National WIC Association

2018 Annual Education and Training Conference & Exhibits

April 22-April 25, 2018

Important Dates & Notices
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Registration Closed

About the Conference

NWA 2018 Annual Education and Training Conference & Exhibits will be held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, IL, April 22 - 25, 2018. The 2018 conference theme is: Lifting WIC Voices to Engage & Inspire.

This Conference will offer an excellent opportunity to acquire new skills and to network with an estimated 1,000 of your peers, and colleagues along with exhibitors who provide WIC related products and services for your participants. The conference will also offer an opportunity for attendees to hear from USDA officials and to dialogue on relevant updates and challenges that the program faces.

For the rest of the conference, you will have the opportunity to choose from 27 general and concurrent sessions that is sure to expand your professional skills and knowledgebase to equip you to face coming WIC challenges and to take advantage of current and future WIC opportunities.

Letter of Support from USDA FNS:

Sarah Widor, the Director of Supplemental Food Programs Division, sent a letter to all state agency WIC directors supporting the 2018 Annual Education and Training Conference & Exhibits. This letter confirmed that WIC Program funds may be used to fund travel expenses and registration fees for this conference.




*Image of Chicago is from Pedro Szekely, license can be found here.The original photo can be found here

Call For Abstracts

The National WIC Association invites members and partners to submit presentation and poster proposals for the 2019 Annual Education and Training Conference & Exhibits being held next year in Baltimore, MD, April 7-10, 2019.


The 2019 conference theme is: Passion. Purpose. Progress. Share your strategies and successes with us!


To submit an abstract, click on this link. You will be asked to set-up a profile. After setting up your profile, you will then be given a ‘To-Do’ list – to submit your abstract, click on ‘Submit a Paper’ and follow the directions. For more information on how to submit an abstract see this guide.


In the true spirit of this conference, below are the suggested educational tracks for oral and poster submissions:

  • Advocacy
  • Breastfeeding & Nutrition
  • Communication (Recruitment & Retention)
  • Community Engagement
  • Program Integrity & Technology
  • Research

The conference tracks may align with your content but is not required. All topics within a track’s purview are welcome. If your project does not fall within one of these topic areas, don’t worry -- please submit an abstract anyway!


All abstracts are due by Friday, November 2, 2018, and will be reviewed by the Conference Planning Committee.


The NWA Annual Conference is an excellent opportunity to expand your professional skills and knowledgebase to equip you to face coming WIC challenges and to take advantage of current and future WIC opportunities.

On behalf of the 2019 Conference Planning Committee, we look forward to receiving your abstract submission. Thank you in advance for your commitment to the excellence of next year’s meeting.


Proposal Guidelines

Authors will be prompted to provide the following information into the submission platform.


  • Suggested topical track and presentation title
  • Abstract (The recommended proposal length is 300 words)
  • Shortened Abstract for Marketing Use in Program Book (The recommended proposal length is 150 words)
  • Presenter information: name, institution, city, state, email address, bio
  • Co-Author(s) Information: name/s, institution/s, email address/es, bio

A maximum of four presenters may be listed on each proposal. The submitting author will receive an email message confirming the receipt of the abstract proposal submission and are responsible for keeping co-authors up to date on the status of the submission. By submitting an abstract to be considered for an oral or poster presentation, you acknowledge that all presenting authors are responsible for their own registration, travel, and hotel costs.

Concurrent sessions are 60 minutes long. 

Poster Presentations will be during Breakfasts, Breaks, and Networking Opportunities.


Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this process or the conference in general, please contact Shameka Jennings at or 202-232-5492.


By submitting an abstract to be considered for an oral or poster presentation, you acknowledge that all presenting authors are responsible for their own registration, travel, and hotel costs.


View the agenda-at-a-glance.

View the agenda in depth.


Letter of Support from USDA FNS:

Sarah Widor, the Director of Supplemental Food Programs Division, sent a letter to all state agency WIC directors supporting the 2018 Annual Education and Training Conference & Exhibits. This letter confirmed that WIC Program funds may be used to fund travel expenses and registration fees for this conference.

General Session Speakers

Judi Holler

As a professionally trained improviser & Second City Alumni with a radio/television degree, Judi uses her training every day to create authentic, relevant and memorable experiences for her clients. Her Mission: To help you stand out in a sit-down world by embracing fear and maximizing hustle.

As WIC agencies strive to empower families and strengthen communities, external threats have created challenges and generated fear among the people we serve and support. In her plenary session, attendees will be challenged to reimagine how they deal with fear + help you put a plan in place to start taking action. Participants will leave this “fear boot camp” with a plan to finally start advancing their goals, personally and/or professionally.


Clancy Harrison

The United Nations states that collaboration is critical, “if we are to create a more inclusive, just, and sustainable world.”  Solutions to complex nutrition problems require leadership from various partners: government leaders, funding agencies, schools, hospitals, the private sector, the non-profit sector, and more. General session speaker, Clancy Harrison, will discuss how to engage partners from various community sectors in food and nutrition. She will also provide practical solutions to build relationships and examples of how effective collaboration improves health outcomes.



David Litt


David Litt was a speechwriter for President Obama from 2011 to 2016. At the White House, he got to write for one of the best speakers - and storytellers - in American history. In his session, he'll share the lessons he learned about how to tell stories that capture an audience's attention and motivate them to act. David will offer a checklist that anyone can follow to make sure their stories are as engaging and effective as possible - and he'll identify common pitfalls that are easy to avoid.





Wanda Durant


Mother of National Basketball Association Champion and 2017 Finals MVP player, Kevin Durant, Wanda Durant is a strong leader, advocate, entrepreneur and philanthropist. As a former WIC recipient, she will share her story of how WIC laid the foundation for her family. One of Wanda’s mantras is “where there is hope there are possibilities.” It is Wanda’s passion to guide her audience to realize that hope is alive inside of them, encourage them to dream, and help them to truly believe they can achieve the future they want.

Hotel & Transportation

The Conference Host Hotel

Baltimore Marriott Waterfront 
700 Aliceanna Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Main #: (312) 836-0100


Hotel Room Rate

NWA has negotiated a special room rate of $189 per night plus a nightly room tax currently set at 15.5%. Note that this tax rate is subject to change without notice. 

The cut-off date for these rates is Friday, March 15, 2019. After this date, reservations will be subject to the hotel’s prevailing rates.

We encourage you to make your room reservations early to ensure that you will be in the host hotel at the guaranteed room rate. Upon checking in, each guest will be asked to provide a valid government issued ID along with proof to which the room reservation was made.

Method of Room Guarantee

The hotel requires a major credit card to guarantee your room reservation, and first night's deposit (including taxes) payable at the time the reservation is being made. Room cancellations must be received at leaset 72 hours prior to your arrival date to avoid being charged the first night's room rate and applicable taxes.

Hotel Check-In/Out Policy

Hotel check-in is 4:00pm and check-out is 12:00pm. The hotel can arrange to have your bags stored depending on room availability. Late check-out may be requested upon arrival.

Guest Parking

The hotel offers on-site valet parking for all registered guests at a daily rate of $45. On-site parking is also available for $8.50 per hour or $26 daily. Note, rate may change without notice.



Please find the posters here


Registration Fees


Fees between now and March 3, 2019
Regular Member Rate: $385
Regular Non-member Rate: $485

Fees after March 3, 2018
Late Member Rate: $410
Late Non-member Rate: $535

Member Rate: $185
Non-Member Rate: $245

All payments are due before or on the first day of the Conference. Payments must be received to gain access to and participate in Conference activities and sessions. No PO will be accepted on-site.

Registration for this conference will add your contact information to our conference attendee list available to all conference attendees, including exhibitors.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

It is the policy of NWA's to access a processing fee for all cancelled registrations. To cancel your registration, a written request MUST be received by NWA via e-mail to or fax to 1-202-387-5281 no later than close of business on Tuesday, March 3, 2019.

Cancellations received before or on March 3, 2019 will be refunded, less a $75 processing fee. No refund will be granted for cancellations received after March 3, 2019. NWA regrets that refunds will not be granted for "No-shows."

Online Registration

Online registrations are processed via our web-based system. Each registrants must have or create a profile (account) in order to register online.

Registrants using a Purchase Order (PO) or check, must select the "Bill Me" option from the online registration system when registering. Credit card paments will be processed via our secured Stripe site. The system will automatically e-mail a registration confirmation to the e-mail provided. If you do not received a confirmation, please call our office.

Registration via Mail, Fax or Email

To register by mail, fax or e-mail, download the Conference Registration form, complete, and submit it via e-mail to or fax it to 202-387-5281. Registration forms may also be mailed to:

National WIC Association
2001 S Street, NW Ste. 580
Washington, DC 20009

To obtain our Federal Identification Number, please call our office at 202-232-5492.

Exhibitor Prospectus

We invite you to participate as an exhibitor and/or sponsor at our 2018 Annual Education and Networking Conference and Exhibits.



Get a discount on your booth by becoming a Sustaining Member of the National WIC Association! Sustaining members receive deeply discounted exhibitor rates for all NWA conferences. There are six membership tiers to choose from, and all of your employees can take advantage of the benefits. Sustaining Membership benefits can be found in detail here. To receive the NWA Sustaining Member exhibit rate, you must be a sustaining member at the time of submitting the exhibit contract/application and at the time of the conference itself. To become a sustaining member or to renew, contact Emily Gilcher,, 202-232-5492, with questions. 

Why Exhibit?

If you are seeking to introduce your products and services or an alternative promotional strategy to a new or existing audience, this conference offers several affordable options to meet your marketing needs.

By exhibiting and/or sponsoring at this conference, you will:

  • Create new customer and client relationships with WIC decision makers from across the nation;
  • Strengthen and build upon existing customer and client relationships;
  • Increase visibility for your company/organization in a targeted market;
  • Promote and market your products and services;
  • Reach prime target market segments for your products and services; and
  • Demonstrate your commitment to promoting quality public health nutrition for women, infants and children.

Platinum, Gold, Silver & Bronze Sponsors have first choice to all available exhibitor spaces.

Exhibit Dates/Hours:

Sunday, April 22, 2017
8:00 am - 4:00 pm --- Exhibitor Move-in and Set-up
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm --- Exhibit Show Opens

Monday, April 23, 2017
7:30 am - 8:30 am --- Breakfast / Networking & Exhibits
10:30 am - 11:30 am --- AM Break / Networking & Exhibits
12:30 pm - 12:00 pm ----- Lunch on your own
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm --- PM Break / Networking & Exhibits

Tuesday, April 24, 2017
7:30 am - 9:00 am --- Breakfast / Networking & Exhibits
10:30 am - 11:30 am --- AM Break / Networking & Exhibits
11:30 pm - 5:00 pm --- Exhibitor Teardown & Move Out

For questions or to exhibit at this conference, please contact Dale Greenberg, the Association's Conference Manager, at 410-491-2654 or at

New This Year: NWA Talks

In this year’s exhibit hall, there will be an Education Lounge where exhibitors will have the opportunity to lead a 15-minute educational presentation (think TED Talk) for conference attendees. These talks will be held in conjunction with concurrent sessions and during breakfast & breaks. You will be allotted 15 minutes for your presentation and Q&A. The area will have a microphone and a TV monitor to provide the option for visual presentations. Please complete the below application for consideration and return to Shameka Jennings at Applications due Friday, December 15, 2017. There are a limited number of spaces. Those selected will be notified in the early January 2018. This opportunity is complimentary for sustaining members and for purchase for non-members. If you sponsor breakfast or a break, you will be guaranteed this opportunity.

NWA Talk Application

Ad-Hoc Events

Outreach Meeting: The meeting will be on Monday, April 23rd in the Avenue Ballroom from 8:00 - 9:00 am for all outreach coordinators or staff involved in outreach that would like to attend. This meeting will be facilitated by the NWA Reach Them, Teach Them, Keep Them Task Force and Natalie Mulloy. We will give opportunities for state and local agencies to share best practices through this networking session.Breakfast will be provided.

Share Our Strength Listening Session: Join Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters on Tuesday, April 24th from 3:00 – 4:00 pm for a snack break and listening session about online food skills education! This session is designed for State Directors and State Nutritionists in states that are NOT currently using the platform (check the map at the bottom of the page to see if your state uses We want to hear from you about how you currently offer (or do not offer) online nutrition education, what role food skills education plays within online or in-person learning in your state, and how new food skills education curricula are adopted online or in-person. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Please RSVP with your name, state, position, and email address to Jill Panichelli by Wednesday, April 18th. RSVP Required, Limited Space Available

State Association Informational Meeting: Do you have a WIC Association in your state, or are you interested in learning more about what State WIC Associations do? Please join Nutrition First (WA) for a networking meeting on Wednesday, April 25th from 7:45 – 8:45 am in the Minnesota Room to learn more about how State Associations work and how they benefit WIC! Please contact Carolyn Conner for more details at

"Road to the Annual Conference" Webinar Series

Beginning February 9, NWA provided op-notch educational webinars similar to the education that can be found on-site at the Annual Conference on Fridays at 2:00 pm ET. Please find below the archived webinars.

Archived Webinars

  • Perspectives on WIC Participation Rates webinar. WIC participation rates have dropped for most states in the past several years. WIC participation generally follows birth-rate and economic trends. Since the percent of potentially WIC eligible participants being served has also dropped, tools for evaluating participation data are needed. Joni Geppert from Minnesota Department of Health spoke about how they have put participation in perspective.
  • Using Health Indicators to Evaluate WIC webinar. WIC is one of the few sources for maternal child health data for lower income groups that can be provided by race/ethnicity and geographic location. However, developing methods for reporting salient summary data by local WIC agency or local public health entity is challenging. Minnesota WIC provides data online for key health indicators such as anemia, breastfeeding, birth outcomes, smoking, and weight status across time in an easy to navigate data wheel.
  • Improving Performance: How to Be a Data Savvy WIC webinar discusses how they have helped WIC programs improve their Local Agency, State Office, and contractor performance. In this webinar, the Ripple Group shared case studies of how to use data to develop partnerships in performance, shared tips and tools to get started, along with some tips on how to get others engaged in the process.
  • Developing Your WIC Employees for Performance and Retention webinar provided participants with very specific skills based on Situational Leadership to help any leader or manager become more effective at developing people in multiple situations relevant to their work.
  • The Problem with Continuing Resolutions webinar discussed the federal funding process. The federal government is currently operating under our fourth Continuing Resolution (CR) of the current fiscal year, and we are expecting that Congress will pass a fifth CR this week. What are Continuing Resolutions, why does Congress use them so often, and what do CRs mean for programs like WIC? 
  • Understanding the Benefits of the National Recruitment and Retention Campaign webinar provided information about the impact and benefits of the National WIC Recruitment and Retention Campaign.
  • Annual Conference- Know Before You Go webinar  discussed the highlights of the 2018 NWA Annual Education and Training Conference & Exhibits, what to expect on-site, and shared how you can make the most of your conference experience.

Speaker Presentations

Up In Smoke: The Potential Implication of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Laurel Wilson, MotherJourney


Building Meaningful Connections: The Power of Storytelling and Photography Martelle Esposito, Mothership, Nhu To-Haynes, Oregon Health Authority


What Can We Learn from EBT data About WIC Participants' Behavior? Harry Zhang, Old Dominion University


South Carolina WIC SoW (Services on Wheels) Berry Kelly, South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control - Division of WIC Services


FNS Management Evaluations: Recent Changes and How to Leverage Them Amy Herring, USDA Food and Nutrition Service


How Behavioral Insights Can Improve WIC: Using Behavioral Science in Your Everyday Work Dani Grodsky, ideas42, Antonia Violante, ideas42


1000 Days in Gap City: Exploring the Relationship Between the Breastfeeding Gap and the Word Gap Dia Michels, Platypus Media


Situational Awareness Training for WIC Professionals Michael Dunphy, Walsh University


A Red State Solution: WIC and the Emergency Food System Lauren Waits, Atlanta Community Food Bank


Leveraging Partnerships for a Stronger WIC Cindi Bennett, Nampa Women's Birth Center and New Born Intensive Care Unit, Cynthia Galloway, Central District Health Department WIC Program, M. Chaplin Mazzocchi, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County/WIC, Mary Ann Ellsworth, New Jersey Department of Health


Evaluating WIC on a Shoestring Budget Karissa Horton, Limetree Research, Jennifer J. Loyo, Limetree Research


Understanding the benefits of the NWA national awareness and retention campaign Chuck Hajj, Meredith Corporation


Mind the Gap: Romancing the Food Melanie Hall, Kellogg Company, Melissa O’Brien, Jewel Osco


Results from the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study (ITFPS-2):  Findings through Age 2! Kelley Scanlon, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Nancy Weinfield, Westat, Shannon Whaley, PHFE WIC


WIC Nutrition Services and Administration (NSA) Funds Hayes Brown, USDA Food and Nutrition Service


Streamlining the WIC Shopping Experience Eriko Grover,  Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, Isabel Martin, Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, Diana Medina, Inmar, Inc.


Food Consumption Patterns of Participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): New Findings from the 2016 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) Joanne F. Guthrie, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Erin Quann, Gerber Products Company, Stephanie Bess, Illinois Department of Human Services


Using Data Analysis and Technology to Improve WIC Retention Mike Whaley, PHFE WIC Program


WIC & Immigration: An Update on Public Charge & Other Issues Brian Dittmeier, National WIC Association, Elisabet Eppes, National WIC Association, Alison Hard, National WIC Association


Shopper Apps Jerilyn Malliet, USDA Food and Nutrition Service


Mastering Challenging Participant Interactions Charles Frazier, Learning Dynamics


Moving WIC Forward: A Case Study for Expanding WIC Access and Improving Community Health Through Wholesale Distribution and Mobile Markets Matthew Kleinmann, University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design, Nancy Sanchez, Unified Government Wyandotte County Public Health Department


Get Your WIC Agency on TV... for Free Melanie Smith, Texas Health & Human Services


Does Purchasing Behavior of WIC Participants Align with Recommendations for the WIC Food Package Revision? Loan Kim, Pepperdine University


Lifting Up Our Voices to Be Champions for WIC Elisabet Eppes, National WIC Association, Kate Girard, Montana Department of Public Health, Manon Taylor, Osage Nation WIC, Brittany Tybo, Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, Mary Schultheis, Crescent City WIC, Nanci Jenkins, Panhandle Health District, Tina McDonald, District Health Department #10, Kathleen Rebollo, Tri-County Health Department


Beyond the Clinic: Using Social Media to Stay Engaged Karissa Horton, Limetree Research, Jennifer J. Loyo, Limetree Research, Sara Najafi, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona WIC, Mary Schultheis, Crescent City WIC Services


“Learn the Signs. Act Early”: Statewide expansion of the WIC Developmental Milestones Program Janet Farmer, University of Missouri, Kathy Mertzlufft, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services


Quality Improvement and Performance Management in the WIC Clinic: Improving Customer Service and Staff Performance Todd Kirkpatrick, Licking County Health Department


WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2016 Nicole Kline, Insight Policy Research, Anthony Panzera, FNS Office of Policy Support, Betsy Thorn, Insight Policy Research


Peer Support Counseling Programs Advance Health Equity Patricia Faulkner, Minnesota Department of Health


If you don't see a presentation, we are either awaiting permission or the presenter did not give permission.

Attendee List

Click here to view a current copy of the Attendee Listing

Please note that this attendee listing is sorted by state and last name.