I am honored to have been selected as a Health Equity Champion for the National WIC Association’s Advancing Health Equity to Achieve Diversity & Inclusion (AHEAD) in WIC project. Health equity is about making sure that all people have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. WIC does that by serving some of the nation’s most vulnerable households and making it possible for women to choose and access healthy foods for them and their children.
That is the main reason I joined the South Carolina WIC team to oversee their outreach and communications initiatives. The state’s transition to eWIC (electronic benefit transfer cards) quickly stood out to me as a chance to help reduce the stigma associated with WIC and make it easier for participants to access and use their benefits. My work and planning for this initiative focused on tailored messaging and outreach to several audiences including our agency’s executive leadership, program staff, partners, and participants.
Throughout the year of our rollout, I worked to rebrand the SC WIC program and overcome myths and misconceptions about WIC. Key messages about our program and eWIC were integrated into our agency director’s messages as he traveled statewide conducting town halls. As a result, WIC became one of our agency’s key priorities. Soon after, eWIC and WIC were elevated in our state’s health plan as a unique approach to modernizing and improving service delivery to low-income families across the Palmetto State.
Additionally, I formed partnerships with other organizations throughout the state to increase participant reach and to be inclusive of different types of participants. For example, I worked closely with PASOS (a Hispanic based outreach organization) and Head Start centers on both statewide and local levels.
Over the course of 12 months, we successfully transitioned thousands of participants to eWIC, making it easier for women to make healthy choices for themselves and their children across the state.