WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National WIC Association (NWA) has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to catalyze NWA's work to support strengthening and diversifying the WIC workforce. The funded portfolio consists of 3 projects and includes:
Increasing & diversifying credentialed professionals in WIC. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (AND) annual compensation survey, only 6% of dietitians are Hispanic with 10% indicating a race other than white (6% Asian, 3% black/African American, and 1% American Indian/Alaska Native). This means that 90% of dietitians are white. Furthermore, many of the challenges faced regarding diversity among the dietitian workforce are echoed among International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Therefore, NWA aims to strengthen the program's network of registered dietitians and IBCLCs so that they're not only trained to provide vital nutrition support and advanced breastfeeding care but are more reflective of the communities they serve.
Creating career ladders for competent paraprofessional authorities (CPPA) in WIC. A term not universally utilized in WIC, CPPA is defined in USDA's Nutrition Service Standards as an individual without extended professional training in health, nutrition or clinical management who is trained and given ongoing supervision to provide a basic service or function. Paraprofessionals provide specific tasks within a defined scope of practice. They assist professionals but are not licensed or credentialed as healthcare, nutrition, or lactation consultant professionals. NWA will explore the landscape of CPPAs to better understand the barriers these individuals face regarding career growth and will work to provide them with the opportunity to pursue either the IBCLC credential or the Nutrition and Dietetics Technician Registered (NTDR) credential.
Providing in-depth equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) training for State and Local WIC staff and NWA staff and members of the Board of Directors, building on the work and promising practices identified in Advancing Health Equity to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion (AHEAD) in WIC. With this project, NWA will build EDI capacity within the larger WIC community by enhancing the competence and knowledge of its current Health Equity Champions (HECs) and new HECs. These HECs will build EDI into their roles, responsibilities, organization, culture and program delivery and offer training to State and Local WIC staff. They will serve as a network of EDI experts specializing in WIC, serving as presenters for NWA's webinars and conferences and content experts for EDI work. Additionally, the cohorts will continue to guide NWA's efforts to develop promising practices related to EDI. Moreover, NWA will assess its internal and external policies and practices and design and implement a comprehensive work plan to further enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion in its internal and external policies as well as develop EDI-focused organizational values and mission and vision.
WIC has a remarkable track record of effectiveness in improving maternal and child health and nutrition, birth outcomes, breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity, and healthcare costs. However, the program struggles to recruit and retain culturally responsive and sensitive staff who are reflective of WIC's diverse participant population. Enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the WIC workforce is critical to not only ensuring the highest quality of services are received by program participants, but increases the likelihood program participants are receiving culturally appropriate care, education, resources and support as they continue to navigate WIC.
Over the coming weeks, NWA will release multiple announcements providing WIC agencies with information regarding opportunities to receive funding and participate in these projects.
NWA thanks the Walmart Foundation for their generous award and commitment to helping the WIC community grow for the ultimate benefit of program participants through enhanced, culturally relevant WIC service delivery.
“I am so proud of the NWA team and the work they have put into developing a program with clear goals aimed at addressing one of the most pressing issues for the WIC workforce. It is more important than ever to ensure that the WIC workforce reflects the diverse WIC participant population. The WIC workforce must also be adequately trained to meet the core needs of the moms and families it serves, doing so with the utmost care and attention to advancing equity within the program. NWA has positioned itself as a leader in WIC innovation and this is yet another example of our astounding work,” states Dr. Jamila K. Taylor, CEO of NWA.
“Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to advancing healthy food access and culturally relevant nutrition education, interventions that are critical to improving maternal and infant health. We are thrilled to support the National WIC Association’s efforts to focus and improve diversity within their network to ensure all moms have access to the resources they need to thrive. Philanthropy has an important role to play in complementing public sector efforts to close disparities in maternal health,” states Naomi Gunnell, Walmart Foundation’s Director of Healthier Food for All.
Name: Tim Ward
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The National WIC Association is the non-profit voice of the 12,000 public health nutrition service provider agencies and the over 6.3 million mothers, babies, and young children served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). NWA provides education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drives innovation and advocacy to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier families. For more information, visit www.nwica.org.
In 1962, Sam Walton opened the doors of the first Walmart, seeking to help people in small towns to save money and live better. The Walmart Foundation was created in 1982 to help support the communities Walmart serves. Last year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provided more than $1.5 billion in cash and in-kind giving. Walmart Foundation focuses its philanthropic support across the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more information, visit https://walmart.org/who-we-are.