Breastfeeding: An extra soldier to fight breast cancer

Oct 18, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

image-1Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer women suffer from and according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1:8 women are affected by some form of breast cancer. Research has proven that breastfeeding is one of many methods that can be use to reduce a women’s risk of breast cancer.  Breast cancer is a fight that many women are continuing to battle, and with new research and continued education, more women are winning the fight against breast cancer and continuing to live healthy lives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers many different ways women can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and getting more sleep at nighttime are amongst the ways women can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Another option that can reduce a women’s risk of breast cancer is by breastfeeding. The CDC recommends all women breastfeed, if possible.

Breast milk is the best milk, not only for baby but for mom as well. For baby, breast milk reduces risk of childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory tract infection. For mom, producing breast milk reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, according to the CDC.

For more information about breastfeeding and to find support, visit the Coalition’s breastfeeding page. #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth

Healthy Families Jacksonville joins the Coalition

Oct 5, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments


A Healthy Families home visitor meeting with a client

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition has been awarded a subcontract with the Jacksonville Children’s Commission to administer implementation of the Healthy Families Jacksonville program effective October 1, 2016.

Healthy Families is a nationally-accredited family support and coaching program that helps parents provide the safe and stable environments children need for healthy growth and development. The evidence-based program is voluntarily and the participants receive the services in their home by specially-trained support workers.

With the Coalition’s focus on preventing infant mortality and Healthy Families focus on reducing child abuse, the merge allows the Coalition to serve pregnant women and babies up to five years old. Families are screened for both programs with the Healthy Start screen.

The Healthy Families program will serve families living in Duval county in targeted zip codes. Those zip codes include: 32202, 32204, 32205, 32206, 32207, 32208, 32209, 32210, 32211, 32216, 32217, 32218, 32219, 32220, 32221, 32225, 32226, 32233, 32244, 32246, 32250, 32254, 32256, 32257 and 32277.

To be eligible for the Healthy Families program, participants must be pregnant or have an infant less than three months of age; live in a targeted geographic service delivery area; score 13 or above on the Healthy Start screen.

The Coalition welcomes approximately 28 new staff members to the team and looks forward to continuing serving pregnant women, babies and families, to promote positive parent-child relationships and to ensure that every baby has a healthy start.

Guest Post: Duval County Nurse-Family Partnership breastfeeding initiative

Aug 17, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

Cyndia Estime is the Continuous Quality Improvement (QCI) Coordinator for the Nurse-Family Partnership at the Coalition. Cyndia wanted to find out the different type of support womeiStock_000000548251Small b&wn needed to to increase their duration of breastfeeding. Cyndia created a three-question survey, and yielded results which exceeded her set goal.

The Duval County Nurse-Family Partnership is a free, voluntary and evidence-based home visiting program for first-time moms. Each mother is partnered with a registered nurse early in pregnanc
y and receives home visits through the child’s second birthday.
In May 2014, our team joined the National Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN), selecting a breastfeeding topic for improvement as our focus of work in the collaborative charter. The primary goal of the HV CoIIN is to improve rates of initiation
and duration of breastfeeding. Collaboratively, our specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) aim is 30 percent of children will be fed breastmilk exclusively until three months and 15 percent until six months. Activities of the collaborative network include learning sessions, webinars, conference/topic calls, emails and utilizing the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model of improvement to test changes moving toward improvement.
This two-year collaborative learning effort results in the development of reliable, effective policies and practices that support families through critical windows for breastfeeding decision-making, which involve the provision of breastfeeding education at enrollment, 36 weeks gestation and ensuring mothers complete infant feeding plan prior to delivery. Our data shows 92 percent of pregnant women reported intention to breastfeed at enrollment and 100 percent at 36 weeks gestation. The data also shows 71 percent initiated breastfeeding at delivery.

To increase the duration of breastfeeding, we created a questionnaire. Eight women who are currently breastfeeding, at different lengths of time, participated in the questionnaire.

The questionnaire asked:
1. What is helping you to BF until now?
2. What do you think might stop you from breastfeeding in the next few weeks?
3. What support do you think might make it easier for you to continue breastfeeding?
We then analyzed the results and the clients’ needs were identified.

Their responses include:

1. Support from International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and
Nurse-Home Visitor
2. Support to pump regularly/having a better pump
3. Good family support and acceptance to breastfeed
4. Support to breastfeed for one year
5. How to stop baby from biting during feeding
6. Scheduling time for house chores and child care
7. Support to breastfeed as long as possible

We decided to give each client the necessary support in order to increase the duration of breastfeeding. At the end of this project, six mothers have breastfed for three months and two mothers have reached six months of breastfeeding.

Barbers for Babies 2016 Recap

Aug 10, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments


The 6th Annual Barbers for Babies took place on August 7th, 2016 with a great amount of support from the community. Barbers for Babies links barbershops with the community to spread awareness about infant mortality. The event, hosted at the Charles Boobie Clark Park for the first time, was home to a four-on-four youth-flag-football tournament, as well as a health fair with information from Coalition programs, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, Sunshine Health, and Molina Healthcare. Thank you to Councilman Reggie Brown for providing the event space.
There were also hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies given to the youth to start the school year off on the right foot!

Thank you to the local barbershops that made this event possible:

  1. The cut Above (TCA)
  2. Flip Mode Barbershop
  3. Taylormade Cutz
  4. Center Stage
  5. Center Stage II
  6. Main Connections Barbershop
  7. Legendary Cutz
  8. Duval Cutz
  9. Circle of Images
  10. Headquarters
  11. Nappy Heads
  12. Shear Finesse Hairstyling Academy
  13. Total Beauty Institute (TBI)
  14. N Da Cut


Zika in pregnancy: Small bite, big effects

Aug 8, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

With the first locally-transmitted cases of Zika popping up in the Miami-Dade area in July, experts are predicting local outbreaks throughout the state. While the disease may cause no symptoms or mild symptoms in adults, it is potentially devastating for unborn babies if acquired by a pregnant woman.


Photo courtesy of the Florida Department of Health

There have been six confirmed cases of of the Zika Virus in the Jacksonville area, all travel-related, according to the Florida Department of Health, with the potential for many others to become affected.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is spread by the Aedes species of mosquitos. Mosquitos that carry the Zika virus are more active during the day and can survive in both indoor and outdoor locations.

Although mosquito bites are the most common way the Zika virus spreads, having sex with an infected partner, blood transfusions, and pregnancy are also ways of spreading the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mothers who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant should take precautionary actions to
prevent them from becoming infected with the virus. Being infected by the Zika virus during pregnancy has been linked to fetal brain defects that causes problems in infants including eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth.

Although there is currently no vaccine for the Zika virus, there are many ways to prevent being infected, according to the CDC.


  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items.

Insect repellent:

  • Repellents that contain Deet are the most effective during pregnancy
  • Picaridin is an alternative repellent that is safe to use during pregnancy
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than three-years-old.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than two-months old.

Sexual transmission

  • Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex.

Many people affected with Zika will have mild symptoms or none at all. Symptoms could include a fever, rash, joint pain, headache or conjunctivitis (red eyes). If you have experienced any of the symptoms and have been to a region where the Zika virus is present, it is recommended that you visit a physician or healthcare provider and request testing

To get more information about the Zika Virus and possible ways of prevention, visit: