Women of Influence: Faye Johnson

The following article was written by the Jacksonville Business Journal based on their honoring of our CEO, Faye Johnson, for being a Women of Influence for the work she has done and continues to do to promote healthy moms, dads, babies and their families. 

Faye Johnson and her husband moved to Jacksonville when he retired from the Army because they loved the Jazz Festival and the job market was good. She didn’t envision making a career in social services, but, “every time I moved away from it, something would bring me back. Obviously, it’s something I’m supposed to do,” Johnson said. “I truly believe in treating others the way I want to be treated, especially when they have challenges in their lives.”

As chief executive officer of Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, Johnson works with pregnant women and their families in five Northeast Florida counties to ensure healthy babies. 

“The outcomes are driven by many factors – inadequate housing, transportation, low economics and education status, trauma, toxic stress. All those things can influence birth outcome,” Johnson said. 

The Coalition provides care coordination and home visitation for mothers to make sure they make appointments, have access to care, transportation and housing. They work with fathers as well to help them understand what their role is, Johnson said.

The infant mortality rate in Duval County is one of the highest in the state. “It’s an indicator for the city, and we try to educate city officials and stakeholders on the issue,” she said.

In September, the Coalition received funding from Baptist Health, UF Health and Florida Blue to analyze infant mortality in 2018 to better understand what social determinants were involved.

Johnson said she would like to see Jacksonville address systemic issues related to family health such as barriers to accessing care like transportation issues and adequate food sources and housing.

“We need to change policies around those issues,” Johnson said. “It’s so much more than medical.”