Adults, infants and children benefit greatly from WIC. But not all residents are familiar with the WIC Program.

Many people do not realize they are eligible for WIC services, even if they are working. They might be unaware of all that is provided: the health and nutrition one-on-one discussions, the array of educational group sessions, the breastfeeding support and the nutrition counseling for participants with special health needs.

Residents might not know that WIC educators make referrals to a variety of community agencies and services.. They might not know the variety of food WIC checks provide or how to use our WIC food checks at grocery stores.

Our Outreach and Provider Relations staff educate the community about WIC, collaborate with community based organizations, meet with health providers and make hospital visits to women who have just delivered their babies.

Staff Our 10-person team, referred to as Community Heath Outreach Workers, are certified WIC nutrition assistants with extensive knowledge of nutrition; pregnancy; breastfeeding; women’s, infants’ and children’s health, and local resources. Of them, seven are certified lactation educators who received their training and certification from the UCLA Lactation Education Extension Program.

Community Events Our team members participate in community events, including health fairs, which provide opportunities to share WIC information with residents.

Presentations Our staff make presentations about WIC benefits to a variety of community based organizations. Usually these organizations focus on the same people we do: pregnant women, post partum women, infants and young children. These organizations are located in our service area, which includes portions of SPA 6 and SPA 7. The community based organizations include Head Start programs, schools, municipal offices, churches and others.

Collaborating with community based organizations enables our agency to educate and heighten awareness about WIC. At times we share information about their services with our staff and our WIC participants. In some cases members of community based organizations refer residents to our WIC program.

Health Providers Our team visits doctors’ offices and medical clinics at least three times a year, providing literature and WIC referral forms. Our team members answer questions about WIC and our services, and encourage health professionals to refer all their patients to WIC. They explain that health professionals do not need to assess their patients for eligibility; WIC does that.

Local Hospitals Our certified lactation educators, who are also trained as WIC nutrition assistants, visit mothers who have just given birth at St. Francis Medical Center and the Downey campus of PIH Health. They offer breastfeeding support and share information about WIC. Our staff also attend baby showers for pregnant women planning to deliver at these hospitals, which further spreads the word about WIC.

Advocacy Throughout the nation, the WIC Program receives its funding from the US Department of Agriculture and is dependent on Congress for maintaining or increasing the amount of financial support. Members of our Outreach team periodically travel to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to educate legislators and their staff about WIC services and participants. They are the voice of WIC at the local, state and federal levels.

Contacting Us To reach an Outreach team member with a question or request, please contact:

Charlene Walters, BA, CLE
Outreach and Provider Relations Supervisor
(323) 757-7244 ext. 298
cwalters@slahp.org

Maria Padilla-Castro, BS
Chief, Outreach and Provider Relations
(323) 905-1252
mpadilla-castro@slahp.org