For Immediate Release
September 21, 2011
Contact Information

Media contact: Matthew Beatty
T: (305) 948-8063


- Hundreds received free health care at event celebrating National Infant Mortality Awareness Month -

(BLACK PR WIRE) – MIAMI (SEPTEMBER 21, 2011) – Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, City of Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson and City of North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre joined hundreds of mothers, fathers, children and infants Saturday, September 17, at the Community Health & Education Fair. The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade (HSCMD) and their community partners organized the fair which featured baby product giveaways, health screenings and family entertainment to raise awareness and combat the infant mortality rate increase in Miami-Dade County. The event was hosted at the Betty T. Ferguson Community Center in Miami Gardens. A special program held at 11 a.m. featured elected officials and representatives from the offices of U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Florida Senator Oscar Braynon and Florida Representative Cynthia Stafford pledging support for HSCMD’s effort to improve health outcomes for local mothers and children, especially in black and Hispanic communities.

“I am overwhelmed at the wealth of support that we received from our respected elected officials, civic leaders and local residents,” said Manuel Fermin, CEO of the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade. “We are leading the charge to save our young children’s lives. This fair was our way of getting the word out, educating parents and providing much-needed services to the community.”

The fair was held in recognition of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month (September), and sought to equip women with intensive education and tools to care for themselves, infants and toddlers up to age five. 

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

A troubled economy and other factors are cited for the increase in Miami-Dade County’s infant mortality rate. 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. Determined to reverse these statistics, HSCMD will refocus its efforts on MomCare, Healthy Start and The Jasmine Project, key programs tackling the local infant mortality issue.

For more information on the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade and their services provided to local mothers, infants and families in South Florida, please visit them online at, or call at (305) 541-0210.

The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade 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.