2017 March for Babies

Apr 4, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

Every 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 2017 First Coast March for Babies for stronger, healthier babies.IMG_5098

The three-mile walk will be held on May 6 , 2017 at 9 am at Jacksonville University.

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.

Nurse-Family Partnership expansion: Covering more ground and saving more babies

Mar 22, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

The Duval County Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Program is expanding to serve 50 families in Baker and Clay counties through a new grant from the Florida Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative (MIECHV).

The 18-month, $375,000 grant, will equip each county with one nurse who will serve 25 families per year. UF Health Jacksonville and the Florida Department of Health Duval, the direct service providers for NFP in Duval County, will provide the nurses and supervision, along with support, coordination and guidance from the two county health departments.

The Nurse-Family Partnership offers an evidence-based model that addresses a gap in the current continuum of home visiting services by using specially-trained nurses to provide intensive, long-term care education and support to first-time mothers living in high-risk communities.

Baker County is a rural county immediate west of Duval County. According to the County Health Rankings released each year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Baker County ranks as one of the unhealthiest counties in the state.  There are currently no in-county prenatal care providers and no delivering hospitals in Baker County. Baker County also ranks in the top 10 in the state for substance-exposed newborn births according to a 2015 report from the Florida Department of Health.

Clay County, although it fares better than surrounding areas, has pockets of areas with poor birth outcomes and considerable health disparities among the African American and Hispanic populations. Like Baker, Clay County also ranks in the top 10 in the state for substance-exposed newborn births according to a 2015 report from the Florida Department of Health.

Guest Post: Breastfeeding at the Magnolia Project

Jan 24, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

Mesha Demps is the Women’s intervention Specialist and a Certified Lactation Counselor at the Magnolia Project. One of Mesha’s primary roles at the Magnolia Project is to help assist and encourage mothers to breastfeed.

IMG_2152Breastfeeding is one of the best things that a mother can do for her baby. Here at The Magnolia Project we are dedicated by making sure that our mothers are informed about the advantages, benefits, and importance of breastfeeding.

The Magnolia Project has two Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs), Mesha Demps and Odille Thomas, who provide support, counseling and education to the women of the Magnolia Project. The CLCs have been working endlessly to educate the women of Magnolia about breastfeeding and all of the benefits they can gain because of breastfeeding.IMG_2081

Breastfeeding can be very difficult for new mothers and mothers who have had a child before. The fastest drop-off rates occur in the first 10 days after hospital discharge. Mothers stop breastfeeding at different times for different reasons. Some of the reasons are lack of support at the onset of breastfeeding, not having enough milk, work/school, breast pain and because baby will not latch.IMG_2274

The CLCs provide support within the first 24 hours after birth to assess the process of breastfeeding with mom and new born baby.  In an effort to foster and ensure fidelity/duration of breastfeeding, mothers are educated about the benefits for self and baby thereby, improving the number of mothers who will breastfeed for at least 6 months.

Recently the CLCs of Magnolia had a breastfeeding photo shoot for new mothers who are breastfeeding and mothers who have breastfeed for longer than 6 months. At the photo shoot there were babies raging from two weeks old to one-year old. These mothers of Magnolia know the importance of breastfeeding and the bonding time that they receive with their babies while nursing. The CLCs wanted to applaud the mothers and continue to encourage them to keep up the great work.



In the spotlight: The Magnolia Project

  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

The Magnolia Project was featured in the Federal Division of Healthy Start and Prenatal Services (DHSPS) newsletter as the Healthy Start Grantee Spotlight organization. Read the article below:

This month DHSPS is spotlighting The Magnolia Project in Jacksonville, FL for their work 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. Read below more information about The Magnolia Project:share-5

Prenatal care is a group effort now at the Magnolia Project, an initiative of the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition.  Pregnant women that receive care at the women’s health clinic in the Jacksonville urban core can now participate in a compassionate group setting, with the launch of new SHARE (Support Health Assessment Relationship Education) classes that combine medical care, peer support and education.

The group care model utilized materials and literature from Centering Pregnancy through a membership agreement.  Centering is a nationally recognized model that provides patient-centered care and results in positive health outcomes for moms and babies.

While too many babies are born too small and too soon in Northeast Florida and throughout the country, research has shown that group prenatal care can lead to better birth outcomes, including among low-income and African American populations. Studies show babies born to mom in group prenatal care had higher birth weights and longer gestations. Click on the link below to take you to The Magnolia Project article that was featured in the Florida Times Union paper:


Guest Post: The Coalition’s work from the perspective of a nurse, graduate student and mom

Nov 18, 2016  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

15094327_1301651366523453_450389998533640759_nSue Seepersaud is a graduate student in nursing at the University of Maryland. She completed her practicum with the Coalition in the fall of 2016, spending time with each program and assisting with a marketing campaign around safe sleep practices. She shares her experience as a nurse and new mom.

As a student in a Public Health Nursing Master’s program, I was very excited when I learned that I would be doing my practicum with the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition.  I was familiar with the organization but was unaware of all the benefits and services they offered.  I was also a new mother with an eight-month-old baby girl, so being able to work with individuals who had a passion for improving the health of babies, women and families would make the experience an even better one.

sue-bbwOnce I started my practicum, I realized that the Coalition offered a myriad of services that provided lifelong benefits.  There are nurses that do home visits with mothers and educate them about many topics including breastfeeding, and there are programs offered that assist clients in living healthier lives.  The Coalition also links clients with resources, should they not offer certain services that some individuals may require.  I definitely think that this is an organization that all women and families should know about.

The experience with the Coalition has thus far been a great one.  Learning about the needs of the community and what the Coalition is doing to help has made me want to work with babies, women and families once I graduate.

sueI attended the Coalition’s yearly fundraiser, the Baby Buggy Walk in the Park, and had a wonderful time.  My fiancé and I brought our daughter to the Baby Buggy Walk and enjoyed the event, the cause and the overall positive atmosphere.  We already plan on attending next year’s walk.  I now follow the Coalition on social media and will continue to do so as the posts are pretty informative.  I would urge all pregnant women to take advantage of the services and programs that the Coalition offers because there is no greater joy than delivering and holding a healthy, beautiful baby.