National WIC Association

November 20, 2023

NWA Announces the Center for Innovative Practices in WIC (CIP-WIC)

The National WIC Association (NWA) is thrilled to announce the reformation of the Special Projects Department, now titled the Center for Innovative Practices in WIC (CIP-WIC). "Innovative," by definition, characterizes the introduction of creative approaches to address an issue. The COVID-19 pandemic unequivocally exacerbated food insecurity and nationwide racial and health inequities, necessitating the identification of innovative strategies to provide services, resources, and support to millions of women, infants, and young children. Since its inception in 1972, the WIC has been the premier public health nutrition program, serving 6.6 million women, infants, and young children. As an organization founded to provide leadership to the WIC community, advocate for food as medicine, health, and social services, and promote quality nutrition services, NWA is committed to addressing racial and health inequities in nutrition, breastfeeding, and prenatal and postpartum health outcomes.

CIP-WIC comprises subject matter experts in nutrition, lactation, research, policy, and best practices in WIC. It will offer NWA members, WIC partners, and stakeholders technical assistance and expertise, elevate promising practices from the field, and foster explicit communities of practice within the WIC community. By establishing CIP-WIC, NWA aims to facilitate members' access to resources for promoting and advancing racial and health equity.

The CIP-WIC staff will function as internal consultants to other teams within NWA, promoting equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in every facet of NWA’s work. They will lend their expertise in WIC nutrition and breastfeeding services, WIC-specific research, innovation, and data management and analysis. The work in CIP-WIC will be grounded in these priorities:

  • Diversifying and strengthening the WIC workforce and implication for culturally responsive support
  • Centering racial and health equity and participant experience in WIC service delivery
  • Building capacity for WIC research and data analysis
  • Driving program innovation to enhance participant experience, health outcomes, recruitment, and retention
  • Identifying and disseminating promising practices from Local and State Agencies to NWA members
  • Strengthening partnerships between WIC, maternal and child health providers, and other allied fields

The following statement is attributed to Stacy Davis, Director of the Center for Innovative Practices in WIC at NWA.

“Leading the formation of NWA’s CIP-WIC is an honor, and I am excited for the journey ahead. This innovative venture, dedicated to addressing pressing issues of equity and well-being, stands poised to revolutionize how we serve the WIC community. CIP-WIC, guided by the voices of NWA members, will spearhead impactful change, foster collaboration, elevate best practices, and amplify advocacy voices within WIC. Together, we're steering towards a future where equity, diversity, inclusivity, and belonging define every facet of CIP-WIC's work, transforming the landscape of infant and maternal nutrition, health care, and offering culturally responsive support to women, infants, and young children.”

Meet the Team

Stacy Davis IBCLC, Director of the Center for Innovative Practices in WIC

Stacy Davis draws inspiration from her experiences as a Black woman and a mother, fueling her unwavering commitment to addressing disparities in maternal child health and lactation. Over the past decade, she has championed equity-centered programs and services aimed at positively influencing maternal and infant health outcomes while fostering diversity among birth and lactation advocates and practitioners. Stacy's initiatives include establishing Pathway 2 lactation programs in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, spearheading accreditation for a nationally acclaimed doula program, and leading efforts to diversify the WIC workforce. Since January 2022, she has been an integral part of NWA and currently serves as the Director of the Center for Innovative Practices in WIC.

Darlena Birch, MBA, RDN, Senior Manager, Public Health Nutrition

Darlena Birch's WIC journey commenced at the grassroots level within a local agency serving an 8,600-resident rural community along the Arizona-New Mexico border. Progressing from a role as the agency's WIC director and Registered Dietitian, Darlena ventured to the Arizona WIC state office in Phoenix. Her drive for growth led her from the West Coast to the East Coast, where she served as the Training Center Nutritionist with the Maryland WIC state office. Currently, Darlena shoulders the responsibility of overseeing NWA's nutrition and breastfeeding initiatives. Her multifaceted role involves representing the Association on diverse committees, contributing to advocacy efforts, crafting public comments, and contributing her expertise in the evaluation of research/studies pertaining to nutrition and breastfeeding.

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