Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
As I was listening to our annual meeting presenters make the case for the drivers of maternal mortality from personal experience to professional expertise, my emotions vacillated between appreciation for their insight and knowledge to frustration that maternal mortality is still such a problem nationally and locally. Since our annual meeting, I would add another reaction to this list: hope. 

The reason for my optimism is the opportunity to bring real change to the health of both moms and babies through Medicaid Expansion. Amendment 2 is on the ballot in Missouri on August 4. If approved, 230,000 Missourians would gain access to health care, becoming the 37 th state to do so. Many of these are workers who do not have employer-sponsored coverage and lack the income to purchase health insurance. Currently, Missouri ranks among the lowest of states when it comes to income eligibility for Medicaid at a limit of $373 per month for a family of three. Under expansion, the income threshold would rise to $30,000 a year for a family of three, making coverage available for many working families. 

As an organization representing pregnant women and children, we are often asked why we support Medicaid expansion when pregnant women are already eligible for Medicaid under expanded income guidelines applicable during pregnancy. The answer to that question is simple. The health of our mothers is important throughout their lives, not just during pregnancy. It is time to view health care through a lens of wellness rather than immediate care needs or sickness. If mothers are healthy before and after pregnancy, their lives and their children’s are much likelier to be healthy. 

The experience of other expansion states proves this point:
  • Expansion states have experienced a 50% greater decline in infant mortality than non-expansion states. This decline is greatest for Black babies.
  • Women without health insurance are 3 to 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy complications than those who are insured.

The coalition supporting Medicaid expansion is broad, diverse and extensive, bringing together rural and urban, business and nonprofit, young and old, underserved and establishment. While there are many economic benefits to expansion such as additional jobs and securing federal tax dollars for Missouri, Nurture KC’s support stems from the unprecedented impact expansion will have on the health and lives of the families we serve.  

Tracy Russell,
Executive Director, Nurture KC

Note: A shorter version of this letter was published as a Letter to the Editor in The Kansas City Star on July 30, 2020.
Annual Meeting resources now available

Thank you to everyone who joined our Annual Meeting on July 17: “Addressing Maternal Mortality: Driving Data into Action.” We had a fantastic turnout and covered a variety of topics.

All of our speakers' presentations are now available to Nurture KC members on our exclusive "Members Only" page on our web site. The page is password protected. If you have forgotten the password, please email Shannon Dimaggio, our Administrative Assistant. If you missed the event, there is a full recording also available on our Members Only page.

One last "thank you" to our incredible speakers:
  • Saleemah McNeil, Maternal Mortality Advocate, Oshun Family Center
  • Sharla Smith, PhD, MPH, University of Kansas School of Medicine
  • Karen Florio, DO, Saint Luke’s Health System
  • Mary Ann Lytle, LMSW, North Kansas City Hospital
  • Traci Johnson, MD, FACOG, Truman Medical Center
  • Ashlie Otto, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Welcome Nurture KC's newest Board member

Kelsey Thompson serves as the Executive Director of the Missouri Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (MOAAP). With over 1,100 members across the state, MOAAP is dedicated to promoting the health of Missouri’s children through advocacy, education and collaboration. Prior to her role with MOAAP, Kelsey served at the most senior levels of Missouri state government, managing scheduling and operations for Governor Jay Nixon.

Prior to joining the governor’s office, she worked multiple election cycles focusing on fundraising, outreach, management and operations. Kelsey is a native of Monroe City, Missouri, and received both her BS & MS from the University of Missouri in Columbia. In addition to her role on the Nurture KC board, she currently serves as President of the University of Missouri Friends of the Library Council. Kelsey and her husband Danny live in Kansas City, MO and are the proud parents of two young boys.
Please share our family immunization event

Nurture KC has partnered with KC Healthy Kids to host virtual "Family Engagement Nights" this summer. All events are free, open to all families and take place via Zoom.

We would like your help to promote our next event:
"Immunizations: Protecting Yourself & Others"
Tuesday, August 11 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Zoom Call: 1-646-558-8656 (Meeting ID: 882 2253 0569)

Families will learn how vaccines are safe and effective, and also will receive (for free) an interactive e-learning module on immunization. We appreciate your support in sharing this valuable information with your networks!
Nurture KC's immunization stories are making an impact!

Last month, we shared with you three personal pro-immunization stories that are housed on our web site's Immunization page. We promoted one of those stories, featuring Andy Marso, on Nurture KC's social media channels in July. We received a huge response on Facebook -- more than 9,000 people saw the post with 446 reactions/engagements and 64 shares -- which is a record for our Facebook channel. Here is the direct link to Andy's post if you want to check it out or share it. Personal stories, like this one, make a difference in spreading awareness about why immunization is so critical. Here is a screenshot of the post ...
Mark Your Calendar

MAIC Steering Committee Meeting
August 13 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.


To new member : Kimberly Spearman
To: Theresa Rodgers Campbell for renewing your membership

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