Several years after completing an education and awareness campaign around black infant mortality, staff reported to the Coalition membership at the April 18 meeting on how they have taken the initiative to the next step: building community capacity to address infant mortality.
Faye Johnson, Magnolia Project Director, presented one of the newest initiatives, the Make a Difference! Leadership Academy. The program uses a curriculum developed by the University of Arizona, but adds supplemental information on racism, poverty, infant mortality, local Jacksonville icons and takes field trips to places like Kingsley Plantation and the MOSH RACE exhibit. At the end of each series, participants take part in a graduation and receive a certificate.
The Academy has graduated 31 leaders to date. Graduates from the Academy include new Coalition Board of Directors member Shanita Brown and Isadora Howell, recipient of the inaugural Dorothy Wilson Mabry Legacy Award and attendee of the 2013 National Healthy Start Association meeting.
A second key component is the Make a Noise! Intervention. More than 200 community members have been trained as lay health advocates, equipped with information on how to stay healthy before, during, in-between and after pregnancies. After completing the four sessions with staff, the new “Lay Health Advocates” receive incentives and are provided materials to attract and educate people about black infant mortality.