OUR 2022 IMPACT
Our mission is to nourish, educate, support,
and empower clients and ourselves.
Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN
As we look back at 2022, I am continually humbled and amazed by the resilience and dedication our staff have shown to offer the best customer service, empathy, and support to our community. PHFE WIC is committed to providing health and nutrition education, promoting nutritious diets, and improving infant feeding practices with quality breastfeeding support services. We are committed to connecting families with community resources such as diapers, books, additional healthy foods, housing and assistance programs. This year was marked by a focus on the well-being of our staff to ensure we were optimally supporting them, so they are able to provide the best service for our families. While remote services were still offered by phone, video, and online, we reopened the doors at all of our WIC Centers for the first time in two years and welcomed families. Our staff devoted this year to attend swiftly to families who reached out to us, ensure they received all the benefits of WIC including personalized one-on-one nutrition counseling, referrals and support, and continually enrolled families into our program. This year was also filled with adversities where the resilience of our staff and community really showed. We worked with families during the alarming formula shortage to explore all available options, helped ease our babies into a new contract formula, pushed for continuance of the increased fruits and vegetables benefit, and worked with community partners to enroll families newly eligible for WIC, including Afghan refugees. As we approach another year, we continue to advocate for the health of our community by helping parents have healthier pregnancies, improving birth outcomes, and empowering them to develop healthy habits for a better future. I am grateful to our wonderful WIC staff for their tremendous work ethic and compassion that makes WIC work wonders!
We serve families across three counties
Infants, children, and parents that received services from PHFE WIC
In WIC benefits issued to parents and children
This increase in fresh fruits and veggies has made a WORLD of difference in my budget and ability to feed my babies the most healthy and nutritious meals. I am able to keep FRESH, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables available at almost every meal without cutting into my budget for non-WIC allowable foods like meat and fish. I am a frugal shopper, but produce is expensive. With the increase, I don’t have to cut corners to make sure bellies are full. I’m eternally grateful for every extra dollar of assistance that has been given, and I truly hope that this increase continues for our children.
– WIC Participant
During WIC appointments, our attentive staff provide
individualized referrals to programs and resources, such as
doula services, regional centers, immunizations, and more.
In Child Tax Credits claimed by families at $3,600 per family (as a direct result of WIC referral)
In farmers’ market benefits distributed to
over 19,000 families
Clementine Trolley boxes
given to WIC families
Breastfeeding outreach fair held in August at
Individuals in attendance at three
Breastfeeding Month events
of Customer Satisfaction Surveys
rated our service “GREAT”
“The lactation consultant I spoke to was excellent. She listened and addressed all my breastfeeding concerns. She put my mind at ease and guided me to get the help I needed.”
– Covina Participant
“Thanks to WIC, lots of families have food for their babies and themselves. The staff is really kind. They answer all your questions regarding your baby’s food.”
– Avenue 43 Participant
“The appointment was informative being that I’m a new mom, the process of adding my baby to WIC was incredibly easy. I was reminded of how great I was doing as a mom during this new transition in life.”
– Culver City Participant
Research articles published
Sagrario Nielsen, Deputy Director of Nutrition Services and Projects, was featured on Univision speaking about the temporary expanded formula options and WIC’s response to the nationwide formula shortage.
Toncé Jackson, CinnaMoms Co-Founder and Senior Health Equity Manager explained the significance of CinnaMoms in providing breastfeeding support to mothers in a Heluna Health video interview.
K’Lynn Mitchell, CinnaMoms Project Coordinator, spoke with Dan Ross from Capital and Main in April about CinnaMoms and how the program supports Black mothers in California.
Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN
Kiran received the CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research) Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition for her breastfeeding advocacy. She was also selected to serve as one out of twenty members of the Los Angeles County Food Equity Roundtable.
Shannon E. Whaley, Ph.D
Shannon was invited to serve as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Infant and Young Child Complementary Feeding Interventions. She was a recipient of the Gold Author Recognition Award by the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior for the numerous publications she authored from 2018-2022.
Blanca Vargas, MPA, RDN
Blanca received the Heluna Health Board of Directors Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition for the impactful work she and the PHFE WIC Outreach team conducted, which involved connecting Afghan refugees to WIC services.
Samar McGregor, MPH, RDN
Samar was elected as Secretary of the National WIC Association (NWA) Board of Directors.
Toncé Jackson, Ed.D., MPH, RDN
Toncé, co-founder of CinnaMoms and co-chair of the Heluna Health’s Workplace Inclusion Initiative, was featured in a Heluna Health interview highlighting CinnaMoms role in providing breastfeeding support to Black mothers.
Sagrario Nielsen, MS, RDN
Sagrario lent her expertise on the formula shortage to Spanish-speaking communities and appeared on multiple Telemundo interviews to share the options and resources available through WIC.
K’lynn Mitchell, RDN
K’Lynn was featured in a Capital and Main article how she supports Black mothers in California through CinnaMoms.
Dietetic Interns Graduated
Lactation Consultant Interns Graduated
Staff became Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)
Staff became Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs)
Racial Equity trainings
Breastfeeding education modules
Our breastfeeding policy has been updated based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines to allow employees extra time to pump and breastfeed. Pregnant or breastfeeding employees received additional support through the Employee Perinatal Support Program (EPSP).
Breastfeeding support groups held in 7 languages
WIC centers with onsite lactation consultations
Facebook Live breastfeeding events
Peer Counselors at 30 clinics
Chinese-speaking IBCLCs and PCs added
Breast pumps given to hospitals participating in the WIC Pump Closet project
PHFE WIC launched a breastfeeding education texting campaign in December.
CinnaMoms participated in 17 support circles
Awarded to CinnaMoms through the Kaiser Permanente Community Health Grant
Awarded to CinnaMoms through the USDA Innovations Grant
Awarded to CinnaMoms through the GAAINS Grant
PHFE WIC’s Council on Racial Equity and CinnaMoms hosted a WIC booth at the annual KJLH Expo in collaboration with the Black Infant Health Program and focused on reducing maternal and infant mortality in the black population.
The PHFE WIC Outreach team worked diligently to enroll over 65 Afghan refugee families into the WIC program over a six month period. We connected with caseworkers from refugee organizations who were fluent in Pashto and Dari to overcome language barriers and traveled to where these families were staying to complete enrollments. Our staff helped families navigate their WIC benefits and facilitated shopping experiences to ensure they had a great start with WIC.
Thank you to all of our staff and community partners who share our commitment to improving the health, well-being, and resilience of parents and children in our communities.
We enter 2023 with renewed commitment to our WIC families!