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

Alysia Osoff, RN, MSN, CEN

Senior Public Health Nurse

Fetal & Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Board Coordinator

Health Educator
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Fatherhood Facilitator
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Action Network Coordinator
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

LaShawn Sinclaire
Peer Advisor, Health Education

Peer Advisor, Dads Matter Program

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 Healthy Families

Ingham Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition

Greater Lansing Clergy Forum

Great Parents, Great Start Program

Lansing Housing Commission

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

Parent-Infant Program

Pathways to Better Health
Power of We Consortium

Shared Pregnancy Women's Center

South Side Community Coalition

Sparrow Health System

Tomorrow's Child

Willow Tree Family Center
ICHD Welcomes Na'imah Muhammad
Community Action Network Coordinator
We are delighted to share that Na'imah Muhammad will join the Strong Start | Healthy Start team as our Community Action Network Coordinator effective Tuesday, September 8, 2015. Her primary responsibilities will consist of authentically engaging underrepresented community stakeholders in the issue of infant mortality disparities, which includes developing the full potential of the Network to demonstrate meaningful change in health outcomes.
The Community Action Network Model (CAN) creates change by building community capacity. The CAN is asset based and builds on the strengths or capacity of a community to create change from within. It also moves away from projects that focus solely on changing individual lifestyle and behavior to projects that mobilize community members and agencies to change factors promoting inequities. Fundamental to this model is a critical analysis that identifies the underlying social, economic, and environmental forces creating the health and social inequalities that the community wants to address.
Na'imah Muhammad is a native of Detroit and graduated from Aisha Shule WEB DuBois Academy. She is in the process of obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University and is adamantly taking steps to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has extensive experience working with pre-natal, Interconception, and post-natal moms in her experiences with Willow Tree Family Center, and is constantly recruiting family to services in the area. Na'imah is knowledgeable , resourceful, and takes pride in constantly improving as a mother of her 2 year old Noah, student, and community member.

Please join Strong Start | Healthy Start in welcoming Na'imah in her new role! Her contact information is below:

Na'imah Muhammad
Community Action Network Coordinator
Strong Start | Healthy Start Program
Ingham County Health Department
5303 S. Cedar Street
Lansing, MI 48909
Direct: 517.887.4322
Fax: 517.887.4384
Temporary E-mail:
Strong Start | Healthy Start Program Updates
Healthy Start Launches Fetal & Infant Mortality Review Board
LANSING, Mich (WLNS) - More babies in Ingham County are making it to their first birthday and officials at the Ingham County Health Department are working to keep it that way. The department is launching a new program designed to educate the community on all factors when it comes to infant mortality.

Sheri Jones, News Anchor, WLNS
Click on Image for Video

Numbers released by the Ingham County Health Department show the county isn't the worst in the state but it isn't the best either. Ingham County ranked 29th in the state with an infant mortality rate of 8.6 deaths to every 1,000 births.  In 2013 Ingham reported a total of 28 infant deaths; in 2011 21 "still births" were reported.  The department is also tackling death rates of minority babies which die at a higher rate, according to the department's findings.

The department launched the "Fetal and Infant Mortality Review" in partnership with the "Strong Start-Healthy Start" program.

For more information about the Fetal & Infant Mortality Board or to become involved, contact Alysia Osoff, FIMR Coordinator, at 517-887-4322 or visit
ICHD Recognizes Community Health Workers with Appreciation Breakfast
Community Health Worker Appreciation Month
In 2014, Governor Snyder signed a proclamation declaring August "Community Health Worker Appreciation Month," and MiCHWA is seeking the same recognition for CHWs in 2015. The cities of Grand Rapids and Inkster and the County of Wayne also recognized CHWs through formal proclamations in August 2014, and MiCHWA recorded dozens of celebrations by CHWs, CHW employers, and community agencies. As MiCHWA's participants grow, we anticipate a greater surge of support this year for CHWs in our communities during August.

This year, the Ingham County Health Department also formally recognized CHW's through an appreciation breakfast, which include Healthy Start staff.  Ingham is taking the necessary steps to ensure that CHW's are recognized at the city and county level through formal proclamations.

August is the ideal time to recognize CHWs for who they are and acknowledge their significant contributions to improving health and well-being in our communities. Read more.

Ingham County CHW Appreciation Breakfast
2015 Ingham County CHW Appreciation Breakfast

For more information about CHW Appreciation Month and to obtain a copy of the CHW Appreciation Month Gubernatorial Proclamation, visit MiCHWA at
Home Visiting Program
By The Numbers





Refer Someone Today!


For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact the Maternal Child Health Division at 517-887-4322.

Home Visits
Father Spotlight: Ditrel Skippwith
Since February 2015, Strong Start | Healthy Start has enrolled over 100 fathers and expectant fathers 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: Jonathan Lawrence, Fatherhood Facilitator]

Ditrel is a loving father of 4 amazing children with his youngest son being 3 months. Ditrel says that his favorite thing about fatherhood is the fact that he gets to see his children grow, prosper, and he gets a front row seat experience. He is elated that he can raise such beautiful children and watch them blossom in the different stages of life. Ditrel also says that he would really like if he could spend more time with his children, and to be more specific, more one-on-one time with each individual child. We are working together to make sure that he is able to do child-appropriate activities with each of his children.  Ditrel is working 2 jobs to provide for his family, and does not complain. He says that he is able to think from a different perspective from being involved in the fatherhood program. He has learned  many new skills and developed strong relationships with other fathers, and plans to continue to be involved with Dads Matter.  He is also more aware of the importance of reading to his children and plans to read more often to them. 
Ditrel Skippwith
Strong Start | Healthy Start Father

Dupard Family Fatherhood Case Manager:
Jonathan Lawrence

For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact the Maternal Child Health Division at 517-887-4322.
Dads Matter Initiative
Dads Matter Workshops Continue to Make An Impact in Community

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 81 fathers that are part of our program enjoy all of the services they receive from Strong Start | Healthy Start. Fathers receive individual case management and have learned more about being a father from the National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 DadŽ 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. 



To download the full June 2015 - December 2015 workshop schedule, click here.  

There are now healthy and fun activities at each workshop.  September is Kickboxing month with trainer Antonio Cruz.

For more information about our Dad's Matter Initiative, contact Jonathan Lawrence via e-mail at or by phone at 517-449-6046.
First Annual Dads Matter Day at the Lansing Lugnuts
Dads Matter Day 2015
Dads Matter hosted its first annual Dads Matter Day at the Lansing Lugnuts on June 25, 2015. This event was organized for fathers and their children and served as a day to celebrate our great fathers in the community and to engage in a conversation of why Dads Matter. The event also hosted father-serving organizations in Mid-Michigan to be a part of the fellowship of fatherhood programs in effort to collaborate in future collaborative efforts. There are many fatherhood programs that are doing some outstanding work in Mid-Michigan, and by strengthening our collaboration we can have a significant joint impact for fathers, not only in our city, but throughout the state of Michigan. Read More.

Dads Matter because research shows that when children have involved, responsible, and committed fathers, they express better socio-emotional and academic functioning and grow up to lead happier, healthier lives. Research also demonstrates that father absence is strongly linked to poverty, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, abuse, suicide, substance and alcohol abuse, and a host of other issues. Read more.

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
Health Education Workshops Continue to Generate Momentum
Strong Start | Healthy Start holds Health Education workshops throughout Greater Lansing. Currently there are four standing workshops that are open to the public. Workshops are held at Hildebrandt on Monday's from 4:00pm-5:00pm (3122 Turner Street, Lansing), GLAAHI on Tuesday's from 4:00pm-5:00pm (1220 W. Kalamazoo Street, Lansing), Southside Community Coalition on Wednesday's from 5:30pm-6:30pm (2101 W. Holmes Road, Lansing), and Mt. Vernon on Thursday's from 1:30pm-2:30pm (338 N. Waverly Road, Lansing). 

We serve light food and refreshments, provide child activities through Lansing Parks and Recreation, transportation assistance, and offer door prizes. Each week is dedicated to one topic. Our health education topics are expansive and include subjects like breastfeeding, budgeting 101, preventing HIV/STIs,and stress reduction, family planning, CPR training, and many more. Health Education workshops endwith a referral option to our Community Health Workers for home visiting, the creation of peer support and new, healthier goals. 

To download the full June 2015 - December 2015 workshop schedule, click here.
There are now healthy and fun activities at each workshop.  September is Kickboxing month with trainer Antonio Cruz.

For more information about our Health Education Initiative, contact Dana Watson via e-mail at or by phone at 517-512-3074. 
September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month
"Every Baby Deserves A Chance"
Learn more about infant mortality risk factors and take action to reduce the risk.
The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality.  Unfortunately, about 24,000 infants died during 2011 in the United States.  The loss of a baby remains a sad reality for many families and takes a serious toll on the health and well-being of families. 

What Are the Causes?
Fortunately, most newborns grow and thrive. However, for every 1,000 babies born, 6 die during their first year. Most of these babies die because they are:

To learn more about National Infant Mortality Month or to learn about events in your local community visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Upcoming Events
Dad's Matter Workshops
2nd Wednesday's of the Month
3:00PM - 4:00PM
South Washington Park, Community Room
3200 South Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI

4th Thursday's of the Month
5:30PM - 6:30PM
Greater Lansing African-American Health Institute
Letts Community Center
1220 West Kalamazoo, 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
1st Monday's of the Month 
4:00PM - 5:00PM
Hildebrandt Park, Community Room
3122 Turner Street, Lansing, MI

2nd Tuesday's of the Month  
4:00PM - 5:00PM
Greater Lansing African-American Health Institute
Letts Community Center
2120 West Kalamazoo, Lansing, MI

3rd Wednesday's of the Month  
5:30PM - 6:30PM
Southside Community Coalition
2101 West Holmes Road, Lansing, MI

4th Thursday's of the Month  
1:30PM - 2:30PM
Mt. Vernon Park, Community Room
338 North Waverly Road, Lansing, MI

For more information and to register, contact Dana Watson at 517-512-3074. Click here for the full workshop schedule.
Capital Area Baby Cafe
Every Thursday
1:30PM and 3:00PM
Ingham County Health Department
WIC Informational Mall
5303 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI

For moms who are breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding.  Babies, young children, and mom's support person are welcome.  Light refreshments served.  Breast pumps available for loan.

For more information, call the Expectant Parents Organization at 517-331-7365.
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.
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
Healthy Start Regional Meeting (Michigan & Ohio)
September 9-10, 2015
9:00AM - 5:00PM
Ingham County Human Services Building
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services- Ingham County
Conference Rooms ABC
5303 S. Cedar Street, Lansing, MI

Please take a moment to register for your Healthy Start Regional Meeting. The meeting will be September 9-10 at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services-Ingham County, Conference Rooms A, B, & C, Entrance #3, 5303 South Cedar Street, Lansing, MI 48911. By completing the form below, arrangements can be made for appropriate seating, name badges, and handouts for the event. 

For more information, contact Johannie Escame at 301-443-5692.
Infant Mortality Coalition Meeting
Thursday, September 24, 2015
1:30PM - 3:30PM

Atrium Conference Room, Ingham County Human Services Building
5303 S. Cedar Street, Lansing, MI

The Infant Mortality Coalition attempts to address infant health disparities and ultimately reduce inequities in infant mortality in Ingham County. The overarching goal of the initiative is to keep mothers and infants alive and well before, during and after birth.  The Infant Mortality Coalition meets on the 4th Thursday of every month, from 1:30-3:30pm at the Ingham County Health Department, 5303 S Cedar in Lansing.

For more information and to register, click here.
6th National Seminar: The Relationship of Place, Race, and Breastfeeding on Pre-Term Birth Outcomes
Friday, October 2, 2015

8:00AM - 4:00PM
Henry Ford Hospital Buerki Auditorium
2799 West Grand Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48202

The 6th National Seminar is a conference including a plenary, keynote presentations, lecture and workshop sessions from some of the most notable experts in the field of lactation. Our Seminar is aligned with our mission: to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for African Americans by building foundational networks of support and strengthening systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success.

For more information and to register, visit Black Mother's Breastfeeding Association
2015 Healthy Start Convention
November 16-18, 2015
8:00AM - 5:00PM
Washington Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, DC

This meeting is mandatory for Healthy Start grantees.
Grantees are allowed to use federal funds for travel
and are encouraged to bring 2 to 3 staff to this event. More details coming soon.

For more information, contact the Healthy Start Epic Center at
Legislative Updates
Reps. Dingell, Dold Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Domestic Abuse, Stalking Victims from Gun Violence
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Congressman Robert Dold (IL-10) introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3130, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, to protect women who are victims of domestic violence and stalking by closing loopholes that allow abusers and stalkers access to guns.

"No woman and no child should ever live in fear of their life or their safety because of domestic violence," said Dingell. "We should do everything we can to prevent families from experiencing senseless tragedies. This bipartisan, commonsense bill will help ensure every woman and child is protected - and it will save lives." Read More.
Peters Cosponsors Bill to Protect Pregnant Workers from Discrimination in the Workplace
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he will be cosponsoring the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to ensure pregnant women and new mothers can continue to work and support their families by requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for their health needs and limitations.

"Women in the workforce should never be forced to choose between a healthy pregnancy and their paycheck," said Senator Peters. "This legislation helps ensure that pregnant workers can continue to provide for their families throughout their pregnancy. I'm proud to cosponsor this important measure that will give workers in Michigan and across the country the workplace protections they deserve." Read More. 
Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait
This facilitator's guide and accompanying Prezi presentation are designed to teach pregnantwomen the importance of waiting until at least 39 weeks if thinking about scheduling their baby's birth for non-medical reasons. These tools are offered by the March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. To achieve this goal, the March of Dimes funds programs of community service, advocacy, research and education. The HBWW toolkit includes a multimedia presentation created using Prezi software, a facilitator guide, participant note pages and pre-post questionnaire and are part of our education initiative.  Learn 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.
A Guide for Communities: Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Manual
This second edition of the FIMR Manual is designed to         
provide communities interested in developing a new FIMR program or continuing an existing FIMR program with a step by step guide for implementing FIMR and making systems change happen for women, infants and families through FIMR. It is intended to be a practical guide, based on the cumulative best practices of the many FIMR programs that have survived and thrived over the past two decades.
This Manual is also written with the understanding that many of the decisions that go into developing projects like FIMR are local in nature. There are many aspects to FIMR for which there are no right or wrong approaches, only the way that works best in a particular situation. On the other hand, in the experience of FIMR programs and the evidence from the national evaluation of FIMR, certain components of FIMR are better done one way than any other. This book points out the things that have worked best in most programs.  Read More. 
A National Network for Effective Home Visitation and Family Support Services
The federal Healthy Start Initiative has been an integral, though often unrecognized, part of this nation's health care safety net for 20 years. Federal Healthy Start has built its history and a substantial track record on serving vulnerable residents whose health and health care have been marginalized by virtue of race, gender, health status, economic status, and/or geography. Throughout its history, effective home visitation models have been deployed to achieve positive outcomes for some 524,484 women, children, and families in underserved urban and remote rural America. This impressive and steady growth has been accompanied by a relatively modest investment by the federal government with a return that has been at least as much in savings as was spent - savings resulting from projects moving low weight births to healthy higher weight births and thus avoiding expensive and lengthy hospital stays as well as the costs of continued care throughout the early years of life and possibly beyond. Read More.