December 2022 Update

Every December, I reflect on the year’s activities and impact, while looking forward to what next year holds for Nurture KC. The consistency and reliability that has been a hallmark of Nurture KC in our pursuit to improve maternal and infant health in Kansas City is always balanced with the need to evolve and advance our thinking and services to best serve families every year. Here’s how those complementary goals played out in 2022:

Healthy Start

54 toddlers graduated from Healthy Start last September -- our first in-person celebration in a few years. The happy faces of children and parents concluded more than 18 months of close interaction and guidance between community health workers and families as they move on to their next milestones. We continue to meet and often surpass our 700 served requirement along with the vast majority of benchmark goals that makes Healthy Start a flagship program here and across the nation. This year, we provided transportation in getting families to their community health worker meetings, medical appointments and grocery store outings as a critical piece of access to health. Our community health nurse, serving 25 of our high-risk moms, came in-house, providing critical care and education to our moms who need it most. In September, we rolled out free doula services to 25 of our moms during the next year. This vital service gives moms a necessary support during a vulnerable time and will have tangible impact on their birth experience and outcomes for mother and baby.

Fetal Infant Mortality Review Committee (FIMR)

The Kansas City FIMR continues to examine fetal and infant deaths in Kansas City, formulating recommendations among the review team. Over the last year the FIMR Community Action Team (CAT) took on the project of coordinating metro hospitals’ efforts to achieve Cribs for Kids safe sleep certification. Unsafe sleep is the leading driver of infant death in Kansas City, adversely impacting Black babies significantly. To date, Providence Medical Center and Liberty Hospital have achieved certification with several other hospitals gearing up for this task in 2023.

Mid America Immunization Coalition (MAIC)

MAIC took advocacy to a whole new level in 2022, commissioning a poll in Kansas gauging support for the childhood wellness vaccine schedule. 95% of those polled support the existing vaccine schedule as crucial to protecting the health of our children. The poll was instrumental in providing a counterpoint for decisionmakers bombarded with anti-vaccine messaging and pressure. Five states are in the process of replicating MAIC’s poll. MAIC built upon the annual flu clinics, expanding the number of locations and giving a record 700 flu shots.

Finally, Nurture KC was part of a Kansas effort to inform legislators on the importance of postpartum extended coverage. The successful adoption of the policy provides maternal Medicaid coverage for one year, up from 60 days.

I am grateful for the past year and look forward to our future!

Tracy Russell

Executive Director, Nurture KC

'Advocates: Missouri has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the US'

Why should Missouri lawmakers approve a postpartum coverage extension for new moms on Medicaid? Our Executive Director, Tracy Russell, talked with FOX4 News this month and shared "the story within the story." Here is the article:

Women across Missouri are pushing for lawmakers to approve a postpartum coverage extension for new moms on Medicaid.

“The federal government, when they passed the American Rescue Plan Act, said that states could amend their Medicaid states plan to extend coverage to moms on Medicaid to 12 months,” Casey Hanson, director of outreach for Kids Win Missouri, told FOX4 Friday.

Republican State Sen. Elaine Gannon pre-filed the legislation for moms Thursday.

“Whether they’re facing postpartum depression issues or encountering some other health issue based on all the changes that have happened to their body, they’d be able to access that comprehensive health care through that period,” Gannon said.

The current coverage for moms on Medicaid lasts just two months. The pre-filed legislation calls for that postpartum extension for moms to go for a full year. 

“We rank in the bottom quarter,” said Executive Director for Nurture KC Tracy Russell, talking about the states’ maternal mortality rates.

Russell said Missouri ranks anywhere between 40th to 45th in the nation when it comes to that.

“There’s a story within a story here because if you look at the impact on Black mothers in particular, that disparity is stark,” she said.

Russell said Black mothers, according to the latest report in Missouri, are dying at a rate triple of what their white counterparts are. Lawmakers filed similar pieces of legislation last year, but they died in the Senate.

There’s no word whether something like this will pass in 2023 or not. 

“Missouri has already taken on extended Medicaid in the last few years,” Russell said. “This is a very small amount of money in comparison to that that could have great impact.”

Nurture KC works with new moms in the urban core on both sides of state line.

“If you look at the actions of Kansas a year ago, Kansas passed this,” Russell continued. “I think we’re seeing more and more of these midwestern states move in this direction.”

Incoming Missouri Senate President Pro Tem and Republican Caleb Rowden would not say Friday whether he thinks this initiative will pass. 

Access the article on the Fox4 News web site to share with others, or share our Facebook post on it.

Promoting Healthy Start

This month Maricela Sanchez, Community Health Worker at Nurture KC, talked with Kansas City Radio about our Healthy Start program and the families we serve. Watch the video (in Spanish).

Thank you to our Board

Our Board of Directors spread holiday cheer with gifts for some of our Healthy Start families. We appreciate their generosity and support.

We have added new Board members. See our full Board at

Giving Tuesday Results + Holiday Giving Campaign

We raised more than $4,000 this Giving Tuesday thanks, in part, to Brown Button Estate Sales matching the first $500 raised.

After Giving Tuesday, we conducted a Holiday Giving campaign on social media which is taking place through year end. There is still time to give at and share our social media posts below.

We appreciate everyone who has donated to Nurture KC!

Link to this Facebook post.

Link to this Facebook post.

Happy New Year from our Nurture KC staff

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