Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates, visitor restrictions and resources →

Healthy Start Program

The Healthy Start Program was created in 1991 by the Florida Governor in an effort to reduce Florida’s alarmingly high infant mortality rate. Florida law mandates that community-based Healthy Start coalitions oversee the maternal and infant healthcare services in their communities.

UF Health Jacksonville instituted the program in 2001 and took the program several steps further by designing a program to meet the specific needs of expectant and new mothers and their babies.

The program is unique in that it is set in the hospital obstetric clinic, antepartum unit, postpartum unit and a dedicated emergency room for women with pregnancy-related emergencies. Additionally, three registered nurses make home visits and provide intensive case management services.

Core services include:

Additional services offered:

  • Psychosocial counseling for drug abuse, domestic violence and abuse
  • Stress and anger management
  • Smoking cessation
  • Assistance with Medicaid enrollment
  • Initial entry into prenatal care and assisting mothers to find a pediatricians for their babies
  • Daddy Boot Camp - dads teaching new dads fatherhood responsibility

This program has received recognition from the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, Jacksonville Community Council Inc. and other local agencies for its efforts to help reduce the infant mortality rate in the city. In 1998, the city’s infant mortality rate was 12.9 per 1,000 births. By 2009, it had dropped to 9.7. UF Health Jacksonville’s Healthy Start program had 1,581 participants its first year, with 8,042 individual services provided. In 2009, there were 3,469 participants receiving 32,788 units of service.