CinnaMoms + Kaiser Permanente Partnership

The CinnaMoms African American Breastfeeding and Motherhood Support Program is an accessible and welcoming service to parents that goes beyond PHFE WIC core services.

CinnaMoms is currently on their 3rd quarter of support circles. They offer culturally relevant information facilitated by qualified team of African American Certified Lactation Educators, Lactation Consultants, Nutritionists, and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors.

In partnership with Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills, CinnaMoms invites you to join a virtual breastfeeding support group held every first and third Thursday of the month, beginning January 2021.

The overarching goal is to increase virtual breastfeeding support for African American women and families. Throughout the year, the virtual support circles will feature guest appearances from Lactation Consultants throughout the region.

RSVP using this link here:

#cinnamoms #phfewic #KP #breastfeeding

National WIC Association Conference 2021

The National WIC Association (NWA) held its annual conference virtually on June 15-17th, 2021. This conference aimed to engage with its 1,500+ attendees, connect on WIC-related topics, and inspire attendees to strengthen their communities. The conference incorporated diversity and inclusion throughout the sessions and emphasized equitable access to nutritious foods and breastfeeding support to all WIC families.

PHFE WIC directors attended the conference to expand their professional skills and knowledge base about nutrition, breastfeeding, leadership, and much more to help PHFE WIC better serve its families.

Read about the PHFE WIC directors’ conference highlights and memorable quotes below!

Big highlight for me is that staff from USDA shared that the 2017 WIC Food Package recommendations have now started through the regulatory process, hooray! We can expect to see proposed changes posted in the Federal Register by the end of 2021 so that all of us can make our public comments so let’s get ready to do that!  While this does not mean we’ll have a revised food package this year, it’s wonderful to hear we are now on the road to changes ahead and increased choices for our WIC participants.

Highlight from Shannon Whaley, PhD, Deputy Director of Research and Evaluation

I really enjoyed attending the 2021 NWA Conference!  I especially loved the session called “FNS Tools and Resources,” and I was happy to hear that the new USDA BF Curricula training is ready and should be coming out to Local Agencies soon!  This new platform with the tiered learning levels will give us new tools to train staff on breastfeeding in creative and fun ways!

Highlight from Cindy Clapp, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Deputy Director of Breastfeeding Services

What do leaders look like?  You cannot find a leader by their title or even the letters by their name; you find a leader among their team because they live the mission.  Leaders see the value in setting and reaching goals but also understand there is no win unless every team member crosses the finish line.

Memorable quote by Margaret Page Saunders, MS, RDN, LDN at CEDA WIC Program shared by Anne Kennedy, MS, RDN, CLE, Deputy Director of Client Services

Happy Father’s day!

WIC recognizes the important role that fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, and other guardians play in caring for kids. Dads are a source of so much selfless love, unconditional support, and timeless wisdom for the WIC family.

Despite the WIC name, fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, father figures, and other guardians have always been a part of the WIC family. WIC celebrates and appreciates the nurturers and caregivers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and guardians of our children.

Our Racial & Health Equity Progress Report

As public health professionals serving a diverse population of pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, new parents, and their families, we at WIC acknowledge that racism is a public health crisis that directly affects our work and the families we serve. Systemic racism affects many communities, especially Black mothers and infants, whose chances of surviving pregnancy and birth are disproportionately lower than their white counterparts. This has invigorated our commitment to dismantling systemic racism and fostering an anti-racist and socially just environment.

Actions We Are Taking

For our participants:

WIC Cinnamoms
  • CinnaMoms was created in 2015 as a special space to promote and support breastfeeding while celebrating the traditions and culture of the Black families at PHFE WIC. CinnaMoms hosts monthly virtual support circles to facilitate culturally relevant and meaningful connections and discussions about maternal and postpartum health, support systems, and beliefs.
  • Black Breastfeeding Week (BBW) was August 25-31st. The 2020 celebration took place virtually with the theme of “Revive, Restore, and Reclaim.”

For our staff:

PHFE WIC Staff- We are Juneteenth!
  • In July 2020, the Council on Racial and Equity (CORE) was assembled at PHFE WIC to evaluate and inform next steps for racial justice within our organization.
    • This team informed a list of short, medium, and long-term goals for educational trainings, professional development, and exploring inclusivity in all avenues of the agency.
    • CORE collaborated with other WIC agencies across Southern California during Black Breastfeeding Week to address breastfeeding barriers that Black families face.
  • PHFE WIC has ensured interview panelists were racially diverse while hiring.
  • Our parent company, Heluna Health has formed a cross-agency Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup to address systemic racism.
  • In June 2021, staff celebrated and commemorated Juneteenth with a special educational presentation created by members of CORE.
  • In May 2021, the CORE team at PHFE WIC unveiled the new Health and Racial Equity page on the company’s intranet to be a resource available to employees.
PHFE WIC’s Heath and Racial Equity Intranet Resource
  • On May 25, 2021, PHFE WIC staff gathered virtually for the Inaugural Day of Remembrance to remember the names of Black people killed by police, and reflect on how we plan to move forward in our anti-racist journeys individually and as an organization.
  • PHFE WIC staff attended California WIC Association’s Annual conference May 3-7, 2021. The theme was “Strengthening and Supporting California’s Families”. Staff heard Arthur James, MD, FACOG speak on Equity in the Opportunity to Survive the 1st Day of Life…a dream deferred.
  • Following the Global Cultural calendar developed by Heluna Health’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup, PHFE WIC staff created and shared presentations to educate and celebrate Chinese New Year, Black HIstory Month, Arab American Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Cesar Chavez Day, Harriet Tubman Day, Juneteenth, and Greek and Irish Heritage Month.
  • In November 2020, all PHFE WIC staff attended a virtual implicit bias workshop with Dr. Bryant Marks. As part of the workshop, staff took an implicit association test to become aware of their own biases. The workshop gave actionable ways to work toward racial equity.
Sarah Fanta interviewing Austin Channing Brown, author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made of Whiteness at virtual CWA conference in August 2020
  • In August 2020, staff attended the virtual California WIC Association conference where Sarah Fanta, Supervising Nutritionist and member of the C.O.R.E Advisory Committee, interviewed Austin Channing Brown.
    • Austin Channing Brown is a speaker, writer, and media producer, who provided inspirational leadership on racial justice in America and is the author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made of Whiteness.
  • In July 2020, PHFE WIC held an all-staff meeting with the topic of cultural sensitivity, racism, and recognizing and preventing micro-aggressions lead by PHFE WIC Senior Health Equity Manager Dr. Toncé Jackson
    • All staff watched four video conversations on race and completed a thought-provoking worksheet to help process information and enhance learning.
    • The group explored micro-aggressions and micro-affirmations through dialogue, videos, and examples.
  • In June 2020, Dr. Melissa Franklin of First 5 LA and Ms. Wenonah Valentine held a support group/healing space for Black staff as an opportunity to process, reflect, mobilize, and recommend next steps for the agency.
  • Juneteeth education for all staff
    • In June 2020, Staff independently viewed a PowerPoint presentation that included facts about Juneteeth, Black historical and current information, and links to the National African American Museum (NAAM) website.

This is only the beginning. Please check back periodically to learn about our most recent efforts to build equity and justice in our organization and community.

Recognizing and Celebrating Juneteenth

PHFE WIC, a program of Heluna Health joins the celebration of Juneteenth, the oldest national anniversary of the abolition of slavery. U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday, June 17 designating ‘Juneteenth,’ or June 19, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Read Heluna Health’s statement recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth here.

Read more about what we are doing at PHFE WIC to educate our employees and foster racial and health equity in our workplace and community.

PHFE WIC staff – We are Juneteenth!

More fruits & vegetables for WIC families are here!

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed by President Biden in March 2021 in response to COVID-19, allocated $490 million in additional funds to enhance WIC benefits for four months. These funds are going directly to WIC families in the form of increased fruit and vegetable benefits from June through September 2021.

Every WIC participant 12 months and older is getting $35 each month for fruit and vegetables June through September. Current WIC participants who have received June benefits can see the added dollar amount on their WIC Food Balance now!

During these four months, a family with a pregnant parent and two children receives $105 monthly for fruits and vegetables in addition to all their other WIC foods.

WIC families can use their increased fruit and vegetable benefit to buy dried, canned, frozen, and fresh fruits and vegetables that meet the WIC authorized requirements found on the Shopping Guide.

For new or returning WIC participants, signing up is easy! Text APPLY to 91997 or visit

A message to WIC participants

Spend your WIC benefits every month to help us help you! Using all of your benefits each month not only nourishes your family, but also helps us advocate to make this temporary summer benefit increase permanent for all WIC families.

Use the CA WIC App to check for WIC authorized food items, or check out the the WIC Authorized Food List Shopping Guide! WIC participants can log into their WIC App to view all current and future available food benefits on the Food Balance page. Not sure if an item is covered by WIC? Participants can use the WIC Food Scan feature to check items anytime.

Monthly WIC food benefits are good for 30 days and benefit expiration dates can be found on the CA WIC App Food Balance page or by calling 1-844-469-3264.

Questions? Text us at 91997!

WIC Returns to Regular Approved Food List on June 1

In 2020, WIC expanded the list of approved foods to offer a greater selection of options for families. This was in response to the short supply of food on many grocery store shelves during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 expanded list of approved foods will no longer be available after June 1, 2021.

Use the California WIC App or the WIC Authorized Food List Shopping Guide to make sure you purchase the right foods on your food balance.

We strongly encourage you to use the WIC Food Scan feature in the California WIC App when shopping for your WIC foods.

New report urges USDA to Increase WIC Benefits Permanently!

On June 11, the National WIC Association (NWA) published a report entitled, The WIC Food Package: Impacts and Recommendations to Advance Nutrition Security. The report provides the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with NWA’s recommendations for an enhanced WIC food package. USDA plans to reevaluate WIC’s food packages in the fiscal year 2022.

Highlights of NWA’s Recommendations

  • Increase the Cash Value Benefit (CVB) across all child and adult food packages.
  • Allow substitutions of non-dairy alternatives that meet nutrient requirements.
  • Allow Substitutions for allergies, sensitivities, vegetarian and vegan diets.

Click here to see the full report.

Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement:

“The WIC food package is the carrot that brings moms, their babies, and young children to WIC. There, they find nutrition professionals who deliver invaluable nutrition supports and connect them to crucial health care and social services. Together, these supports save America and American taxpayers valuable healthcare dollars to the tune of $2.48 for every dollar invested in WIC. Where else can you get that kind of a return? But the carrot is no longer enough. To make the juice worth the squeeze, families need a whole basket of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and other healthy foods. Now is the time to make meaningful investment in the best hook to get more moms and their families into WIC – doubling the value of the WIC food package.

President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 federal budget doubles down on the Administration’s ongoing commitment to building nutrition security, starting with the nutrition needs of the pregnant and postpartum women, babies, and young children served by WIC. The American Rescue Plan Act’s temporary expansion of the value of the WIC food benefit has brought historic investment in access to healthy foods for WIC families this summer, and NWA wholeheartedly supports the White House’s proposed extension of this increase through fiscal year 2022. Still, the bumped up fruit and vegetable benefit needs to continue long after the shadow of COVID-19 is gone. Enhancing WIC access and benefits are the most straightforward steps to building stronger nutrition security for millions of families. “With increased investment, NWA is confident that doubling WIC’s food benefit will bring more families closer to the nutrient recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – a critical step to further reduce rates of childhood obesity, bring down healthcare costs, and set up our children for future life success. This report and its recommendations point policymakers toward real solutions to expanding the value of the food package, ensuring that WIC families get real value for their efforts, and that America gets the full bang for investing in WIC families.”

Register Here: Live WIC Webinar on June 15!

Big things are happening at WIC! Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, every WIC participant 12 months and older will get $35 each month for fruits and vegetables from June through September 2021.

Join us to learn how your actions can support this temporary benefit increase to become a permanent healthy. We look forward to answering all of your question about WIC and the temporary benefit increase.

Tuesday, June 15 at 10:00am PDT

Click here to register for this free live webinar

Congratulations Lactation Consultant Interns Class of 2021!

Congratulations to the inaugural class of PHFE WIC IBCLC internship graduates! Internship graduates are PHFE WIC staff who have shown a passion for helping parents breastfeed successfully.

For the past 13 months, 5 interns completed the UCSD lactation course over 2 quarters, completed supervised practice hours, trainings, and mentoring with WIC lactation consultants. Graduates are now eligible to sit for the exam to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.

We are so proud of this next generation of future IBCLCs and we know that this investment in our staff will pay dividends as they empower and support the parents in our community with their breastfeeding expertise.

Read what each of the interns had to share about their internship experience below.

The Future of WIC’s IBCLC Internship

The next cohort of 4 IBCLC interns began their internship in April 2021. The internship is anticipated to continue yearly to support the education and professionalization of our staff.