Healthy Start Program a Factor In Lower Infant Mortality Rates
Healthy Start, a federal program established to reduce infant
mortality, celebrated its second anniversary with Jefferson patients in
June. Since the inception of Healthy Start, the infant mortality rate in
designated high-risk Philadelphia neighborhoods declined from 20.7 (per
1000 live births) to 14.6 this year. It is believed that Healthy Start contributed
to that decrease, says Heather Jolley, MSW, Jefferson's Healthy Start hospital
The Healthy Start program provides pre- and postnatal care, nutritional
counseling, childbirth/parenting education and social services for parents
and newborns. In addition, "Coffee Talk" provides a monthly forum
for new and expectant parents to hear speakers and discuss subjects of interest.
Some topics addressed this year included domestic violence, starting your
own business, and AIDS prevention. On average, 10 mothers attend "Coffee
Talk" each week.
Healthy Start benefits are available to pregnant women living in West and
Southwest Philadelphia. They must be identified and screened through Jefferson
Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates (JOGA), the Maternal Observation Unit
(MOU), Postpartum, ER or their physician. Says Ms. Jolley, "Patients
tell me they love the support they get from Healthy Start and gain a lot
of necessary information from the support group."
For information, call Philadelphia's department of public health at 875-5940.