Tracy Russell Executive Director Mother and Child Health Coalition
During my three and a half years at Nurture KC, I have preached the importance of politics and policy as a key driver of maternal and infant health, necessitating our advocacy. Today, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, this reality is driven home in the most painful of ways, with women losing bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom in an instant after 50 years of settled law. 

As an organization that aids pregnant women in navigating the system and circumstances to ensure healthy births, you might question our involvement in the right to choose abortion. It is precisely because of what we see daily – and the connection between reproductive freedom and maternal and infant health – that drives our belief that a great injustice has been done to women and families. The mothers we serve live in the ZIP codes of Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS with the highest rates of infant mortality in the metro. They are often the poorest of the poor, facing barriers in daily living that most of us take for granted. While this is a universal issue, the brunt of this decision will be borne by those least-advantaged, particularly Black families. Shannon Williams, Healthy Start Program Director, was interviewed by KSHB-41 News on this topic, which can be viewed here.

Missouri already ranks a dismal 44th nationally in maternal mortality, with a rate for Black mothers three times that of White mothers. Missouri is also one of the states that has a “trigger” law that essentially banned abortion as soon as the Supreme Court decision was released. This is against the backdrop of a legislative session in which lawmakers defeated an effort to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year, a policy that would truly value the lives of Missouri mothers and their children. 

Kansas will be the first state to vote on the question of maintaining reproductive freedom and protecting women’s health. On August 2, there is a ballot initiative that would place the authority to restrict/ban abortion with the legislature, reversing a Kansas Supreme Court decision that reinforced the constitutional right to privacy and abortion two years ago. A “no” vote on August 2 protects a woman’s right to choose while a “yes” vote allows what is anticipated to be a ban through legislative action next session. While many of us resent the fact that women’s health is a political issue, please vote! A woman’s life may depend on it. 

Tracy Russell
Executive Director, Nurture KC
Nurture KC's Annual Meeting Recap

Thank you to all our members and supporters who attended our Annual Meeting on June 22 entitled “Families First: Expanding our Approach to Wellness.” We are proud of all the meaningful content shared by our presenters, including:
Reagan Cussimanio, The University of Kansas Health System
Nurture KC Executive Director Report
Tracy Russell, Nurture KC
Keynote Speaker
Pamela Merritt, President of Medical Students for Choice

Expanding Access: Postpartum Medicaid Extension Panel
Kansas – David Jordan, United Methodist Health Ministry
Missouri – Casey Hanson, Kids Win Missouri
Nurturing Safe Sleep: Hospital Certification
Amy Sielaff, Children’s Mercy
Seabrin Jensen, MSN, RN, C-ONQS, Providence Medical Center
Tenants’ Rights and the Impact on Vulnerable Families 
Candace Ladd, Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom
Jane Pansing Brown, Housing and Community Development Department
Medicaid Eligibility during the Federal Health Emergency 
Mallory Arnold, Missouri Department of Senior Services
LaTonya Palmer, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Call to Action
Reagan Cussimanio and Tracy Russell 

For more details, members can check out our members-only web page at If you're a member and have forgotten the password, please email Erica Wilson at
Nurture KC staff at the Annual Meeting
NEW: Nurturing Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program

Why is Nurture KC on a mission to train hospital staff in safe sleep habits for babies? In Kansas City, unsafe sleep accounts for 16% of all infant deaths, and 24% of Black infant deaths. These deaths are preventable!

Watch this new video below explaining our Nurturing Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program. It also features our first "Nurturing Safe Sleep Champion" -- Providence Medical Center. Our goal is for every area hospital to complete this certification.
Congressman Cleaver's Town Hall on Maternal Mortality

Sadly, Missouri ranks 44th nationally for maternal mortality. Nurture KC took part in a Town Hall by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver on Combatting Maternal Mortality. Our Executive Director, Tracy Russell, shared how to improve the health of local moms, along with experts from Saint Luke's Health System, March of Dimes, the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Collaboration is key to move the needle and save moms' lives!
Nurture KC In Our Community
A sampling of events we participated in this month:
Nurture KC was proud to be a Health Expo vendor at the Juneteenth KC Heritage Festival.

Nurture KC was a
co-sponsor of the
7th Annual Celebrating Fathers: Strong Family Event. Our Healthy Start program celebrates the importance of fathers in maternal & child health.
Our Nurture KC team cheered on the Royals for a WIN on June 8!

It was a great afternoon filled with team bonding for our team who works hard to fulfill our mission.
Small Gestures Can Have Big Impact

In honor of Father's Day, we asked our Healthy Start families for pictures of our dads with their children. Wow ... what a response we received! We chose these three winners, at random, to receive gas cards.
WELCOME new members:
Kelsey Saragnese
Amy Stout
Tracy VanVlack
Glenda Sousa
Amy Gorton
Barb Wiman
Rona Roberts
Michelle Parkinson
THANK YOU to current members for renewing your membership:
Denise Dias
Donna O’Malley
Cindy Olson Burgess
Sara Whitaker 
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 metro area families. For detailed information about our programs, CLICK HERE.
1111 W. 39th Street, Ste 100
Kansas City, MO 64111