September 27, 2011

Florida Celebrates Midwives Week this October

Florida Friends of Midwives is proud to join the American College of Nurse Midwives, theMidwives Association of Florida, and communities statewide in celebrating National Midwifery Week and Florida Licensed Midwives Week during the first week in October.

Midwifery Week is a chance for midwives and the women they serve to reflect on their experiences and midwifery's contributions to women's health care, including attending births and providing well-woman care. Throughout Florida, regional groups of Florida Friends of Midwives are celebrating with awareness events, social gatherings and local Mayor's proclamations.

One such proclamation will be read at the Sarasota City Commission meeting October 3rd. “Midwives make a strong contribution to the health and well-being of mothers and babies through proper care and treatment in all phases of childbirth," says Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell. “I look forward to welcoming all those involved in this important effort.”

Midwives have a long and valued history in Florida. The state first passed legislation to license direct-entry midwives in 1931, and the first Certified Nurse Midwife was licensed in Florida in 1970. Florida’s midwives have continued to tirelessly serve the families of Florida and to ensure the continued availability of safe, evidence-based birthing options for Florida’s families.

Florida Friends of Midwives celebrates midwives in Florida and throughout the world during this special week. For more information about midwifery in Florida, please visit

ABOUT FLORIDA FRIENDS OF MIDWIVES (FFOM): Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM) is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the Midwives Model of Care and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida. Florida Friends of Midwives was formed to support midwives who offer safe, cost-effective, evidence based care to Florida's Families. FFOM members are consumers and birth advocates committed to organizing the community to support midwives and to assure the continued availability of midwifery care in the State of Florida. For more information, please visit

September 21, 2011

September: Infant Mortality Awareness Month

September is National Infant Mortality Month, but for Orlando midwife Jennie Joseph and her dedicated team, the fight to provide quality prenatal care to all expecting mothers and reduce the high infant mortality rate is a year-round campaign.

“Simply put, our babies are dying!” states Joseph, executive director of Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and the founder of The JJ Way® Maternity Health Care System, a program that successfully demonstrates reduced levels of infant mortality. “People just don’t realize the impact of infant mortality in our communities.” Joseph’s innovative maternal child health (MCH) program is designed to educate the public, community leaders, and elected officials on te need to reduce infant mortality and the practical steps to achieving that goal.

Joseph, who also operates The Birth Place, a multi-site birthing center , women’s health clinic and midwifery training program in Central Florida, remains committed to eliminating one of this country’s saddest and most preventable medical concerns – the high death rate among African American newborns and babies under the age of one. Statistics show that the infant mortality rate among African-Americans continues to be more than twice the rate among White babies and, according to a new report out just last week, babies in the United States have a higher risk of dying during their first month of life than do babies born in 40 other countries[1].

Medical experts agree that the two most prevalent causes of high infant mortality are premature births before the 37th week of pregnancy, and low birth weight. The Florida infant mortality rate has hovered around 8% for all races and 14% for African American women annually[2]. “These fragile babies are actually a result ,” says Joseph. “The cause is the lack of access to quality maternity healthcare as well as a lack of education and support, particularly for disenfranchised women who face multiple obstacles to finding help.”

A 2007 study[3] conducted at The Birth Place, utilizing The JJ Way® Maternity Health Care System, provided 100 participants with education, support and vital prenatal care. As a result, there were only 4 low birth weight babies born overall and no low birth weight babies to the African American or Hispanic women in the study. While national agencies such as Healthy Start and March of Dimes have led the charge by stressing the need to address this serious issue, Joseph believes that increased community awareness is essential to the campaign to eliminate these disparities. To that end, Commonsense Childbirth and The JJ Way® have developed extensive training and certification programs to increase the number of maternity healthcare providers, doulas, childbirth educators and community agencies willing to tackle this problem.

Additional information including a video can be found at

Jennie Joseph will be speaking at Bentley’s Cafe (805 Donald Ross Road Juno Beach) at 6:30pm on September 23rd. The event is open to the public. Ms. Joseph will also be holding a Doula Training September 24th and 25th at the Palm Beach Marriott. For more details regarding these events or information about Commonsense Childbirth, The Birth Place or The JJ Way, please contact Kathy Bradley at (321) 213-1112 or email

[3] Funded by Winter Park Health Foundation, Evaluated by Health Council of East Central Florida

September 15, 2011

RISE: Sarasota's First Kitchen Share

For many culinary entrepreneurs, the initial investment of launching a food business is enough to squash their dreams. Sarasota baker and local food enthusiast Christine Nordstrom knows these challenges first hand, and has seen them stand in the way of success for many talented chefs in her own community. This summer, she decided to do something about it. Introducing RISE, Sarasota’s first licensed commercial kitchen share.

RISE makes it possible to start a food based business for a fraction of the cost by providing all inclusive hourly or monthly rent to clients that fits their individual needs. Each client is required to obtain their own licensing, permits and liability insurance to operate a business in the state of Florida. However, RISE offers much more than refrigeration and oven space; experts are available for consultation, guidance though the food business licensing process, culinary education, and referrals every step along the way. RISE allows an idea to become a viable product.

“Every Saturday, it seemed I would meet another person with a dream,” says Nordstrom, whose bakery SIFT is a cornerstone of the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market. “Each conversation would end in the same way—I’d learn they didn’t have the financial investment or space needed to execute their ideas.”

Nordstrom did some market research and learned that commercial shared kitchens are thriving in larger markets throughout the country. “It’s a win-win situation. Local food, local business, and local dreams are all being supported here.”

For more information about RISE or to schedule an initial consultation with owner Christine Nordstrom, please call (941)306-6072 or email

ABOUT RISE: RISE is a licensed commercial kitchen share where you can dream, create, produce and RISE. We will help your food based business grow in any way we can, from consultation to facility rental. Please call Christine Nordstrom at (941) 306-6072 or visit for more information.

September 12, 2011

12th & East Kicks off Third Thursday Party

12th & East Home at the Beach will begin a seasonal series of artist showcases this Thursday, September 15th, from 5pm to 8pm. The event, being dubbed “Party in the Plaza,” will take place at this beachside boutique every third Thursday of the month through May.

This month’s inaugural event will feature local artists Greg Lowman, Dustin Cole, Jessica DellaTorre, Breslyn Reiber, Dani O’Neil with Lola Love, and Heather Howard with Nautical Nonsense. Live art will be performed by Cheeta and live music by Trevor Bystrom. Light fare and wine will be served.

“I have been waiting all summer for this,” says owner and designer Jessica Holmes. “This community is my home. It is an honor to be able to celebrate the artistic talent that abounds here.”

Now located at 5416 Marina Drive, 12th & East Home at the Beach brings their unique vintage modern aesthetic seaside, while continuing to hand-select and update 17th and 18th century antique treasures. This summer the boutique has introduced new lines of women’s clothing, shoes, bags, table linens, serving wares, dish soaps and more to the Anna Maria Island community. To learn more about 12th & East Home at the Beach or any of these fine artists, please call (941) 778-7440 or visit

About 12th & East Home: 12th & East Home at the Beach is a sophisticated home accessories showroom in Holmes Beach, Florida. Designer Jessica Holmes presents an ever-changing collection of vintage-inspired modern accents and expertly selected consigned antiques, establishing a unique and relevant aesthetic for today’s discerning home decorator. The Sarasota collection has expanded to include a more casual, seaside lifestyle. Please call (941) 778-7440 to learn more, or visit us on the web at