National Infant Mortality Awareness Month
Nearly 50 residents in high-risk areas of Jacksonville have completed the five-week Make a Noise! training since May. The training provides information on infant mortality and its impact on the black community, as well as ways to prevent it by encouraging healthy behavior and early prenatal care. Participants are enlisted as lay health workers and encouraged to talk to people they know about what they have learned. Magnolia Project staff member Shelby Salter coordinates the awareness and education effort. To complement efforts in the Magnolia Project area, the Coalition also utilizes North Florida Health Corps AmeriCorps members to implement the training in tipping point neighborhoods (Arlington and the Westside).
A new effort to train grassroots leaders was launched with the Make a Difference leadership academy earlier this fall. Nine budding community leaders, identified by the Azalea Project and other agencies, completed the eight-week program. The group learned about leadership styles, community values, ethics, team building, problem solving and action planning.
The program culminated with a field trip to a Jacksonville City Council budget meeting. 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.
Make a Noise! Make a Difference! and other community engagement efforts by the Coalition are supported by the Chartrand Foundation, funds raised through Rounds at the Grounds and other donations. These activities aim to impact social determinants and improve individual health behaviors that contribute to infant mortality.
“Before I leave this world – I want to make a difference. . .This has giving me something to fight for again.”
— Dale, graduate of the “Make a Difference” leadership academy pilot