How to level the playing field for Black and Hispanic new moms

National speaker and Black maternal mortality advocate, Saleemah McNeil, is coming to KC

Kansas City, Mo., July 13, 2020 – Nurture KC helps moms and babies across the KC metro area get off to a Healthy Start (our flagship program) in life. Our annual meeting on “Addressing Maternal Mortality: Driving Data into Action” is on July 17 from 8:30 a.m. to noon via Zoom. This event is free, open to the public and also will be attended by healthcare professionals.

Our headline presenter is Saleemah McNeil – Black maternal mortality advocate and national speaker. She helps families of color heal from traumatic birth experiences and transition into parenthood. Her work allows families to thrive, not just survive, using an anti-racism and trauma-sensitive framework.

“Black women are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than white women. The main reason is racism,” says McNeil, Reproductive Psychotherapist and Founder/CEO of Oshun Family Center. “We can combat this with allyship, solidarity and anti-racism training. I’ll be sharing my birth story and how my ‘Maternal Wellness Village’ program is working to reduce Black maternal mortality.”

We are also proud to feature these presenters (see agenda for times and more information):

  • Sharla Smith, PhD, MPH, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita “Surviving Pregnancy: The Silent Tragedy of Maternal Mortality Disparities”
  • Karen Florio, DO, Saint Luke’s Health System “Caring for the Pregnant Patient with Congenital Heart Disease”
  • Mary Ann Lytle, LMSW, North Kansas City Hospital “Postpartum Depression: Impact on Mental Health and Maternal Mortality”
  • Traci Johnson, MD, FACOG, Truman Medical Center “Are We Our Sister’s Keeper?”
  • Ashlie Otto, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services “Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) & related Missouri Legislative Initiative”

“This event is important for our area because Missouri ranks 44th and Kansas ranks 26th in the nation for maternal deaths. We can do much better,” says Tracy Russell, Executive Director of Nurture KC. “In order to make progress and literally save more moms’ lives, we first have to understand the data – including how systematic racism plays a role – then find solutions to improve local birth outcomes.”

About Nurture KC

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. Check out our web site at and visit us on Facebook and Twitter. Nurture KC is located at 1111 W. 39th Street, Suite 100, KC, MO 64111.