Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
Each year in the United States, we lose 600 to 900 mothers to pregnancy-related deaths and experience 65,000 near misses each year. Black mothers lose their lives at a rate that is triple that of white mothers. These deaths are the highest in the developed world and stand in stark contrast to declines in infant mortality.

Studies indicate that two out of three maternal deaths are preventable. A maternal death is defined as occurring during pregnancy (24%), on the day of delivery or within one week (34%), seven days to 42 days postpartum (19%) or from 43-365 days after delivery (24%). Leading factors include: cardiovascular disease, the top cause of death for Black mothers; hemorrhage, infection, embolism, cardiomyopathy, mental health, preeclampsia and eclampsia. What is driving such poor outcomes? It is a combination of factors, ranging from systems to chronic health conditions to a lack of emphasis on maternal health.

National Public Radio (NPR) and Pro Publica conducted an in-depth investigation into the causes and one of the key findings is the lack of systemic attention on maternal health from both a funding standpoint and recognition that protocols and policies do not prioritize or even recognize the warning signs that the mother may be in jeopardy. Of all federal and state block grants allocated for maternal and child health, only 6 percent is directed to the health of mothers. Even the Medicaid program often fails to prioritize mothers’ health by eliminating coverage at 60 days postpartum in many states, including Kansas and Missouri. 

As we consider the topics in need of our attention and focus for the Nurture KC annual meeting, the crisis of maternal mortality demands action. Please join us for our virtual annual meeting –  Addressing Maternal Mortality: Driving Data into Action – on July 17. Meeting details and the registration link are in the below news item.

Tracy Russell,
Executive Director, Nurture KC
Register for Nurture KC’s annual meeting

We are packing a lot into this year’s virtual annual meeting on “Addressing Maternal Mortality: Driving Data into Action.” It takes place July 17 from 8:30 to noon via Zoom. Register here.

Our headline presenter is Saleemah McNeil – Black maternal mortality advocate and national speaker. She helps families of color heal from traumatic birth experiences and transition into parenthood. Her work allows families to thrive, not just survive, using an anti-racism and trauma-sensitive framework.

We are also proud to feature these presenters:
  • Sharla Smith, PhD, MPH, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita – Surviving Pregnancy: The Silent Tragedy of Maternal Mortality Disparities
  • Karen Florio, DO, Saint Luke’s Health System – Cardiac Disease in Pregnancy: Caring for the Pregnant Patient with Congenital Heart Disease
  • Mary Ann Lytle, LMSW, North Kansas City Hospital – Postpartum Depression: Impact on Mental Health & Maternal Mortality
  • Traci Johnson, MD, FACOG, Truman Medical Center – Social Determinants and Maternal Mortality
  • Ashlie Otto, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services – Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) and related Missouri Legislative Initiative

Kansas Citians share their immunization stories

A personal story connects us and leaves an impression, often more than data or statistics. That’s why Nurture KC has added three local, pro-vaccination stories on our web site’s Immunization page in an easy-to-read Q&A format:

Please read these amazing stories and learn about these inspiring individuals. We will be promoting these stories on our social media channels to increase awareness about why immunization is so critical. We appreciate your help in spreading this important message!
Check out MAIC and Healthy Start flipbooks

As you know, two of Nurture KC’s main initiatives include the Healthy Start program and the Mid America Immunization Coalition (MAIC). Now each program is summarized in a new, online flipbook housed on our web site. These flipbooks give an excellent overview if you want to learn more or share with others:
CARES Act rewards generosity with significant tax deductions

Thanks to the CARES Act, whether you itemize or take the standard deduction on your tax return, you now have the ability to deduct $300 more by giving to Nurture KC. If you're in a position to give more, the CARES Act allows you to deduct up to 100 percent of your reported income. Check out this Forbes article to learn more.

(The CARES Act stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which was signed into law in March.)
Thank you to Greater Kansas City Community Foundation!

A new family in our Healthy Start program (pictured below) visits Nurture KC to pick up diapers and a Walmart gift card to buy groceries and essentials. ALL 237 families in our program received these gift cards through a grant from the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation -- via the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. We appreciate their support. We truly are stronger together.
Mark Your Calendar

MAIC Steering Committee Meeting
July 9 via Zoom
9 to 10:30 a.m.
Contact: Nate Girard

To our new member s: Linda Sinnett and Elizabeth Elling
To our members who recently renewed their memberships:
Meegan Trerice, Michelle Miller, Heather Gripka and Ashley Stumpenhaus
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