Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
For the last two years, Nurture KC’s Annual Meeting has focused on maternal mortality, a worst-case scenario in which Missouri ranks 7th from the bottom in occurrence. Our focus for this year’s meeting is on the more common incidence of maternal morbidity or a “near miss” during or after pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines maternal morbidity as “the unintended process of labor and delivery that results in significant short-term or long-term consequences to a woman’s health.”

There is one incident of severe maternal morbidity for every 173 births, leading to 50,000 cases each year in the United States. For every maternal death, there are 70 instances of maternal morbidity. As with infant and maternal death, morbidity disproportionately impacts black women, who experience this at a rate double that of white women. There are twenty-one clinical indicators of maternal morbidity which tell only part of the story. 

Mental well-being is intertwined with physical health and access to mental health care is often less attainable. While mental health issues are not among the 21 indicators, addressing these needs is a vital part of improving the health of our mothers. Dr. Tamela Ross has piloted a group counseling program for our Healthy Start moms experiencing perinatal mood disorders. Dr. Ross will be featured at the Annual Meeting as we focus not just on defining the problem, but put forward tangible strategies to improve outcomes. We will also hear from a doula and midwife panel with one-on-one experience helping mothers through the birth process and making it a peaceful and rewarding one.

In addition to direct service, there are policy and systems changes that must occur to implement a change in culture that is necessary if we are to truly make progress in valuing the health and lives of our mothers. While there has been a spotlight on maternal health for a few years, the corresponding action has not been quick to follow. Please join us as we begin the hard work of prioritizing women’s health in Kansas and Missouri.

Tracy Russell
Executive Director, Nurture KC
Don't miss our Annual Meeting

Register to attend Nurture KC’s Annual Meeting on July 21: "Identifying the Problems, Practices and Partnerships to Improve Maternal Morbidity."

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Karen Florio with St. Luke’s Hospital. She will be discussing the HOPE Registry at St. Luke’s, implicit bias and how clinicians can push for culture change among their peers. There also will be an "Empowering Moms" doula and midwife panel and "The Mind Body Connection" presentation by Dr. Tamela Ross. To see the full agenda, learn more and register, visit

Anyone is welcome – community members, health care providers, case managers, policy makers and more. This is a FREE Continuing-Education (CE) eligible event for active members of Nurture KC. For an annual fee of $35, you can become a member of Nurture KC or you can renew your membership if needed. For non-members, the fee to attend is $25 and you pay when you register.
Nurture KC's team is growing

We are excited to welcome Anna Gordon as our newest Community Health Worker, supporting families in our Healthy Start program. Anna has a passion to serve others. Learn more about her at
Healthy Start kids benefitting from your support

The Healthy Start program is the backbone of Nurture KC's mission to reduce infant mortality and improve family health. Here are some of the sweet kids in our program. We work one-on-one with their parents to provide support, education and resources. We're so proud of these families, and thought our Nurture KC members would enjoy seeing this video. Click play below.

Learn more about Healthy Start at

WELCOME ... To new members Aeriole Hext, Chelsie Duckworth, Sara Whitaker, Cindy Olson-Burgess, Jennifer Marks,
Priscilla Whisler and Kelsey Thompson.

THANK YOU ... To Victoria Smith and Elizabeth Elling
         for renewing their memberships.
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