Year in Review
In December of 2019, we had just changed our name from Mother & Child Health Coalition to Nurture KC, relocated our offices to the Loretto, and began a re-branding campaign including a new web site and social media strategy. Turns out, those tasks were just the beginning of a year-long effort to respond to the needs of the families we serve as we sought to reduce infant and maternal mortality in Kansas City. Here is a rundown of 2020 by program:
Kansas City Healthy Start Initiative (KCHSI)
Under the new leadership of Healthy Start Director Shannon Williams, we asked our families what they needed most during the pandemic and tried to respond to those needs. Food scarcity was a common thread and we took on this challenge from several angles. In a partnership with Truman Medical Centers, we were able to provide fresh produce to our families over several weeks. With the help of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund, we provided all 237 of our families with grocery store gift cards to directly and quickly provide assistance. While I may not say this in any other year, our ability to conduct business as usual was quite a feat! I am so proud of our NKC/Healthy Start staff and partners at Swope and Samuel Rodgers who never stopped providing the regular services on which our families depend. We simply adapted to deliver diapers, provide cribs and safe sleep training, and stay in regular contact with our families along with a host of other services and goods.
Mid-America Immunization Coalition (MAIC)
MAIC also saw new leadership with Shelby Ostrom joining our team as Strategic Initiatives Coordinator. MAIC developed and launched a public awareness campaign around the importance of vaccination that included billboards and a bank of disease survivor stories housed on Nurture KC’s web site. Not to be outdone by Nurture KC, MAIC also adopted a new logo as part of a re-branding effort. Shelby jumped right in and coordinated our fall flu clinics and is spearheading our efforts to spread the message on the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine. Look for MAIC’s message to emphasize health equity and vaccination as key to improving health outcomes.
Fetal Infant Mortality Review Committee (FIMR)
FIMR expanded the ZIP codes that are reviewed to capture any emergent trends in fetal and infant death. FIMR brings medical, community, and social expertise together to provide the big picture necessary to combat infant death. FIMR adopted specific areas of action for the next year, committed to bending the trends through thought that becomes action. Katherine Campbell continues to lead this effort, and now serves on state and national entities dedicated to the same mission.
Nurture KC has engaged on local, state, and national policies designed to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. The most significant of these was passage of amendment 2 in Missouri, which expanded Medicaid eligibility. Nurture KC is a member of the Medicaid expansion campaign in Kansas too, participating in a round table with Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers to emphasize the impact on our families. At this writing, Nurture KC is part of the effort to ban flavored tobacco products in Kansas City, MO, the usage of which can lead to premature and low-birth weight babies.
As we look to 2021, Nurture KC will be rolling out additional services for our families as we look to build upon a foundation of health. I can’t wait for what the future brings! Happiest of holidays to you!
Executive Director, Nurture KC