New Research: Providing Both In-Person and Remote Services Makes WIC Participation Easier

A new study conducted by Heluna Health’s PHFE WIC research and evaluation team and colleagues at UC Davis and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Nutrition Policy Institute suggests that a hybrid service model, which includes remote and in-person services, makes it easier for families to participate in the WIC program.

In March 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted federal waivers to states through the US Families First Coronavirus Response Act, providing WIC agencies with various remote service options. Service changes extended certification periods for children, allowed for remote certification, recertification, and food benefit issuance, and approved alternative WIC food package items. Additionally, WIC staff were able to provide virtual nutrition education and breastfeeding support.

Many participants expressed their satisfaction with remote services and said that remote enrollment was easier than in-person enrollment.

I actually found it (WIC appointments) much…easier (than in the past) because I didn’t have to go into the office…especially if you can’t find a babysitter. So I found it more convenient for me, because I have such a busy schedule because of school. It works perfectly for me.

–WIC Participant

Several WIC agency directors agreed that all waivers and changes should continue after the pandemic.

Research findings show that a hybrid service model will draw and retain more families, and allowing for on-site and remote services proves as an efficient alternative for WIC participants and employees.

This research study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Access the research article via Science Direct here: California WIC Participants’ and Local Agency Directors’ Experiences during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: A Qualitative Examination – ScienceDirect

Learn more about WIC services, and access WIC’s resources for providers.

PHFE WIC Staff Awarded for Excellent Breastfeeding Promotion and Support

This August in honor of Breastfeeding Month, ten PHFE WIC staff members were honored for their dedication to providing outstanding breastfeeding education and support to WIC parents. During a virtual ceremony, each award recipient shared their thoughts on the importance of breastfeeding and the ways they personally helped parents overcome challenges and achieve their breastfeeding goals. Learn how these Breastfeeding Award recipients provide a nurturing environment for mothers.

Lactation Consultant Awardee

Jessica V. Estrada, IBCLC

Jessica believes in the importance of support and empathy when aiding mothers during their breastfeeding journeys.

Peer Counselor Awardee

Crystal Rodriguez

Crystal steps up for breastfeeding by engaging with mothers on a personal level and being available to support them whenever needed.

WIC Center Supervisor Awardees

Alaina Coffey, MS, RDN

Alaina and her team aim to address the reasons why mothers quit breastfeeding. Resources such as support circles, peer counseling, lactation consultants, and CinnaMoms support circles are used to help mothers make an informed choice on infant feeding.

Connie Yin, RD, IBCLC

Connie believes all families should have an equal opportunity to learn about and make an informed decision on breastfeeding. She and other staff members offer mothers hands-on support to help them succeed.

Cristian Mercado, RDN

Cristian emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding and early education during the first and second trimesters and shares resources offered by WIC.

Kimberly Martinez, MS, RDN

Kimberly and her team provide breastfeeding support to prenatal women by focusing on early guidance. Staff members support parents by listening to their concerns and creating a success plan that will guide them along their journeys.

WIC Center Staff Awardees

Ivette Perez, CLE

As a WIC employee of nearly 32 years, Ivette steps up for breastfeeding by using her own experiences to assist families. She breastfed her own child for three years and currently provides breastfeeding support for her daughter, who has a
1-year-old son.

Angelina Lopez

Angelina has been with WIC for 13 years. She helps mothers reach their breastfeeding goals by creating a safe space and being available to discuss their experiences and concerns.

Isabel Gutierrez

Isabel has worked as a health counselor at WIC for 38 years and has aided breastfeeding mothers for 20 years. She puts herself in their shoes when mothers share their challenges, provides an environment free of judgment, and helps them come up with breastfeeding solutions specific to their circumstances.

Natalie Truong-Nino, BS, CLE

Natalie draws from her own experiences when providing support to mothers, as she has gone through many challenges during her breastfeeding journey. She attributes her own breastfeeding success to WIC, her colleagues, and her family.

PHFE WIC Agency Winner

Ivette Perez, CLE

Congratulations to this year’s award nominees and winners! The compassion and dedication you show make you an invaluable part of the PHFE WIC team and our community!

PHFE WIC’s Blanca Vargas Honored for Impactful Outreach Work

Congratulations to Blanca Vargas, Senior Manager of Operations at PHFE WIC, who recently received the Heluna Health Board of Directors’ Outstanding Achievement Award! This award recognizes individuals, teams, and programs that contribute to a unique, extraordinary, and innovative advancement of Heluna Health’s mission to enhance the health, wellness, and resilience of every community served.

“Outstanding leadership of the PHFE WIC Outreach Department in uniquely challenging times: by pivoting to virtual outreach and her team’s drive to enroll more than 11,000 eligible families in the last year, her tenacity and humanity in reaching out to Afghan refugees and for her legislative outreach efforts.”

– Heluna Health Board of Directors

Over the past six months, Blanca and the PHFE WIC Outreach team worked diligently to enroll Afghan refugee families into the WIC program. These refugees faced many issues, including having no permanent address, lack of transportation, and language barriers. Families were placed at extended stay hotels until permanent accommodations became available. The PHFE WIC Outreach team was able to overcome language barriers with the assistance of caseworkers from refugee organizations who were fluent in Pashto and Dari. Suzanne Kalmbach, Client Services Area Manager, hand-delivered WIC cards directly to families. Outreach staff traveled to where families were staying, and with the support of a translator, signed up 65 refugee families for WIC benefits. Many families traveled as long as three hours to shop for groceries and faced an unfamiliar environment. David Barajas, Outreach Specialist at PHFE WIC, facilitated a live shopping experience to assist them in navigating the grocery store and using their benefits to purchase food.

Special thanks to the PHFE WIC Outreach staff, David Barajas, Emily Mac, Sara Jimenez, Nancy Ballardo, Rosalba Marroquin, Bridgette Kinard, Daisy Moreno, and Grace Huang, for their compassion and perseverance in connecting families to vital resources.

PHFE WIC Outreach Team

Register for WIC’s webinar for providers on August 24!

August is National Breastfeeding Month! Join WIC, Health Net, and L.A. Care Health Plan for a live webinar, “WIC: All Your Questions Answered: From Breastfeeding to Formula Updates to Making Referrals!”  on Wednesday August 24, from 12 pm to 1 pm.

Who Should Attend?

  • Clinicians (i.e.: MDs, PCPs, OBGYNs, NPs, RNs, MAs)
  • Case Managers
  • Front and back-office staff

Questions? Email


Referring to WIC

Blanca Vargas, MPA, RDN
Senior Manager of Operations at PHFE WIC

Breastfeeding Services

Cindy Clapp, MS, RDN, IBCLC
Deputy Director of Breastfeeding Services at PHFE WIC

Formula Transition and Formula Shortage

Sagrario Nielsen, MS, RDN
Deputy Director of Nutrition Services and Projects at PHFE WIC

WIC Safety Alert

Attention WIC and CalFresh participants!

Your safety is our priority. WIC staff will not go to your home and ask for your information. Please protect yourself from WIC Card and CalFresh EBT scams.

Guard your information! WIC staff will only ask for confidential information during WIC appointments. We will never ask for your PIN, or photos of your WIC card or EBT card number. 

Beware of scammers asking for a picture of your benefits card in exchange for a free phone. WIC is not associated with any free phone services. Learn how you can safely apply for a free or discounted phone with California LifeLine.

All WIC services are by phone, online, or provided at our offices. WIC staff will not visit your home or ask for your information at any time other than your WIC appointments.

Keep your PIN safe! Do not share your EBT card PIN with anyone, including store vendors.

Regularly check your WIC food balance. Text 91997 or call 1-844-4MY-FAMILY to report any missing benefits.

Text 91997 to report any suspicious WIC-related calls or interactions.

CinnaMoms Virtual Summit June 22′

After 3 long years, the CinnaMoms annual summit returned!

On June 16th, CinnaMoms hosted our first ever virtual summit. It was filled with inspiring speakers, informative breakout rooms, and incredible moments. We kicked off the summit with a special welcome from our executive director Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN and danced our way into breakout sessions led by the CinnaMoms team.

Thank you to the amazing partners from Black Infants and Families Los Angeles, Davion Mauldin and LeHenry Solomon, as well as our very own Ruben Lopez, RDN we were even able to hold space for a fatherhood oriented breakout session. Then, following some fun and games, 10 “SuperCinnaMoms” received recognition from our team and Senator Sydney Kamlager for their dedication to the CinnaMoms community.

All of the excitement, camaraderie, and support left attendees feeling Strong and Empowered!

Here are some words that families shared about the summit.

Click here to see all that we did and learn how you can refer families to CinnaMoms.

#cinnamoms #phfewic #virtualsummit #africanamericanfamilies #supportfamilies #june2022

WIC Supports the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act

Show your support for WIC families by urging Congress to reauthorize and expand services through the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act. This bill aims to improve and widen access to child nutrition programs, such as WIC and the National School Lunch Program, to millions of children across the United States. Read more about the act HERE.

How would this bill benefit WIC participants? Improvements to WIC programs include:

  • WIC eligibility for children up to six years old or on the day they begin kindergarten
  • WIC eligibility for postpartum women extended to two years
  • Allows for one certification appointment for multiple children
  • Automatic certification of infants born to pregnant participants
  • Expansion of certification period to two years
  • Expansion of breastfeeding and peer counseling services
  • Funds technology for the Peer Counselor program and fruit and vegetable purchases through the Farmers’ Market Nutritional Program (FMNP)
  • …And much more!

Make your voice heard! Tell Congress to support the #HealthyMealsHealthyKidsAct.

Your In-Person WIC Appointment

PHFE WIC offers in-person office visits by appointment only. We are looking forward to seeing you!

To keep your family and our staff safe, we follow CDC and OSHA guidelines, including:

  • Providing masks to those who request them,
  • Cleaning high-touch surfaces before each appointment, and
  • Limiting the number of participants in the office at one time, and in only designated locations within the office

Please be on time for your appointment and call the phone number on the door when you arrive. If you are more than 15 minutes late, we may have to reschedule your visit.

Masks are strongly recommended for everyone age 2 and older regardless of vaccination status.

We recommend that children who are not needed for the appointment remain with a guardian or other child care option.

We will ask you the following COVID-19 screening questions when you arrive. If you become ill or answer "yes" to any of the following questions, please contact us to reschedule your appointment.

Have you had any of the following symptoms in the last 10 days?
  • Fever (at or above 100.4°F)
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell

Have you had contact with a person known to be infected with or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 10 days?

Are you subject to a quarantine or isolation order?


为了确保您的家人和我们员工的安全,我们遵循 CDC 和 OSHA 规定,包括:

  • 为没有口罩的人提供口罩
  • 在每次预约前频繁的清洁与消毒人常接触的地方,以及
  • 限制同时来访办公室的人数,并且仅限办公室内的指定地点

请准时赴约,并在您到达时拨打门口的电话号码。如果您迟到超过 15 分钟,我们可能需要重新安排您的预约。

无论疫苗接种状态如何,我们强烈建议 2 岁及以上的客人佩戴口罩。


当您到达时,我们会问您以下 COVID-19 筛查问题。如果您生病或对以下任何问题回答“是”,请联系我们重新安排您的预约

在过去的 10 天内,您是否有以下任何症状?

  • 发烧(等于或高于 100.4°F)
  • 发冷
  • 咳嗽
  • 呼吸急促/呼吸困难
  • 新的味觉或嗅觉丧失

在过去 10 天内,您是否与已知感染或疑似感染 COVID-19 的人有过接触?


Chúng tôi rất mong chờ được gặp bạn!

Để giữ an toàn cho gia đình bạn và nhân viên của chúng tôi, chúng tôi tuân theo các nguyên tắc của CDC và OSHA, bao gồm:

  • WIC sẽ cung cấp khẩu trang nếu bạn không có
  • Làm sạch các bề mặt tiếp xúc nhiều trước mỗi cuộc hẹn, và
  • Giới hạn số lượng người trong văn phòng cùng một lúc và chỉ ở các địa điểm được chỉ định trong văn phòng

Vui lòng đến đúng giờ hẹn và gọi số điện thoại đặt trước cửa khi bạn đến. Nếu bạn đến muộn hơn 15 phút, chúng tôi có thể sắp xếp lại cuộc hẹn cho bạn

Khẩu trang được khuyến khích sử dụng cho tất cả mọi người từ 2 tuổi trở lên bất kể tình trạng chích ngừa.

Chúng tôi khuyến nghị những trẻ em không cần thiết cho cuộc hẹn nên ở lại với người giám hộ hoặc lựa chọn chăm sóc trẻ em khác.

Chúng tôi sẽ hỏi bạn các câu hỏi kiểm tra COVID-19 sau đây khi bạn đến. Nếu bạn bị ốm hoặc trả lời "có" cho bất kỳ câu hỏi nào sau đây, vui lòng liên hệ với chúng tôi để sắp xếp lại cuộc hẹn.

Bạn có bất kỳ triệu chứng nào sau đây trong 10 ngày qua không?

  • Sốt (ở hoặc trên 100.4 ° F)
  • Ớn lạnh
  • Ho
  • Thở gấp / khó thở
  • Mất vị giác hoặc mùi mới

Bạn có tiếp xúc với một người được biết là bị nhiễm hoặc nghi ngờ nhiễm COVID-19 trong 10 ngày qua không?

Bạn có đang khuyết khích phải tuân theo lệnh cách ly hoặc cách ly không?

August is National Breastfeeding Month!

All parents with young children should have access to skilled breastfeeding and chestfeeding counseling and support from their health facilities, workplaces, and communities.

WIC is committed to being part of parents’ support systems by providing free phone, online, virtual, and in-person services.

Every year, August 1-7, we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. This year, the theme “Step Up For Breastfeeding: Educate and Support” reaffirms WIC’s important role in parents’ support and breastfeeding education.

In Honor of Breastfeeding Month: Join us in August at our Community Resource Fairs!

Facebook Live “Breastfeeding Q&A with an LC!”

Get answers to all your breastfeeding and chestfeeding questions! Join WIC’s Facebook live event. Everyone is welcome.

Events have concluded.

Get answers to all your breastfeeding questions!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 from 11:00am-12pm PDT

Click the 'Join now' button below on the day and time of the event to connect. See you there!

¡Obtenga respuestas a todas sus preguntas sobre lactancia!

martes, 9 de agosto, 2022 de 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

Haga clic en el botón '¡Únase ahora!' el día y la hora del evento para conectarse en Zoom.


2022 年 8 月 16 日,星期二,下午 2:00 至下午 3:00(太平洋夏令時間)

在小组活动当天只需点击立即加入Join now' 键即可上连接。到时候见!

Nhận câu trả lời cho tất cả các câu hỏi về nuôi con bằng sữa mẹ của bạn.

Thứ ba, ngày 16 tháng 8 năm 2022 11:00 sáng - 12:00 trưa theo giờ PDT

Nhấp vào nút 'Tham gia ngay' vào ngày và giờ của nhóm hỗ trợ để kết nối!

Important Dates in the month of August


In celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week, CinnaMoms will be hosting two events:

Facebook Live Breastfeeding FAQ Session with a Lactation Consultant on August 25th from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM.

Community Resource Fair at St. Andrew’s Place WIC on August 30th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

WIC Protects Breastfeeding and Chestfeeding

Infant feeding is a journey. WIC is here for parents every step of the way to educate, empower, and encourage parents to reach their goals for feeding their babies. WIC educates parents about breastfeeding and chestfeeding basics, overcoming challenges, returning to work, nursing in public, expressing and storing milk, and more.

Breastfeeding and chestfeeding services available to WIC participants:

Click here for more information about WIC breastfeeding and chestfeeding services.

California WIC Formula Changes

As of August 1, 2022, California WIC has changed to Similac brand milk-based formulas. Soy formula Enfamil ProSobee will stay the same. Use your WIC App to see your food benefits and check the brand when you shop. The brand, type, size, and number of cans to buy is in your WIC Food Balance.

There are additional options for California WIC families who cannot find formula during the infant formula shortage.

Similac Formulas Offered by California WIC Starting August 1, 2022:

Similac Advance
Similac Sensitive

WIC does not require a prescription for these formulas.

If you currently have benefits for Enfamil formula, continue to use your current Enfamil formula benefits until they expire. Your next benefits will include Similac products.

Use your WIC App to see your food benefits and check the formula brand when you shop. Buy the brand, type, size, and number of cans listed in your WIC Food Balance.

Finding Formula

Find stores that accept WIC, and call the store before shopping to ask if the formula you’re looking for is available.

If you have issues finding Enfamil products, try shopping at large chain grocery stores to find a wider variety of brands and sizes. For more tips, visit Finding Infant Formula.

Which California WIC Formulas are Not Changing?

Infants receiving soy-based formula with their WIC benefits will continue to receive Enfamil ProSobee. WIC will also continue to provide formulas for medical conditions by prescription when needed. These therapeutic formulas include Enfamil Nutramigen, Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare, Similac Alimentum, Similac Neosure, and Pediasure.

Other Frequently Asked Questions About the California Formula Change

Most babies easily transition from one brand of formula to another without noticing a difference. All major brand name formulas contain similar ingredients and provide adequate nutrition for babies.

If you think your baby is having a difficult time changing to a new formula, talk to your WIC staff or baby's health care provider.

Remember to always follow mixing instructions on the formula can or as directed by your baby's doctor to safely prepare a bottle for your baby.

All standard formulas for healthy babies are required to meet strict nutritional and quality guidelines put in place by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Similac and Enfamil products contain similar ingredients and most infants can tolerate both brands without any issues.

Always follow proper mixing instructions on the formula can label or as directed by your baby's healthcare provider.

Yes. The amount of formula WIC provides will not change. Check the brand, type, and number of cans included in your WIC Food Balance.

WIC empowers parents to make the best infant feeding decisions for their families. Birthing parents are encouraged to breastfeed or chestfeed infants up to age one and beyond as mutually desired. In addition, breastfeeding and chestfeeding families receive extra support. These additional support WIC services include more foods to meet the lactating parent’s increased nutritional needs, individualized lactation education, and breast pumps when needed.

For breastfeeding and chestfeeding questions and concerns, call the Infant Feeding Helpline at (888) 278-6455, Monday-Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, or text 91997 to connect with a lactation expert.

The United States Department of Agriculture requires each State WIC program to go through a bidding process with formula suppliers. This bidding process reduces costs and ensures California can provide formula to all eligible WIC families. The California Department of Public Health has awarded the contract starting August 1, 2022 for cow’s milk-based formulas to Abbott and the soy-based formula to Mead Johnson.