Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
Nurture KC highlighted Black Maternal Health Week, held across the nation from April 11-17, as a collective call to action and a local imperative that Kansas City must act if we are to bend the curve and improve maternal and infant health for black families. Against the backdrop of a pandemic not seen in generations, we are witnessing race-based health disparities play out in real time with daily virus counts that disproportionately hit communities of color.

In Kansas City, black residents comprise 50% of those testing positive for COVID-19, despite being only 30% of the city’s population. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city’s third district, which leads with the highest number of cases. The third district racial composition is 60% African-American with an average income that is lower than other parts of the city. Many of the third district’s residents are essential workers exposed to the virus as well as many who were among the first to lose employment. Economic instability, barriers to health care and underlying health conditions form a trifecta of circumstances that inevitably lead to an unequal burden.

So what does this mean for Kansas City’s black mothers? Understandably, pregnant women here and throughout the country have heightened concerns for their health and their babies at a time when there are still more questions than answers regarding COVID-19. Women may worry about passing the virus to their babies. They worry about entering hospitals at a time of virus spread. They are missing the in-person connection that is so important during this milestone of life, even down to a limit on the number of people allowed in the delivery room. In this season of social distancing, the isolation creates opportunity for post-partum depression. While these factors are universal for our moms, consider the impact for mothers of color. They must navigate so many barriers during “normal” times and are our most vulnerable during this health and economic crisis.

At Nurture KC, the fallout for the families we serve was swift. There is no work at home option for many of our families. While these moms are among the first to lose their livelihoods, they will likely be among the last to regain some their economic footing at a time when there is a new baby.

To help the families we serve, Nurture KC will be participating in the national Giving Tuesday Now campaign on May 5. Look for giving posts on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. All proceeds will go directly to our families so they may purchase groceries. I hope you will join us in sharing our #GivingTuesdayNow messages on social media and in supporting our families who need us now more than ever!

Tracy Russell,
Executive Director, Nurture KC

 Check out MAIC's new logo

Our Mid America Immunization Coalition (MAIC) has a new logo, but our mission remains the same -- to increase public awareness and improve access to life-saving immunizations for children, teens and adults. The Nurture KC web site reflects MAIC’s updated look throughout.

MAIC’s new coordinator, Nate Girard, has been hard at work to reinvigorate the coalition and expand the network’s reach. Here are two other immunization items he wants to pass on:

  • Do you, or someone you know, have a pro-immunization story to share? If so, please email Nate at [email protected]. We are looking to feature a few of these stories, across various ages (infant, teen or adult vaccinations), on our Immunization web page.

  • Kansas City is doing ground-breaking research to find a vaccine for COVID-19. The Center for Pharmaceutical Research in KC is one of just two clinical research sites for a COVID-19 vaccine study. The FDA is fast tracking the research. What normally takes years to approve is being done, instead, in just months. Watch this news story from KCTV 5.
How Safe Haven keeps infants safe

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child advocates across the United States are especially concerned about the safety of newborns during COVID-19.

"An unexpected pregnancy can cause tremendous stress. With the added burden of the Coronavirus pandemic and all it entails, that stress may seem unbearable,” says Anne Biswell, an advocate with the Safe Haven for Newborns Coalition of Greater Kansas City. “We don’t want an innocent child being a victim of a parent’s panic.”

No one ever has to abandon an infant. There is a safe, anonymous alternative to harming or leaving a baby in an unsafe place. Every hospital, fire station and police station across the states of Missouri and Kansas will accept an infant – no questions asked – through the Safe Place for Newborns law.

“This law exists to provide a safety net to prevent child abuse and abandonment, and to protect the relinquishing parent from prosecution,” says Tracy Russell, Nurture KC Executive Director.

Nurture KC has been a strong supporter of the Safe Haven for Newborns Coalition of Greater Kansas City since its inception in 2009. Nurture KC has facilitated many of the group’s activities and underwritten expenses, and its web site includes a list of helpful resources at:
Nurture KC welcomes Administrative Assistant

Shannon DiMaggio is the new Administrative Assistant at Nurture KC. With more than 25 years of marketing, public relations and non-profit development experience, she is an asset that keeps the organization running smoothly.

“I feel fortunate to work for an organization making a difference in the lives of so many families in our community. Nurture KC is a wonderful example of how a small group of people can make such sweeping and lasting impact," Shannon says. "There is nothing more rewarding than working in the service of others." 

Shannon’s previous roles included grant and technical writing, non-profit management, strategic planning and positioning, donor partner development, relationship building, community cultivation and fundraising. Shannon holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Kansas State University. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, being outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Royals, Chiefs, Sporting KC and K-State Wildcats.
Serving our families through COVID-19

Nurture KC is still assisting the families we serve through our Healthy Start program. Appointments between our Community Health Workers and program participants are still taking place as scheduled, but now mainly via phone and video conferencing. We are still distributing diapers monthly to our participants and connecting them with vital community resources, as so many of our families are enduring job/income loss. We are also finding new ways to support them and provide essentials, such as groceries. (See our Partner Spotlight below.)
Partner Spotlight: TMC "Healthy Harvest" Mobile Market

Thank you to the Truman Medical Centers (TMC) mobile food truck for providing groceries for families who are part of our Healthy Start program. It means so much to our families … and to Nurture KC! This mobile market brings fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities.

We highlighted the below pictures on our social media channels. KSHB 41 Reporter, Charlie Keegan, shared our Facebook post saying: "Love seeing the best in people. #WeSeeYouKSHB"

We, at Nurture KC, couldn't agree more! Thank you to all our members and friends for your continued support and generosity.
To our members who recently renewed their memberships:
Michael Martin, Onyi Oligbo and Brittany Cline
JOIN US and help support families
Join or renew your membership today.
Thank you for your support!
Donations in any amount will help us continue our work of improving the lives of KC mentro area families. For detailed information about our programs, CLICK HERE.
1111 W. 39th St., Ste 100
Kansas City MO 64111