April 2023 Update

April marks both Black Maternal Health Awareness Week and Minority Health Month. While it is so important to spotlight the disparate, often preventable outcomes for Black women, bringing notice to the issue is only the beginning. There is substantial work being done in Kansas City to reverse these outcomes in a meaningful way and address broader policies that help or hinder these efforts.

Through Healthy Start and Promise 1000, Nurture KC delivers education, services, and resources to bend the trend for Black mothers in Kansas City and their children. Our work does not happen in a vacuum. It is a collaborative effort among many partners moving in tandem to help families thrive.

At a state level there is promising movement in recognizing the importance of health coverage for our most vulnerable mothers. Kansas has taken the step of extending postpartum coverage to one year and is in conversations to cover doula services for mothers utilizing Medicaid. Unfortunately, expanded Medicaid remains elusive in Kansas as one of ten remaining states that hasn’t adopted this life-saving policy. Missouri has expanded Medicaid via referendum but has not yet extended postpartum coverage for mothers on Medicaid.

While there is some recognition of the importance of health care for an underserved population, there is also a disconnect when it comes to viewing these disparate outcomes through a racial lens. Diversity, equity and inclusion prohibitions have support in both states. At a local level we must continue to make the connection between race and wellbeing every month of the year and not just in April.

Tracy Russell

Executive Director, Nurture KC

Access Our 2022 Annual Report

Did you know Nurture KC has the largest footprint in the KC metro area for serving maternal and infant health? Read our latest Annual Report at nurturekc.org/annual-report to learn about our public policy impact, financials, community outreach, partners, Board of Directors and our programs - including Healthy Start, Mid America Immunization Coalition (MAIC), Fetal Infant Morality Review (FIMR) and Promise 1000.

Last Fall, Nurture KC brought Promise 1000 under our umbrella. Utilizing a home visiting, collective impact model, Promise 1000 provides wrap-around services, similar to Healthy Start, to ensure family wellbeing. Learn about the program's Home Visiting Agencies, why it's successful and who it serves.

Please share our Annual Report with your networks. It's impactful and spreads our brand's awareness when others see the significant work we do to help KC families and make a positive difference in community health.

Sharing Maternal Health Insights

Nurture KC Executive Director, Tracy Russell, and Healthy Start Director, Shannon Williams, presented at this month's Maternal Health Alliance Conference sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. They discussed how social determinants of health (income, education, job and food security, access to health care, etc.) impact maternal health and our practices that play a critical role in our moms' physical and mental health.

You can learn more at maternalhealthalliance.vfairs.com.

'Kansas Lawmakers Attempt One More Bite at Anti-Vaccination Apple'

This week Republican House and Senate negotiators made a fresh attempt to cobble together a bill restraining power of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and county health officials to issue public mandates in response to spread of infectious disease.

The proposed deal — both Democrats on the six-person negotiating committee said they wouldn’t vote for it — would drop a Senate GOP plan to exempt businesses, schools and childcare facilities from routine vaccination regulations and end the policy of vaccinating college dormitory students for meningitis.

Our Executive Director, Tracy Russell, is quoted throughout this Kansas Reflector article on both the content of the anti-vaccination legislation as well as the legislative process to try and push reform at the Capitol.

“None of the components of the (Senate) bill received a hearing in the House and ultimately the conference committee does not include conferees from the House health committee, sidestepping potential opposition to this legislation,” Russell said.

She said the Legislature should vote down anti-vaccination bills that ignored the majority of Kansans committed to protecting the public from preventable disease.

“Why would we jeopardize a fundamental expectation that our government will protect us from disease? Where is the clamor for this action?” Russell said. “Make no mistake, if approved, this will galvanize continued attempts to eliminate required vaccination, putting our children and the vulnerable at risk.”

Membership News


Welcome new member, Payton Miles

Thank you to these organizations for renewing their memberships,

both at the Benefactor level:

University of Kansas Health System

The University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC)

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