In This Issue:
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Strong Start | Healthy Start is an initiative of the Ingham County Health Department to enhance the health of African-American families and improve birth outcomes in Ingham County. We provide services which include home visiting for expectant and parenting moms and dads with a child up to age two. We also offer free health education workshops that are open to educate pregnant and parenting women, men, families, and the community.

Health Officer
Ingham County Health Department

Deputy Health Officer
Ingham County Health Department

Regina TraylorMSN, RN, CNS
Director, Maternal Child Health Division
Program Supervisor
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Crystal P. TylerPHD, MPH

Strong Start | Healthy Start Evaluation

Program Director, Center for Child and Family Health

Michigan Public Health Institute

Health Educator
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Fatherhood Facilitator
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Health Worker
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Health Worker
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Health Worker
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Danika Davis
Peer Advisor

LaShawn Sinclaire
Peer Advisor

Peer Advisor

Administrative Support
Maternal Child Health Division

Quick Links

Departmental and Community Partners
Department of Human Services, Ingham County

Expectant Parent's Organization

Family Outreach Services, Ingham County Health Department

Greater Lansing African-American Health Institute

Infant Mortality Coalition

Ingham County Health Department

Ingham Great Start Collaborative

Ingham Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition

Greater Lansing Clergy Forum

League of Women Voters

Maternal Infant Health Program, Ingham County Health Department

McLaren of Greater Lansing

Michigan Public Health Institute

Michigan State University, College of Nursing

Nurse Family Partnership, Ingham County Health Department

Pathways to Better Health
Power of We Consortium

Sparrow Health System

Tomorrow's Child
Strong Start | Healthy Start Program Supervsior's Message
The National Healthy Start Initiative
Dear Community Partners-

This is a time of great rejoicing for our Strong Start | Healthy Start program and for our federal Healthy Start partners across the nation.  Now more than ever before, people across Mid-Michigan and across our nation are talking about Healthy Start and the positive impact we have made in some of our most disadvantaged communities.  Partners across the nation know that the 113 funded projects, including Ingham's Strong Start | Healthy Start, are ready to meet the challenging demands in our local communities and offer an array of core services provided through evidence-based and promising home visitation practices.  This means that Healthy Start programs use the current and best research and evidence in making decisions about what services to offer and how to offer them. 


This national conversation about Healthy Start would not be possible without the very hard work on the part of the 113 funded projects.  In 2010, the National Healthy Start Association released the first National Healthy Start White Paper, Federal Healthy Start Initiative: A National Network for Effective Home Visitation and Family Support Services.  This is an important report that addresses issues and outlines a clear plan on how to solve them and gives you an insight into the strategies our local Healthy Start program is adopting.  If you have not done so, please take the time to read this important work.  Lo Berry, Carol Brady, Stacey Cunningham, Lisa Derrick, Mario Drummonds, Belinda Pettiford, Alma Roberts, and Susan Wilson were strategic in showcasing the strengths and competencies of the federal Healthy Start Initiative.


As our local Strong Start | Healthy Start program seeks to strengthen relationships across Mid-Michigan to optimize good health outcomes for the families that we serve, we also extend ourselves to building new partnerships. We look forward to all of us being engaged and active in the movement to eliminate health disparities and infant deaths in our own community and across the nation.  

In Service,

Isaias Solís, MSW
Program Supervisor

Strong Start | Healthy Start Program
Ingham County Health Department
5303 S. Cedar Street
Lansing, MI 48909
Office: 517.887.4322
Mobile: 517.331.5848 | Fax: 517.887.4384

Strong Start | Healthy Start Program Updates
2015 National Healthy Start Conference

The Strong Start | Healthy Start team had the opportunity to attend the 2015 National Healthy Start Conference in Washington, DC in February.  As our nation's health care system shifts to embrace a population health focus, community-based programs like Healthy Start are being recognized for the important role they play in engaging fragile families living in vulnerable communities. This move from volume to value, which includes achieving health equity, eliminating health disparities, and addressing social determinants, must become a shared mission with every aspect of our system of care working in concert to achieve positive outcomes.


The team spent the last day in Washington, DC visiting the offices of US Senator Debbie Stabenow and US Senator Gary Peters to discuss the importance of Healthy Start as a vehicle to reduce disparities in infant mortality and adverse perinatal outcomes for Ingham County residents.  Former Strong Start | Healthy Start participant and current Peer Advisor, Danika Davis, shared her personal story with Senator Stabenow, Legislative Aide Alex Graf, Legislative Aide Anna Platt, and Senator Peters' Legislative Aide Greg Mathis. She reiterated the importance and success of programs, like Family Outreach Services, Nurse Family Partnership, Maternal Infant Health Program, and Strong Start | Healthy Start, in informing and coaching pregnant women to connect with healthcare and other resources needed to improve birth outcomes and overall family well-being.

Home Visits
By The Numbers







Refer Someone Today!


For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact Isaias Solis via e-mail at or by phone at 517-331-5848.


Home Visits
Participant Spotlight: Alexis Skipwith

Since February 2015, Strong Start | Healthy Start has enrolled over 200 participants (mothers, fathers, and children 0-2) into our program.  The need and demand for services is astounding and drives our team to continue to positively impact families in Ingham County. One of those family's story is highlighted below.


[By: Alexis Skipwith]


The Strong Start | Healthy Start Program has greatly impacted my family and I in a very positive way. Beginning from a rough start in 2015, my family and I were in desperate need of baby items, food and furniture. Strong Start | Healthy Start took us under their wing and provided us with these immediate tangible items plus more. My worker started by evaluating and assessing our needs quickly and in a timely fashion. Not only have we been guided throughout my pregnancy, we have been given additional supports that truly show us the whole purpose of the program. We have been directed to some of the best community assistance programs in Ingham County and have become more knowledgeable about my own pregnancy to make sure that I deliver a healthy baby. I really appreciate the dedication and hard work my Community Health Worker has done to make my family stable again. Being part of this program has given my family and I a wholesome sense of appreciation.


Alexis Skipwith

Strong Start | Healthy Start Participant




Skipwith Family Community Health Worker:
Tamara Jones


 Refer Someone Today!


For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact Isaias Solis via e-mail at or by phone at 517-331-5848.


Fatherhood Initiative
Dads Matter Program

Father's all across the globe play a very significant role in the growth and development of their children. There are many roles that a father plays when it comes to the entire family well-being. When the fatherhood initiative first began one of the main focuses was to find fathers that were not present in their children's lives and to encourage them to be apart. As the program is progressing, we are finding that there are more fathers present in their children' s lives than not, therefore the focus has shifted. 


The term "Dad's Matter" resonates well with the fathers we serve. The 58 fathers that are part of our program enjoy all of the services they receive from Strong Start | Healthy Start. Some fathers have even obtained jobs because of the resources that the program has provided, and of course, their individual resilience and desire to meet their individual and family goals. Fathers have also received individual case management and have learned more about being a father from the National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 Dad® curriculum with topic such as "What It Means to Be a Man". These topics facilitate a conversation, and challenge fathers to think beyond what they think a father is on a daily basis. Fathers have reported to benefit from this program, and plan to use the tools that they learn from each session.


To Be A Dad


To Be a Dad | Presented by The Bold New Camry | Toyota
How do you become a good father? Is it something you learn from your parents, or a choice you make on your own? Toyota partnered with director Lauren Greenfield and talked with some of the best dads in professional football like DeMarcus Ware, LaVar Arrington, Fred Jackson and Kurt Warner, to find out for themselves. In this piece they show that while you can't choose the dad you have, you can choose the dad you'll be.

For more information about our Dad's Matter Initiative, contact Jonathan Lawrence via e-mail at or by phone at 517-449-6046.

Health Education Initiative
Family Health Matters

Strong Start Healthy Start holds Health Education workshops throughout Greater Lansing. Currently there are two standing workshops that are open to the public. One workshop is held at Mt. Vernon Apartments on Mondays from 2:30-3:30 (3338 North Waverly Road) and the second workshop is held at Hildebrandt Apartments on Wednesdays from 2pm-3pm (3122 Turner Street). We serve refreshments and offer door prizes. Each week is dedicated to one topic. Our health education topics are expansive and include subjects like, preventing HIV/STis, breastfeeding and stress reduction. 

SSHS is wrapping up a week on Healthy Relationships and Intimate Partner Violence. This workshop welcomed Kimberly Kaiser, Community Relations Coordinator for Eve's Place. Kim led a candid discussion and presentation on intimate partner violence and an individual's rights within a relationship. Next week the works shops will welcome a certified Zumba instructor to lead the class in Zumba. Our community workshops were created to bring people together for education and sharing. Health Education workshops ends with a referral option to our Community Health Workers for home visiting, the creation of peer support and new, healthier goals. 

Refer someone today!

For more information about our Health Education Initiative, contact Dana Watson via e-mail at or by phone at 517-512-3074.

National Minority Health Month
"30 Years of Advancing Health Equity | The Heckler Report"

April is National Minority Health Month.  During National Minority Health Month in April, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) joins with its partners in raising public awareness about health and health care disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities and efforts to advance health equity.

The theme for National Minority Health Month 2015 is "30 Years of Advancing Health Equity | The Heckler Report: A Force for Ending Health Disparities in America." This theme commemorates the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) efforts towards eliminating health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities that were mobilized by the findings from the Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health, commonly referred to as the Heckler Report.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health, released in 1985 under the leadership of former HHS Secretary Margaret Heckler. This landmark report marked the first convening of a group of health experts by the U.S. government to conduct a comprehensive study of racial and ethnic minority health and elevated minority health to a national stage. Read More

To learn more about National Minority Health Month or to learn about events in your local community visit: 
Upcoming Events
Dad's Matter Workshops
2nd and 4th Wednesday of the Month
3:00PM - 4:00PM
Mt. Vernon Park, Community Room
429 Cherry St., Lansing, MI

2nd and 4th Thursday of the Month
3:00PM - 4:00PM
LaRoy Froh, Community Room
2400 Reo Road, Lansing, MI

For more information and to register, contact Jonathan Lawrence at 517-449-6046. Click here for the full workshop schedule.
Health Education Workshops
Every Monday
2:30PM - 3:30PM
Mt. Vernon Park, Community Room
429 Cherry St., Lansing, MI

Every Wednesday
2:00PM - 3:00PM
Hildebrandt Park, Community Room
3122 Turner St, Lansing, MI

For more information and to register, contact Dana Watson at 517-512-3074. Click here for the full workshop schedule.
Ingham County WIC Infant Feeding Classes
Every Tuesday
10:00AM and 2:00PM
Ingham County Health Department
5303 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI

To register for class or for more information, call the WIC Breastfeeding Help Line at 517-887-4543.
Strong Start | Healthy Start Expo
Friday, April 17, 2015
11:00AM and 2:00PM
South Washington Community Center
3200 S. Washington Ave., Lansing, MI

Come join and learn about the services that Strong Start | Healthy Start offers as well as enjoy Zumba, free food, and more. 

For more information, contact Dana Watson at 517-512-3074.
Focus on Fatherhood Conference
Saturday, April 18, 2015
9:00AM - 4:00PM
Salvation Army, KROC Center
2500 Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI

DADS COUNT! has focused on the important role fathers play in their children's lives. They've created a special conference to explore the state of fatherhood in our culture and how to address it. This Conference will focus on the reinforcement of positive involvement of fathers in the lives of their children.

For more information and to register, click here.
New World Flood: Battlefield Brawl
Sunday, April 26, 2015
12:00PM - 6:00PM
Marshall Park
701 Marshall St., Lansing, MI

Join teams of average Jane's and Joe's, including Strong Start | Healthy Start dads, with local celebrities and past MSU athletes and compete together in a 7 on 7 flag football tournament. Battlefield Brawl is a fundraiser that supports the Oldham Project; a program that gives children, fighting life threatening illnesses, a day where they can forget about their battle and just have fun. The Oldham Project offers free professional photography sessions for these children and their families.

Visit the Conquest FUN Zone Conquest Health & Fitness Foundation's FUN ZONE promotes and encourages an active lifestyle! Experience jump roping, rock climbing, a bounce house, bubble zone, Hula Hoop show down and much more!
Healthy Beginnings Childbirth Education Classes
Description: A six-week prenatal class offered at the ICHD. Class topics will focus on: labor/delivery, newborn care and feeding, postpartum care, family planning, healthy behaviors, exercise/relaxation and nutrition.

Eligibility: First-time mothers who are Medicaid eligible and their support person.
Contact: Public Health Services 517-887-4322, Sarah Rowe at

Participants who complete the childbirth education course will receive a free infant car seat.

Ingham County Health Department
5303 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI
In The News
ICHD, Strong Start | Healthy Start Receives MarCom Award

MarCom Awards is a creative competition for any individual or company involved in the concept, writing and design of print, visual, audio and web materials and programs. Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.

The MarCom statuette graces the trophy cases of some of the top business and communication firms in the world. The MarCom competition has grown to perhaps the largest of its kind in the world with about 6,000 entries per year. 

Thank you to RedHead Design for spearheading an award-winning marketing campaign for Strong Start | Healthy Start. Read More. 
Strong Start | Healthy Start Featured on WLNS

February was Black History Month and Lansing Community College held a series of events to commemorate it. On Wednesday, February 4thLansing Community College officials hosted a special health fair. The event featured on-site services such as health testing, fitness tests, blood pressure checks and testing for sickle cell traits.

Pictured above: Strong Start | Healthy Start Community Health Workers Elon Geffrard and Teresa Yarbrough. Read More. 

Legislative Updates
US Senator Calls for Enrollment Period to Make Sure Pregnant Women Have Access to Prenatal and Maternity Care
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Finance Committee's Health Subcommittee, urged the Department of Health and Human Services to make sure pregnant women have full access to the comprehensive, affordable health coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Sen. Stabenow and 36 other Democratic Senators called for an enrollment period for women who become pregnant at a time outside of open enrollment and are uninsured, or enrolled in a grandfathered plan that does not cover maternity services. Pregnancy would be a "qualifying life event," like marriage, divorce, a job change, or birth, which allow people to add or remove others from their health plans. Read More. 
Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act Introduced

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act of 2015 to improve maternity care for women and newborns, and reduce health care costs. The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Jack Reed (D-RI).

Senator Stabenow said: "We all have a stake in making sure women and children have the health care they need from the very start of a pregnancy. This bill invests in the doctors, nurses, midwives and other maternity care providers who help make sure moms and babies receive quality care from the doctor's office to the delivery room." Read More. 

Text4baby for Healthy Start Professionals
Text4baby provides your clients with critical health and safety information. An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, text4baby is a free texting service for pregnant women and moms with infants under one. To sign up, women text BABY (or BEBE in Spanish) to 511411 and receive three free text messages each week, timed to their due date or baby's date of birth. There is no cost to sign up. Even if a woman does not have a text messaging plan, she can receive text4baby for free. Results from the first text4baby evaluation indicate that it increases users' health knowledge, facilitates interaction with their health providers, improves their adherence to appointments and immunizations, and improves their access to health services.  Learn More.
Saving Our Nation's Babies
Twenty years ago, the United States was advancing in many ways with the Internet becoming increasingly available to the public and one million computers online in 1991. Information and resources were now within reach by just using our fingertips. Yet the country was plagued by many social ills like high rates of poverty, lack of access to health services, and increased numbers of infants dying. While the U.S. saw an overall decline throughout the 1980s and 1990s of its infant mortality rate, the country ranked poorly at 21st in infant mortality among industrialized nations.  Read More. 

The Social Emotional Development of Young Children
Social emotional development is a fundamental part of a child's overall health and well-being,as it both reflects and impacts upon the developing brain's wiring and function. Social emotional development is sometimes called early childhood mental health or infant mental health. It spans from how children interact with others to how they manage or cope with adversity and stress. Social emotional development within the first few years of life sets a precedent and prepares children to be self-confident, trusting, empathic, inquisitive, competent in using language to communicate, and capable of relating well to others. Read More.
It Takes Two To Tango: Defining The Role of Fathers
Historically, the role of fathers is one aspect of the family unit widely researched when discussing the health and well-being of children. However, the role of the expectant father and the significance of paternal impact on maternal and child health (MCH) are often overlooked. We know that men play a vital role in pregnancy and child birth, but additional research is needed to further identify which aspects of paternal involvement lead to better outcomes or what theories best explain paternal involvement. Despite the fact that men are important to MCH, we have not yet come to a consensus on exactly what it means to be an involved expectant father during pregnancy. Read More.