Healthy Start's Tonya Bell celebrated as one of the state’s first credentialed Community Health Workers.
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Preconception health in the Healthy Start realm is a relatively new term, first appearing in 2003 after rigorous studies confirmed what we all suspected: Healthy women generally have healthy babies. The term, "preconception health," refers to the health of women and men during their reproductive years; it focuses on taking steps now to protect the health of a baby they might have sometime in the future.
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Through Florida KidCare, the state of Florida offers health insurance from birth through age 18, even if one or both parents are working.
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For Picture Day. For Every Day. Apply online 1-888-540-5437

During their 2013 Annual Meeting, Donna Hagan was recognized for her outstanding performance as President of the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions.

Whole Child kiosks are now available in the Madison and Perry libraries, as well as the Tri-County Medical Center in Greenville. Visitors can access the Whole Child Connection online or request assistance from Whole Child Advisor Tonya Bell.

Nearly 36 percent of the pregnant women in Jefferson, Madison, and Taylor Counties are obese during pregnancy, resulting in medical interventions to control gestational diabetes, hypertension and other chronic health conditions related to obesity. Nearly 96 percent of obese mothers deliver before 40 weeks and require delivery by Cesarean, an additional medical intervention that perpetuates the trend of low birth weight and negates the positive effects of natural birth for the infant.
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The Women's Health Leadership Institute (WHLI), a national initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health (DHHS-OWH) met in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 27–28 to educate experienced CHW in leadership development to enhance their ability to influence improvements in their practice and communities. The training was offered in collaboration with the Florida Coalition of CHWs ( and it was an honor for Community Health Educator Tonya Bell (far right in photo) to be included among the exclusive invitees.

Barbara “Bobbi” Markiewicz holds a PhD from Rutgers University and has been with the Lawton & Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies at University of South Florida since 2004 as an Associate in Research. In that capacity, she has worked on several projects, all with the common theme of promoting health and well-being for Florida's children and their families.
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Donna Hagan (second from left in small photo; seventh from left in enlarged photo), president of the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions and Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Jefferson, Madison & Taylor Counties, was part of an important day in history as Governor Rick Scott signed HB 227, which provides a task force to address the epidemic of substance exposed newborns in Florida, particularly those that are diagnosed with Newborn Abstinence Syndrome, a withdrawal from the abuse of opiates and other nervous system drugs, or controlled substances used prenatally.

Healthy Start Service Delivery Plan Update
Download the PDF file here!

Maternal and Child Health Needs Assessment

Envisioning a
"Whole" New Florida

Whole Child is not a program,
but a philosophy...

  Governor Lawton Chiles once said, "To be a successful state, you must raise successful children." Under his leadership, Florida worked to put children first. Today, we at The Lawton Chiles Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-partisan organization, are driven by this same conviction and are doing our part to make Florida a state in which children thrive.
  To download the full PDF, click here.

Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend Region.
Proud providers of Parents as Teachers, evidence-based, developmental parenting services.
Promoter of Florida KidCare for the tri-county area.
Healthy habits begin with small steps.
Show Your Love Campaign—Preconception Care and Health Care.

Healthy Start

A Brief History

The Complete Story >>>
The Healthy Start Program was created in 1991 by Governor Lawton Chiles on the premise every child deserved a healthy start in life. He and his wife challenged local leaders to establish local coalitions to provide quality prenatal care for all women. Today there are 32 Coalitions throughout the state of Florida striving to achieve this goal. Healthy Start is not an income based program, any pregnant mom can be eligible for Healthy Start services.

Jefferson, Madison & Taylor Counties

Serving the tri-county area >>>
Healthy Start of Jefferson, Madison and Taylor Counties was created in 1993 to serve a predominantly rural, tri-county population. The primary focus of the Coalition is to insure the heath and well being of pregnant women and their babies and to reduce infant mortality. The Coalition has partnered with over 30 community agencies to identity and provide support for a variety of community based needs that ultimately effect the lives of pregnant women and their children. Healthy Start services include a variety support services that help produce positive birth outcomes. Services include care coordination, home visits, smoking cessation, car seat classes, breastfeeding education and support, parenting education, nutritional education, childbirth education and psychosocial counseling. The Coalition contracts with the County Health Departments in each county to provide these services, the Health Departments are also the primary providers of prenatal care. The Coalition is also pleased to be a part of implementing group prenatal programs in all three counties and Women's Health initiatives in all three counties. The Coalitions latest project is to make all three counties we serve Whole Child communities.

Healthy Start Florida

The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, Inc. is dedicated to strengthening maternal and child health by ensuring that all Florida families have access to a continuum of affordable and quality health and related services and advocating for public policy initiatives to facilitate those services.