Dr. Ron Salem was recognized by the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition (NEFHSC) with its highest honor: the 2023 Carol Brady Community Leadership Award. Salem is an advocate and strong supporter of improving Jacksonville’s infant mortality rate.The award, given annually by the NEFHSC, recognizes outstanding efforts and commitment of a community leader who devotes their time, resources and expertise to advancing maternal and child health in Northeast Florida.
As a Jacksonville City Council vice president, Salem has championed several local efforts to improve the health of women, babies and their families. He was instrumental in ensuring the City of Jacksonville’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan included reducing the infant mortality rate as one of its strategic initiatives. Salem was the architect behind the City of Jacksonville’s proclamation in 2019 recognizing September as Infant Mortality Awareness Month. He also recently helped secure multi-year funding for NEFHSC’s “Hey, Mama” campaign, a social marketing effort to help raise awareness about the preventable causes of infant mortality. This year’s campaign will include a new mobile pantry to support pregnant women, new moms and their families.
“Councilman Salem is a remarkable community partner who tirelessly advocates for the needs of women and children. He also understands the complexity involved in reducing our city’s high rate of infant mortality,” said Faye Johnson, CEO of the NEFHSC. “Councilman Salem continuously finds ways to move this important work forward and we couldn’t be more grateful for his many contributions.”
Salem is a member of NEFHSC’s newest advocacy committee called the Zero Preventable Infant Death Leadership Council that is helping guide policy changes needed to address social determinants of health and infant health equity across the agency’s five county service area. He’s also been involved in other NEFHSC-led committees.
In addition to his involvement with the NEFHSC, Salem has served as chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Better Jacksonville Plan while also being a member of the Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment Board, and the Jacksonville Sports Council. He is the president of Salem & Associates and is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his commitment to women and children, public safety, economic development, and public education.
The NEFHSC award is named in honor of Carol Brady, former executive director of the NEFHSC, who grew the organization from a small Healthy Start-focused agency within the North Florida Regional Council to a thriving nonprofit that leverages resources to pregnant women and their babies, as well as preconception women, fathers, and their families.