National WIC Association

Ruby Ferguson, Health Equity Champion

August 28, 2020
Categories: Child Care Health Equity Health Equity Champion Nutrition Education

I am a believer that the beauty of nutrition education and increased food access is that when provided in collaboration with stakeholders, they allow for a community to reclaim agency over its health. One of the projects I am most proud of is the development and implementation of Pop-Up WIC clinics at Early Head Start and Head Start Centers. This model was created in response to three things: a request from a community member, low childhood retention, and an acknowledgment that gentrification is causing many of our participants to be displaced from their communities, making it difficult to consistently attend WIC appointments. Consequently, Near North Health Service Corporation provided an alternative to coming into a brick and mortar location by bringing the clinic to where our participants go daily: Day Care.


Since its inception in May 2018, we have seen some incredible results:  

  • We are now partnered with 13 Head Starts across the City of Chicago and had over 550 participants in the program. 
  • 71% of the participants are children between the ages of 2 and 5.  
  • We added 53 participants who have never been on WIC before  
  • We reengaged 272 participants who were terminated off the program, and of those participants, 194 had not participated in WIC for greater than 1 year. 

This project exemplifies what happens when organizations listen to the needs of the community and develop programming that comes from a space of cultural humility instead of authority. As a collective, we are all not truly healthy until every citizen on this planet has the choice of good health. When we keep the goal of health equity at the core of our work, WIC has the capacity to empower communities to attain their fullest health potentials.