National WIC Association

Introducing NWA's Health Equity Champions

August 19, 2020
Categories: Health Equity Health Equity Champion Poverty/Food Access/Food Security Rural Health

What Is Health Equity?

For the National WIC Association, health equity is the ability of all individuals and families to achieve optimal health, no matter their identity, race, ability, class, or location. This requires equitable access to nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, chronic disease prevention and management services, safe living environments, and good jobs with fair pay.

Health inequities are more than random or individual choices. To achieve health equity, we must remove obstacles that impact families’ health and wellbeing. These barriers stem from poverty, discrimination, and institutional racism – as well as other forms of bias within housing, healthcare, education, labor, and other public policies.

Examples of health inequities include:

NWA Health Equity Champions

As part of our work to advance racial equity through the Advancing Health Equity to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion (AHEAD) in WIC project, NWA selected seven Health Equity Champions who will co-lead the programmatic aspects of the project.

These Champions will co-lead the programmatic aspects of the AHEAD in WIC project to ensure members are engaged and learning through a peer education process. They will participate in conference calls and meetings, providing guidance on the intersection of WIC and health equity. Their expertise will assist in a landscape analysis, which will be used to identify promising practices for integrating a racial equity lens in WIC and to pilot projects by sub-granting to local WIC agencies. 

The AHEAD in WIC project also focuses on organizational development at NWA. It starts with an in-depth equity, diversity, and inclusion training for NWA staff, then systematically builds capacity within the larger WIC community to incorporate racial equity into research, policy, and practice.

Health Equity Champions Selected for AHEAD in WIC Project

The Champions come from five of the seven USDA-FNS regions and have direct experience coordinating and implementing health equity projects within WIC. The group also has expertise in a wide range of WIC professional roles. Throughout the next two weeks, we will highlight each of the seven Champions on our blog and social media.

Congratulations to the following Health Equity Champions on their efforts to promote health equity in WIC. We look forward to working with this dynamic team on the AHEAD in WIC project!

  • Maddie McKinney, WIC Certifier, Deschutes County WIC, Oregon, Western Region
  • Dr. Tonce Jackson, Ed.D., MPH, RDN, CLE, Health Equity Manager, PHFE WIC, California, Western Region
  • Ruby Ferguson, MS, MEd, RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition Services, Near North Health Services Corporation, Illinois, Midwest Region
  • Stacy Davis, MPH, IBCLC, Metro-Region Lactation Consultant, MDHHS WIC Division, Midwest Region
  • Adrianna Bradley, B.A., Senior Consultant, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Southeast Region
  • Adela Garcia, MHA, WIC Manager, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa, Texas, Southwest Region
  • Diane Landy, B.S., Agency Outreach Coordinator, West Virginia EMS Technical Support Network, Mid-Atlantic Region

Check back to read their stories, and be sure to follow #HealthEquityChampion on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!