Preconception Health trainings equip local providers to address health prior to pregnancy

May 28, 2015  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

The Magnolia Project hosted the National Preconception Health Care Initiative: Improving Preconception Health, Every Woman, Every Time on May 20th. Clinical staff, insurance providers and organizations were trained on the Preconception Health Toolkit and Show Your Love. The National Preconception Health Care Initiative was designed to help primary care providers, their colleagues and their practices incorporate preconception health into routine care of women childbearing age.

Dr. Dan J. Frayne, MD Co-Chair, Clinical Working Group Preconception Health Care Initiative facilitated the training along with Sarah Verbiest, DrPH Executive Director UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health. Overall a total of 38 providers, clinical staff, insurance and agency staff were trained during the May 20th event and a December 2014 workshop.

New crop of Make a Difference! Leadership Academy leaders graduates

  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

Nine new community leaders graduated from the the Spring 2015 Make a Difference! Leadership Academy on May 13, 2015. The Leadership Academy is a 16-week “Grassroots” course design for community residents. Coalition Board of Directors member Rev. Tom Rodgers was the speaker and gave a spirited speech to encourage the graduates to make a difference in their community.

The graduates were required during the 16 weeks to select a topic and develop a Community Action Plan to be implemented to address the social determinants of health in the community. They selected Intimate Partner Violence as their Community Action Plan to focus on for the next 12 to 18 months.

Three Jacksonville zip codes see significant rise in infant mortality

May 27, 2015  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

The landscape of infant deaths in Duval County has altered over the last few years, with rates improving in historically high areas of the city like Health Zone 1 and rising in three new zip codes: 32210, 32211 and 32218. Premature birth is the leading cause of death in all three zip codes.  (Note:  2014 data is still provisional and is subject to change.) ChartMore than a quarter (26 percent) of the 143 infant deaths in Northeast Florida in 2014 were in these zip codes. A recent analysis by the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review Case Review Team found that black babies were more likely to die and prematurity, particularly very premature birth, was the cause in two-thirds of all cases. Sleep-related deaths, which have increased in the region over the last few years, accounted for twenty percent of the deaths.

FIMR reviews specific cases and looks at the overall infant deaths in the region to identify gaps in services and make recommendations to improve birth outcomes each October at the annual FIMR Community Meeting. The Community Action Team then implements and develops street-level outreach activities to educate families based on the recommendations.


  • Location: The westside of Jacksonville, between Normandy and 103rd Street.
  • Situation: The infant death rate has doubled (from 8 deaths to 16) from 2012 to 2014.
  • Cause: 75 percent due to prematurity. Two-thirds of the prematurity deaths were babies born before 26 weeks.
  • Deaths by race: 63 percent black, 25 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic.


  • Location:  The northwest sector of the city, north of the Trout River
  • Situation:  the infant death rate has increased by 50 percent from 8 to 12 from 2012 to 2014.
  • Cause: 67 percent due to prematurity. Three-quarters of the prematurity deaths were babies born before 26 weeks
  • Deaths by race: 75 percent black, 17 percent white, 8 percent Asian


  • Location: the Arlington area between Merrill, Southside, Atlantic and the St. Johns River
  • Situation: An increase from 7 to 9 deaths since 2012.
  • Cause: 55 percent due to prematurity, all deaths were babies born before 26 weeks
  • Deaths by race: 33 percent black, 11 percent Haitian, 22 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic.

Babies born premature — before they are fully developed, usually prior to 37 weeks — are at a higher risk for both death and lifelong complications. Complications from prematurity include respiratory issues, intestinal issues, vision loss, jaundice, anemia, brain hemorrhage and serious, deadly infections. A mother’s health prior to and during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of preterm birth:

  • shutterstock_124143796Get early and consistent prenatal care. Even if you’ve had a baby before, your doctor can identify any issues that may impact your pregnancy.
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking & drugs, which can negatively impact your health and the health of your baby.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Eat plenty of fruits & vegetables.
  • Control any health conditions that you may have, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Space your pregnancies 18-24 months apart to allow yourself time to physically and emotionally recover.

Sleep-related deaths, which accounted for one-fifth of the deaths in the three zip codes and nearly the same throughout the region, can be largely reduced through safe sleep practices. Babies are safest alone, on their backs and in a crib.

Community joins conversation on adolescent sexual health

May 22, 2015  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

IMG_5636From providing youth life skills and cultural development to working with young men to sex education in the schools, more than 30 community members shared ideas and had an open discussion on how to prevent teen pregnancy and improve adolescent health.

The NEFL Teen Pregnancy Task Force hosted “Undercurrents: A conversation on Adolescent Sexual Health” on May 18. The event was organized by the Task Force’s Public Policy Committee and brought together a diverse group of community members and partners to learn how to leverage the work that’s already been done to build a brighter, healthier future for youth.

The Task Force, a collaboration of community organizations and systems, has been working to improve teen health outcomes since 2010. After reconvening follow a several-year hiatus, the group recently released the May 2015 update to “Preventing Teen Pregnancy in Northeast Florida: A plan for community action” which includes additional strategies to fill gaps in services and address specific at-risk groups.

Using an interactive ice breaker, participants provided what they thought was the most important thing that could be done to impact teen pregnancy. Three main themes emerged among the ideas: male responsibility, access to sex education and life skills development.

Apryl Shackelford, the 2013 Duval County Teacher of the Year and a Coalition member, shared her personal story of triumph over multiple teen pregnancies and dropping out of school before participants broke up into the three groups based on their interest. Each sub-group brainstormed ideas on what to implement, what the barriers may be, why the themes were important and more and then presented their results to the entire group.

The input from the event will guide the Task Force as it develops its next steps, particularly around public policy.

Healthy Start nurses recognized as Great 100 Nurses of Northeast Florida 2015

May 15, 2015  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

DOH NursesCongratulations to two Healthy Start nurses from the Florida Department of Health — Duval County for their recognition at the Great 100 Nurses of Northeast Florida 2015 Celebration on May 2! Susan Sellers, Registered Nurse Supervisor (pictured left), received the Role Model award and Brenda Ross, Senior Community Health Nurse (pictured right), received the Community Nursing award. This event celebrated the area’s great 100 nurses who excel in providing nursing care and improve the overall health and quality of others’ lives.