The Coalition welcomes Terry Lorince as CPO

Jan 9, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

The Coalitionscreen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-14-57-am hired Terry Lorince as its first Chief Programs Officer (CPO).  Terry has more than a decade of non-profit leadership and business experience that will enhance the Coalition’s efforts to provide the best quality program services to the community.

As the CPO, Terry will be responsible for nurturing the improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of the many programs the Coalition offers. Terry looks forward to utilizing her experience to improve the lives of babies and families.

“I am so thankful to be able to work for such a great organization” Terry said. “I’ve spent my career working tirelessly creating partnerships and managing programs and I plan to bring that same energy and dedication to the coalition.”

Before joining the Coalition, Terry spent a successful 30-year career in the field of economic development and downtown management. Terry was the inaugural executive director of Downtown Vision, Inc, a non-profit organization that helped revitalize downtown Jacksonville.

Terry’s experience will broaden the Coalition’s reach into the business community to raise the awareness of Coalition programs and more importantly to make the correlation between the business sector and infant mortality. Her role will include developing partnerships with various businesses to ensure that Healthy Start becomes more recognized for enhancing the health of families in need. Thusly the business partnerships will assist our infant mortality efforts and help to expand the awareness of the social determinants of health outside of our traditional partners.

Terry has been recognized by many organizations for her achievements. In 2012 the Jacksonville Business Journal recognized Ms. Lorince as a Woman of Influence and in 2015 the American Institute of Architects selected her for the Community Service Award for her work on the advancement of architecture, the arts and the environment.

The Coalition is proud to welcome Terry to the team.

Mother/Father of the Month

Jan 3, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  1 comment

Are you or someone you know deserving of the title Mother/Father of the month? We want to hear why! What is it about this mom/dad that makes them a unsung hero? Share the compelling story, and they may be our next Mother/Father of the Month.

It’s tough being a parent, and often times, the many things that parents do go unnoticed. We don’t say “Thank you” enough to parents. To fix that, the Coalition plans to celebrate one mom and one dad per month in 2017.

To be selected as the Mother of the Month (M.O.M) or Father of the Month (F.O.M), you must be nominated, by yourself or someone else, live in one of the five counties served by the Coalition (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau or St. Johns) and have not previously been crowned M.O.M./F.O.M. in the same year.

The M.O.M./F.O.M. will receive a prize, a feature on the Coalition’s website and social media outlets along with bragging rights for 30 days.

Nominations are accepted on an on-going basis.

If you have any questions, please contact Jerail Fennell:

(904) 723-5422 x127

M.O.M/F.O.M Nomination Form

  • 1. Name of Mother/Father you are nominating: 2. Number of Children 3. Address 4. Your Name: 5. Relation to nominee: 6. Is the nominee a participant in a Healthy Start program? Which program?
  • In 500 words or less, tell us why your nomination should be selected.


Meeting them where they are

Dec 28, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  1 comment

The Coalition and Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) have partnered together to offer breastfeeding education and services to four high schools in Duval County.

The partnership allows breastfeeding educators and advocates to encourage young mothers to exclusively breastfeed for six months, and to continue breastfeeding for at least one year. The mothers who participate in the breastfeeding partnership will be educated on the importance of breastfeeding; have access to breastfeeding pumps and a breastfeeding room; and will receive supplies to store their breastmilk safely.breastfeeding

Mesha Demps, the women’s intervention specialist for the Magnolia Project and a facilitator for the breastfeeding partnership, is excited about the opportunity to discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as assist the young mothers.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone involved” Demps said. “This collaboration allows many young mothers, who do not have the time or resources to pump or breastfeed, the opportunity to do so. Young mothers are constantly on the go. They have to go to school and many of them have to go to work after school. This is the perfect opportunity to meet them where they are.”

There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both mom and baby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These benefits include lower Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDS) risk, fewer problems with weight, less risk of cancer and more effective vaccines.

The breastfeeding partnership is set to begin in January 2017 with Mesha covering William M. Raines and A. Phillip Randolph high schools and Denise Mills, the breastfeeding outreach coordinator for the Coalition, covering  Edward H. White and Englewood high schools.

Together we C.A.N. defeat toxic stress

Dec 15, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments


Toxic stress causes long-lasting health problems, especially within the black community. The Magnolia Project’s Community Action Network (C.A.N.) is working to change the lives of the women, babies and families dealing with the effects of toxic stress, one neighborhood at a time in Jacksonville’s urban core.

The C.A.N is a group of 12 community partners whose overall goal is collective impact, which occurs when different organizations join forces to solve specific problems using a common agenda.

The Magnolia Project, a federally-funded Healthy Start initiative that serves to improve the health and well-being of women living in Health Zone 1 during their childbearing years (15-44 years of age), organized the C.A.N. The C.A.N. has aligned their focus on the nullifying the effects of toxic stress and ways of preventing toxic stress in the future. Toxic stress occurs when a child experiences strong and/or frequent prolonged adversity without adequate support. Each federal Healthy Start program is required to have a C.A.N. as part of a national performance measure.

The C.A.N. is currently engaging in conversation regarding the health and social disparities found in Jacksonville’s Health Zone 1, the urban core of the city that is disproportionately impacted by poverty, crime and poor health outcomes. Discussion has also been held on increasing community awareness around the negative effects of toxic stress and the impact it can have on a brain’s development which could in return lead to long-term health and social problems that many residents face.

In November, the C.A.N. partnered with Ability Housing to host a Thanksgiving dinner with the residents of Oakland Terrace Apartments.

“We had dinner with the residents and gave them information about toxic stress,” C.A.N. Coordinator Vanessa Jefferson said. “We don’t want to just go into communities and pass out reading information, we want to educate and motivate, and I think that the dinner was a step in the right direction.”

As a result of the Thanksgiving partnership, the C.A.N. now attends monthly meetings with the residents of Oakland Terrace and other community groups to grow relationships and to discuss strategies and tactics.

The C.A.N. has highlighted five requirements for collective impact:

  1. Common agendas
  2. Shared measurements
  3. Mutually reinforcing activities
  4. Continuous communication
  5. Backbone support

The C.A.N. currently meets on the first Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at the Magnolia office: 5300 N. Pearl Street (Pearl Plaza) Jacksonville, FL 32208

C.A.N. Partners:

Jacksonville Public Library

Molina Healthcare

Hubbard House

Florida Department of Health Duval County

United Healthcare

New Town Success Zone

Ability Housing

Lutheran Services of Florida

The Magnolia Project


Make a Difference! Leadership Academy Fall 2016 class graduates

Nov 21, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  1 comment

img_2323Eight leaders graduated as part of the Fall 2016 cohort of the Make a Difference! Leadership Academy on November 17, the seventh class to finish the grassroots program, an initiative of the Healthy Start Coalition.

The goal of the Leadership Academy is to support the efforts of local residents to make changes in neighborhood factors that contribute to disparities in health and birth outcomes. The Academy trains individuals and assists them in the development of a Community Action Plan that outlines a specific project to move a community to action.

img_2286The graduating class selected a pilot program to assist families with their greatest self-identified challenges. Project 360 will work with at-risk families in the community to identify barriers and then assist those families for six months to help them achieve their goals. The group is currently testing the program with one family for the next six months, then will work to build sustainability so the pilot project can continue.

Melanie Lawson, Morning Show anchor on News 4 Jax and Coalition Board member, gave the keynote speech at the graduation. She encouraged the graduates to reach people on an emotional level to enact change.