Martin County Healthy Start Is Florida’s Leader in Alliance to Reduce Infant Loss and Maternal Morbidity
Stuart, Fla. - Martin County Healthy Start has joined the ranks of some of the country’s largest and most innovative maternal health providers to reduce preventable maternal morbidity and mortality. It is the only organization in Florida invited to be part of the National Healthy Start Association’s Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health Community Care Initiative (AIM CCI).
“We are excited to be in the company of providers like the Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic in New Hampshire, the Eli Collins for Premature Infants at the Williamsburg County Community Coalition in South Carolina, and Hello Neighbor Smart Start in Pennsylvania,” said Healthy Start CEO Samantha Suffich. “It puts us in a leadership position in the state to establish Local Maternal Safety Workgroups and work with community partners to improve birth outcomes for our mothers and babies.”
The Martin County Healthy Start Coalition received another accolade from the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health. It was named a Clinical Community Integration Champion at the association’s 2023 annual meeting.
All of the Healthy Start Coalitions on the Treasure Coast – Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee - came together this year to collaborate in a community process called Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR). A Case Review Team examines the details leading to each incident of infant death on a monthly. The Community Action Group then develops and executes an action plan based on what they’ve learned to prevent future fetal or infant losses.
Martin County’s infant mortality rate stands at 1.2 deaths per thousand births, a significant decrease since Healthy Start began its work in 1994. At that time the rate was 12.31 deaths per thousand births.
“All of our partners have worked hard to provide the care and support expectant mothers need to be able to deliver healthy babies,” Suffich says. “Our current rate is an improvement, but we know that every infant loss is one too many. Every effort to prevent such a tragic loss is worth it.”
Healthy Start is home to Madison’s Miracles, which offers bereavement support to families who experience such a loss. More information about Madison’s Miracles is available at the Martin County Healthy Start website, www.mchealthystart.org.
About Martin County Healthy Start
Martin County Healthy Start is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every baby is born healthy, every mother is supported, and every father is involved. It provides educational and health services to pregnant women, new mothers and their families at no cost, particularly expectant mothers who are at risk for late or no prenatal care.
Part of a statewide coalition, Healthy Start connects pregnant women and young mothers with essential services including prenatal care, home visitations by a nurse or social worker, breastfeeding support, parenting education, car seat and sleeping safety, a free diaper pantry, and access to other community partner agencies through the Betty Moore Prenatal Outreach Center. The David Cardno Fatherhood Initiative, also part of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, helps fathers to become more involved in parenting and offers legal assistance to fathers who are separated from their children.
The programs of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition are voluntary and available to all Florida residents at no cost.