Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
Stand Up and Be Counted

Although we are in only the eighth month, 2020 will be seared into our memory for a number of reasons, any of which would command our attention on their own in any other year. A pandemic not experienced in 100 years, a racial reckoning that continues to shape the culture, an economic downturn reminiscent of the Great Depression, and a national election exposing deep divisions. Taking place alongside these once unimaginable happenings is the 2020 census, at, which is a process that impacts all of the events mentioned above.

Conducted every 10 years, the national census counts U.S. residents, collecting demographic and population data that determines congressional representation and federal funding to state and local governments. The census provides the basis for federal planning as it relates to population needs for the next decade. An undercount resulting from lower response rates means decreased investment, particularly in underserved communities and may not accurately reflect the political will of the population.

While this may sounds like a civics lesson, there is a direct impact to Nurture KC families beyond the political. The Mother and Child Health Services Block Grant is a federal-state partnership sharing the mission of improving the health and lives of the underserved. Two of the criteria for funding are size and income of the local population. This funding is critical to meet these goals: 
  • Reducing infant deaths
  • Ensuring that quality health care is provided to mothers and children
  • Increasing the number of low-income children who receive health assessments, diagnostic care and treatment
  • Providing prenatal care

Another program that relies on the census to help determine funding allocation is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Knowing how many eligible children live in an area is necessary to receiving adequate SNAP benefits that are so critical to accessible, healthy food for the families we serve.

COVID-19 has presented a challenge in getting an accurate population count as door-to-door census outreach has been limited. The census deadline has been moved up to September 30, meaning less time to provide the information. The decreased response is especially felt in underserved communities as they are more likely to be skeptical of how the information may be used. Kansas City is no exception to this trend and our response rate lags behind the 2010 rate. 

Please join me in reaching out to the communities you serve and get them counted! Our community’s health depends on it.

Tracy Russell,
Executive Director, Nurture KC
Pharmacists can now give vaccines during COVID-19 pandemic

Good news to make immunizations more accessible, keep children on track and empower the public with options to protect their health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced state-licensed pharmacists can now order and administer FDA-approved vaccines to those ages 3 to 18 (subject to certain requirements) during the coronavirus pandemic.

This change was made possible through a third amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to: "increase access to lifesaving childhood vaccines and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks as children across the United States return to daycare, preschool and school," according to HHS.

Alex Azar, HHS Secretary, said this action "means easier access to lifesaving vaccines for our children, as we seek to ensure immunization rates remain high during the COVID-19 pandemic." For more information visit:
Please share Nurture KC's new flipbooks

We are asking for your help to spread the message of:
  • Who we are
  • What we do
  • Who we support

It's easy to do so with our new flipbooks, which provide this snapshot overview. These online brochures let you virtually turn the pages, and others can gain an understanding of our organization in just minutes. Here are the links to share:

We appreciate your partnership in so many ways, including passing on our mission to others like this. It has never been more critical to our success than now!
Getting ready for back to school

Although school this year looks different than ever before, children's immunizations still must be up-to-date.

Here are the vaccination requirements for Kansas and Missouri schools, which are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

This substantiated report shows a troubling drop in the ordering and administration of routine pediatric vaccines as a result of families staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare professionals and families need to work together to ensure children get caught up or stay on track with vaccines. Here are some resources, provided by the CDC, to reinforce the importance of maintaining routine immunizations during the pandemic.
Nurture KC is becoming a trusted source for media

Our Executive Director, Tracy Russell, recently talked with Flatland -- KC's PBS digital magazine -- about how to improve the birthing experience and outcomes for Black mothers.

Here's an excerpt from the article: "With the rates of mothers and babies dying in Kansas and Missouri climbing and the rise in COVID-19 cases, agencies have tried to help. One example is the Healthy Start Grant program by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Healthy Start has operated for around 25 years and has launched 101 projects in 34 states. The program focuses care in communities with high infant and maternal mortality rates, and limited access to care and resources.

'Our needs are so very fundamental and they have to be met,' said Tracy Russell, executive director of Nurture KC, a Healthy Start grantee. Oftentimes, the mothers’ health has been overlooked pre- and post-partum, she said."


To our new members: Kathleen Mohn and Kelley Johnson
To these organizations:
Platte County Health Department:
Benefactor Level ($1,000)

Unified Government of Wyandotte County Health Department:
Benefactor Level ($1,000)

The Family Conservancy:
Donor Level ($250)
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Kansas City MO 64111