Rev. Tommy Rodgers is a long-time member and former chair of the Healthy Start Coalition Board of Directors. He is currently pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church. He shares his role in preventing infant mortality:
Rev. Tommy Rodgers knows firsthand the importance of making sure every baby has a healthy start.
“My youngest, Kelsey, was born 2lbs, 14 oz. Because we are blessed to have her, it is a blessing to help someone else.”
Rev. Rodgers, a lifelong Northeast Florida resident, has made an impact through his service on the Coalition Board — including a year as Board Chair in 2008. He also participated in the the JCCI Infant Mortality study that same year, and chaired the implementation committee that oversaw the establishment of many of the strategies.
“To see babies living viable lives as a result of good health makes all of our efforts worthwhile. To know one more child is alive because we served makes a difference.”
Nangy Davidson, BSN is a member of the Coalition member. She represents Flagler Hospital in St. Johns County. She shares her role in preventing infant mortality:
“I am a mother, an aunt, a Godmother and friend to many beautiful children. Their safety and well-being is of great importance to me. I am also blessed to work in a profession dedicated to caring for families, beginning at birth and extending into early adulthood.
In my experience, Coalition continues to be a tremendous resource for helping us achieve our personal/professional mission. Raising awareness of Infant mortality is an example of the work being done to help protect our vulnerable children.”
Nangy is the Nursing Director of Maternal Child Services at Flagler. She is a member of the St. Johns Infant Mortality Task Force, a local effort to reduce infant mortality rates and improve birth outcomes. Through the Task Force, she has been instrumental in providing education to women and families in the community and supported many efforts to bring resources and services.
We partnered with the task force and coalition to educate our community on the importance of safe sleep, back to sleep, infant CPR and healthy lifestyles. These efforts play a role in the significant decrease in infant mortality in our county over the last couple of years.
Everyone in a family plays a role in preventing infant mortality.
Fathers play an important role in a family. Unmarried mothers are less likely to obtain prenatal care & more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Studies show that children with early father involvement are more likely to be and stay healthy. Raising a child is a challenge. A father can provide for & protect their children.
Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is a major factor contributing to low birth weight and other poor outcomes. Once the baby is born, second-hand smoke can harm the baby just as it harms an adult. Third-hand Smoke (the residue from second-hand smoke) is tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished. In other words, it is the tobacco toxins that build up third-hand smoke residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.
Women are more likely to breastfeed if they have support from friends, which includes husbands or boyfriends, mothers, grandmothers or any other close relatives. In addition to benefits for mothers and babies, fathers, partners, and other people in a mother’s support system can benefit from breastfeeding, too. There are no bottles to prepare, but many people feel warmth, love and relaxation from sitting next to a mother and baby during breastfeeding.
Making sure your family is healthy is important for future generations. Teenage mothers and their babies are consistently linked with poor health and socioeconomic outcomes. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to be born premature and have low birth weight. These mothers are least likely of all maternal age groups to receive prenatal care, at a higher risk for pregnancy complications, are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to live in poverty. It’s important for parents to talk to their teenagers about living healthy lifestyles and protecting themselves from STDs, HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy.
A training on “Bullying Prevention for Young People” is available for adolescent-serving agencies on September 24 from 9 am-12 pm at the Jacksonville Children’s Commission.
Space is limited. Register here.
The three-hour training is for parents, teachers, facilitators, case managers, mentors and others who work with teens in youth development programs. The workshop will feature a presentation on 15+: Make Time to Listen; Take Time to Talk that promotes positive youth development and helps to prevent youth and school-based violence. The presenter will be Kelvin Lewis, Director of Programs from Mental Health America of Northeast Florida.
This program is supported in part by the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition with funding from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau under the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) (Grant No. 90AK0011-01-00). The training will be conducted by the JCC in conjunction with the Healthy Start Coalition and Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network (JASMYN).
Denise Mills was scared when she found out she was pregnant with her first child, so she enrolled in the Nurse Family Partnership program to help her prepare for motherhood. Now, the proud mom of two-year-old energetic Calvin, she credits the program with not only providing her with good parenting skills, but helping her become a better woman.
Denise, 28, enrolled into the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), a program for first-time moms in Duval County, in February 2012. As part of the program, a specially-trained nurse visits with the mom in the home until their child is two. The Nurse Family Partnership is a national, evidence-based program proven to reduce low birth weight babies, infant mortality and maternal mortality. There are currently 100 women enrolled in the program and out of the women enrolled in the program since 2012 there have been no infant deaths.
Denise feels that NFP helped her to be calm and realize that she was on the right track. NFP has taught her how and what she should do to help her son develop into a smart and happy individual. Denise also feels that NFP is not only a program but is considered a part of her life.
Denise is in a very good relationship with her son’s father and they are engaged to be married. Denise is a huge supporter of breastfeeding — she breastfed her son Calvin for a full year and encourages her friends to breastfeed. She is one of our Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition stars, we are so proud of her. Denise and Calvin were a part of our first graduating NFP Class.
The Nurse Family Partnership is administered by the Coalition, with services provided by the Florida Department of Health — Duval County and UF Health Jacksonville. It is funded through the Florida Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.