Maria Padilla-Castro is Chief of WIC Outreach and Provider Relations.

Maria joined our staff in 1988 as supervisor of the Compton WIC Center. Strongly interested in nutrition, its impact on health and serving underprivileged families, she had previously earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and food administration from Cal State Long Beach.

Maria transitioned from site supervisor to our coordinator of the Integrated Statewide Information System (ISIS), the California WIC electronic database. In collaboration with other staff, she implemented ISIS at all of our WIC centers. Until then, all participant information had been recorded on paper records. The new system not only was far more efficient, but also enabled us to maintain accurate and current records of participants, to analyze important data and to make better-informed decisions.

In 1999 she planned and organized a central WIC telephone office, which has enabled us to streamline our appointment system and provide information to the public more effectively than before.

In 2002, Maria was promoted to head the WIC Outreach and Provider Relations Department.

Currently she is responsible for the operations of three divisions. Outreach staff promote WIC and recruit participants in eight cities. Provider relations staff bring updated WIC information and materials to more than 250 medical providers during quarterly in-person visits. Vendor liaison staff provide technical assistance to more than 200 state WIC-authorized vendors in our service area. Our central telephone office handles approximately 30,000 calls per month to and from WIC participants and the general public.

Maria is dedicated to educating low-income, eligible women about WIC. The grassroots efforts of her staff and the partnerships she develops with community leaders and partner agencies contribute significantly to the number of mothers and children in South Los Angeles reaping the benefits of our WIC program.