health Week on Monday, May 9th with a vendor fair and fun activities for the community.  River City Live stopped by and talked to staff and vendors — watch the video here!

National Women’s Health Week is observed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services each May, kicking off on Mother’s Day and focusing on helping women understand what steps they can take to improve their health. The 2016 observance is the 17th annual year.

For a full listing of activities, visit

Mother’s Day 2016: Tips for new moms

May 6, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

Sherry & EliHappy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Last year, three of our expecting staff members shared their tips for a healthy pregnancy. This year, National Health Corps Florida Program Coordinator and new mom Sherry Nelson shares her top five tips for new moms:

My 5 tips for new moms.

  1. Be kind to yourself. I’ve had to learn to not be so hard on myself and realize not everything can get done in one day. Before Elijah (aka Eli), I thought I was superwoman. I worked full time and would cook, clean, and do some laundry ALL the time and go to the gym. Now, I have a baby that needs my undivided attention and thought I was failing because I couldn’t do all of the same things anymore. I’ve learned that it’s okay if I can only cook and do the dishes one night and the laundry the next, or maybe I can’t even get to the laundry until the weekend. Now, I am kind to myself and realize not everything can get done in one night, so I can enjoy more time with my son.
  2. Don’t let people freak you out. Many, many times I’ve had other mothers tell me not to do certain things like don’t feed him this type of food, or don’t put him in that because something bad will happen or make sure he looks at you because if he doesn’t he could be autistic… guess what, not all of it is true. Please don’t let people freak you out! Please speak to your pediatrician if you have any questions about your baby because they are up to date with credible information.
  3. Elijah_mothers day blogSchedule time for yourself. Sometimes, after you have a baby you feel like your body isn’t your own anymore and you constantly have to take care of someone else while being downright exhausted. Don’t get me wrong — I love my baby unconditionally — but I need ME time to stay sane. So, I make sure to schedule time to get my nails done to have some peace and quiet. Heck, I even may even catch up on some Zs while I’m getting a pedicure haha!
  4. Join a breastfeeding support group. I never realized how hard breastfeeding was going to be. I’ve only heard a few stories and most of the women had no issues… it wasn’t until after I had Eli that I learned the amount of pain and guilt a woman can go through to breastfeed their child. You turn into a milk machine… and it hurts… but it does get easier! But it was really hard on me. I wish I had joined a support group to help me through those tough times. I actually had a dear friend that had her son exactly 2 months before mine and she was such a blessing! I was able to vent to her about how bad it hurt and how I wanted to just give up and supplement. But she encouraged me to keep going, so I kept trying!
  5. #Babywearing. Use a wrap, ring sling, or carrier for your baby. You want to hold your baby all the time and as much as you wish you could, there are things to get done. A wrap or a sling keeps your baby close while you can do your chores like preparing dinner or cleaning your house. You can even breastfeed in some!! Plus they are really cute! There is a Facebook group I joined called First Coast Babywearing group which talks about the many types and pros and cons of each. You can even borrow someone’s to see if you like it before purchasing one because they aren’t cheap (when you borrow one, you can make sure it’s from a smoke free home).

Coalition sets 2016-17 priorities

Apr 21, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

2015 annual report collageEach year, the Coalition adopts an annual action plan to guide activities and focus efforts and resources on areas that have the biggest impact on infant mortality and birth outcomes. The Coalition membership adopted the 2016-17 action plan during its April meeting.

The 2009-2015 Service Delivery Plan that currently directs efforts and subsequent Annual Action Plans follows the life course — from infancy through childhood and adolescence and preconception health to pregnancy and childbirth. The Coalition will be developing an updated service delivery plan this year.

The full presentation on the action plan update is available here.

Infancy: Efforts are focused around infant mortality, health disparities, low birth weight and post neonatal deaths. Additions include:

  • Implement a coordinated intake and referral system using the Healthy Start prenatal screen
  • Conduct training with hospital staff and OB/GYN providers that administer the Healthy Start screen
  • Conduct a Safe Sleep survey to identify reasons parents cosleep/bedshare

Childhood & Adolescence: Efforts are focused around childhood obesity, teen STI/HIV rates and repeat births to teens. Additions include:

  • Continued implementation of the BrdsNBz NE Florida text message warmline
  • Increase awareness of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)

Preconception: Efforts are focused on multivitamin use, smoking cessation, STI/HIV rates, obesity and interconceptional intervals. Additions include:

  • Implement primary case services at the Magnolia Project and incorporate yoga, weight loss and nutrition

Pregnancy & Childbirth: Efforts are focused on early prenatal care, tobacco use, maternal mortality, single motherhood and infant mortality. Additions include:

  • Continue the Substance Abuse Task Force and implement strategies to reduce substance-exposed newborns

March for Babies 2016

Apr 8, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

IMG_5098Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. Join the Healthy Start Coalition team as we walk in the 2016 First Coast March for Babies for stronger, healthier babies.

The three-mile walk will be held on April 23, 2016 at 9 am at Everbank Field in Downtown Jacksonville.

Visit our team page to sign up to walk with us or donate!

The March of Dimes has supported many of the Coalition’s community-based programs including the Baby Sleep Practices Survey, Camellia project and the statewide 39 Weeks initiative.

National Public Health Week: Jaci Murphy, Magnolia Project Clinic Nurse Supervisor

  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

3535. NPHW webIn honor of National Public Health Week, please join us in celebrating all of our wonderful partners who work every day to improve our communities! The theme of NPHW this year is to become the Healthiest Nation in One Generation — by year 2030. 

Jaci Murphy, BSN, RN, is a Senior Community Health Nurse Supervisor for the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, working at the Magnolia Project, a federal Healthy Start program and initiative of the Coalition. She shares in this guest post the role her organization plays in building a healthy community in Northeast Florida!

Nursing and Yoga – A successful pairing!

Jaci MurphyMy role as a public health nurse is to be an educator and offer information and counseling to communities and populations that encourage positive health behaviors. I am tasked with improving the health of patients through evidence-based recommendations while encouraging individuals to receive preventative services. Through public health nursing, I can inspire a larger group of people to engage in healthy lifestyles and ultimately live longer lives. At the Magnolia Project, I have the opportunity to lay a foundation for the participants to achieve health through patient education, advocacy and individualized treatment.

Yoga in the StreetI provide public health nursing through my involvement with Yoga in the Streets. The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and the Magnolia staff regularly discussed how to create a space for Magnolia participants to explore the benefits of yoga.  Much literature is written about how yoga can improve mindfulness, self-confidence, self-esteem and physical health.  The Magnolia Project participants often combat an overwhelming amount of social and financial factors (social determinants of health) that contributes to a rampant level of toxic stress.  Yoga in the Streets’ objective is to help individuals that are living in chronic stressful environments find a peaceful place within so the benefits of yoga can help reverse the physical and emotional damage created by toxic stress.  As a nurse, I assess each participant, take their blood pressure before and after yoga and educate the participant on their blood pressure readings by promoting regular activity to combat high blood pressure and other diseases such as stroke and diabetes.

Yoga has a negative stereotype among many intercity residents, so the Magnolia staff sought out to minimize obstacles and wanted to create a level of curiosity that community members would be intrigued to try it, hence Yoga in the Streets.  Yoga is brought to the community participants in parks, basketball courts, community rooms within apartment complexes and within the clinic. By taking away the building and the cost, we could minimize the stereotype and build intrigue by holding classes in the open…come as you are.

Yoga in the Street participantThe Magnolia Project won the Blue Ribbon Award for Yoga in the Streets at the First 1000 Days Florida Summit held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Overall: 90.8% left class with positive emotions, 60% decrease in systolic pressure, 50.7% decrease in diastolic pressure and on average the systolic decreased by 3.65 mmHg and the diastolic decreased by 1.57 mmHg.

Working for the Department of Health in Duval County, at the Magnolia Project, has provided me the opportunity to provide much needed public health services to the clients in our community.