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With several school districts heading back to in-person learning this week, the time is right to remind the public to get their flu shots. Nurture KC is offering 10 free drive-through flu clinics throughout Kansas City in partnership with Walgreen’s, which has provided the vaccines. The next clinic is Wednesday, Oct. 7, at St. James United Methodist in Kansas City, Mo. See the entire clinic schedule here.

“Each October the Mid America Immunization Coalition (MAIC), which is an entity of Nurture KC, coordinates free flu clinics for underserved populations within the KC metro,” says Tracy Russell, Executive Director of Nurture KC. “This effort has never been more important than this flu season with COVID-19 cases on the rise across Kansas City. It’s a scary scenario. We want to help people prepare and want everyone to have the chance to be vaccinated if they choose. Quite simply, vaccines save lives.”

Nurture KC shows how immunizations save lives through a new immunization story bank on its web site featuring these local stories:

Andy Marso – “I almost died from Meningitis”
Jenny Dioszeghy – “My infant got Measles”
Curtisha Anderson – “Lupus weakens my immune system and puts me at risk”

“The bacterial infection had released toxins which were burning through my blood vessels. Blood could not get to my extremities. Three weeks later, when I woke up (from a coma), my limbs were in bad shape – essentially rotting away while still being attached to my body,” says Marso. “I’ll never forget when my bandages were removed and I saw what was left of my hands and feet for the first time. Awful doesn’t begin to describe it … Nothing could prepare me for the experience.”

Nurture KC promotes family health through community planning, education, advocacy and collaboration with organizations addressing infant and maternal mortality, immunization and child safety. Nurture KC is committed to health equity for all families – regardless of race, place or circumstance.

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See what we’ve been up to this month in our September Update, including: Releasing our Fall Flu Clinic schedule across KC Kicking-off our Safe Sleep for Baby campaign Being featured on KCTV5 News Kansas City Serving families in our Healthy Start program Partnering with Children’s Mercy to keep kids safe If you are not yet […]

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Two of Nurture KC’s trusted partners – Children’s Mercy and Truman Medical Centers – are hosting a virtual conference on the emotional well-being of mothers during pregnancy and in the first years after childbirth. This event will take place Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is for pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, OB/Gyns, nurse practitioners, child-care providers and anyone working with parents and young children.

Registration is free and can be completed at: http://bit.ly/PerinatalConf2020.

Learn more about this event.

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Infant mortality rates have declined, but racial disparities still exist. Tracy Russell, of Nurture KC, and Dr. Traci Johnson, of Truman Medical Centers, share how to bridge that gap in this in-depth story by KCTV-5. Data from the National Academy of Sciences and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show Black babies are 2 to 3 times more likely to survive when cared for by Black doctors. It’s not necessarily intentional racism at work; rather cultural and racial similarities can help doctors recognize subtle cues that can lead to lives saved.

Russell says expanding Medicaid in Missouri also will allow better access to healthcare. “States that have expanded Medicaid have a 50% greater reduction in infant mortality than in states that fail to act,” she said.

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See what we have been up to this month in our monthly newsletter, including:

• Discover how the 2020 census impacts Nurture KC
• Access KS and MO immunization requirements for back to school
• Share our new organizational flipbooks
• See Nurture KC in the news with Flatland
• Learn how pharmacists can now give vaccines during COVID-19

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Good news to make immunizations more accessible, keep children on track and empower the public with options to protect their health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced state-licensed pharmacists can now order and administer FDA-approved vaccines to those ages 3 to 18 (subject to certain requirements) during the coronavirus pandemic.

This change was made possible through a third amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to: “increase access to lifesaving childhood vaccines and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks as children across the United States return to daycare, preschool and school,” according to HHS.

Alex Azar, HHS Secretary, said this action “means easier access to lifesaving vaccines for our children, as we seek to ensure immunization rates remain high during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information visit: https://bit.ly/2FULTuz

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Exciting news: We’re pleased Medicaid Expansion has passed in Missouri! Now more families, such as the ones we serve, will have access to health care. The Kansas City Star reports: “The state’s urban areas voted overwhelmingly in favor of expanded Medicaid. The rural areas voted against it by wide margins. It was in the suburbs where the amendment ultimately prevailed.” Read the full article here .

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Nurture KC is hiring a Strategic Initiatives Director (click for full job description).

This position will direct the Mid-America Immunization Coalition (MAIC) and assist with public policy efforts. Applicants should send their resume and a letter of interest to info@nurturekc.org. 

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A letter from Nurture KC’s Executive Director …

As I was listening to our annual meeting presenters make the case for the drivers of maternal mortality from personal experience to professional expertise, my emotions vacillated between appreciation for their insight and knowledge to frustration that maternal mortality is still such a problem nationally and locally.  Since our annual meeting, I would add another reaction to this list:  hope.

The reason for my optimism is the opportunity to bring real change to the health of both moms and babies through Medicaid Expansion.  Amendment 2 is on the ballot in Missouri on August 4.  If approved, 230,000 Missourians would gain access to health care, becoming the 37th state to do so.  Many of these are workers who do not have employer-sponsored coverage and lack the income to purchase health insurance.  Currently, Missouri ranks among the lowest of states when it comes to income eligibility for Medicaid at a limit of $373 per month for a family of three.  Under expansion, the income threshold would rise to $30,000 a year for a family of three, making coverage available for many working families. (Click below to read more.)

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