For Immediate Release
September 07, 2011
Contact Information

Matthew Beatty
T: (305) 948-8063

(BPRW) Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade Combats Local Infant Mortality Rate Increase With Community Health Fair

- National Infant Mortality Awareness Month event to be held Saturday, September 17th -

(BLACK PR WIRE) – MIAMI (SEPTEMBER 7, 2011) – Despite a statewide decrease in deaths among children younger than one year old, the infant mortality rate in Miami-Dade County has creeped upward, especially in black and Hispanic communities. Aimed at reversing this alarming increase, Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade (HSCMD) will host The Community Health & Education Fair. The event takes place Saturday, September 17, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Betty T. Ferguson Community Center, 3000 N.W. 199th Street, in Miami Gardens, FL. The fair will equip women with intensive education and tools as they learn to care for themselves, infants and toddlers up to age five. A special program will begin at 11 a.m., when elected officials and community leaders will pledge commitment to supporting HSCMD’s services for local mothers and children.

“Florida’s troubled economy has had a disproportionate effect on minorities,” said Manuel Fermin, CEO of Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade. “This is a large factor driving up the number of infant deaths in our community. By focusing on education and providing services at fairs like this, we aim to improve chances young families will stay healthy.”

While the infant mortality rate increase in Miami-Dade is slight — from 174 deaths in 2008 to 188 deaths in 2009 (most recent data available) — child experts say the data is worth worrying about. According to the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, the number of deaths among babies who were “black or other races” rose from 77 in 2008 to 94 in 2009. Numbers also rose in rates for Hispanic babies. Throughout September (National Infant Mortality Awareness Month), HSCMD will refocus on MomCare, Healthy Start and The Jasmine Project, key programs tackling the local infant mortality issue.

The Community Health & Education Fair will reinvigorate community partners’ efforts to reduce infant mortality rates among minorities in Miami-Dade County. Highlights of the event include free health screenings (cholesterol, blood pressure, pregnancy tests, BMI, etc.), parenting and family engagement classes, car seats and child seat inspections, baby supplies, pregnancy tests, bike helmets and much more to promote healthy family lifestyles.

“Recently, there have been a number of statewide cuts to mother’s and children’s health programs,” continued Fermin. “However, our efforts cannot stop. We must be even more focused to get the word out so we can impact as many mother’s lives as possible. Let’s rally as a community to save our children.”

The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade (HSCMD) is a community-based prenatal care agency for at-risk mothers and babies. As one of its top programs, MomCare is committed to improving birth outcomes and reducing infant mortality rates through guidance, education and care coordination for expecting mothers. In 2010, the Healthy Start Coalition launched the federally funded Jasmine Project to focus on reducing racial disparities in black infant mortality and health outcomes in Miami-Dade County. It complements Florida’s statewide Healthy Start program that provides universal screening to all pregnant women and infants.

**MEDIA NOTE: For more information on The Community Health & Education Fair, and to arrange interviews with Manny Fermin or reserve your space for the program, please contact Matthew Beatty of Sonshine Communications at (305) 948-8063, ext. 209.**