Sutter County's Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has won
the statewide Best Practices Award—Excellence In Health Linkages, a
competitive award given each year to just one of the 82 WIC programs
operating in California.
WIC is a federally-funded health and nutrition program designed to
safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children up to
age 5 who are at nutrition risk. In addition to assisting families
in buying healthy supplemental food from local vendors, WIC provides
education in healthy eating, physical activity, and breastfeeding.
Sutter County was chosen for the award, presented by the California
Department of Public Health, because of its successful collaboration
with community health partners: they teamed up with the First 5
Commission-Smiles Dental Van to provide more than 200 dental screenings
and dental work for children 5 and under; and they teamed with the Sierra
Health Foundation to provide nutrition education, physical activities
and gardening experience for mothers at three substance abuse
Dental services for children under age 5 are difficult for WIC
participants to obtain. The Smiles Dental Van provides comprehensive
dental services at the main WIC site and satellite sites, thereby
decreasing transportation and access to care barriers. As a direct
result of this services, many WIC participants were able to obtain
the required dental services need for kindergarten enrollment.
Nutrition education and access to healthy foods is vital in recovery
from substance abuse. The Living Strong program funded by a grant
from Sierra Health Foundation, utilized peer educators to provide
access to nutrition education, physical activity, and to plant and
grow gardens. The peer educators attended WIC staff trainings and
incorporated the WIC "Healthy Habits For Life" messaging
in their training of mothers in the substance abuse program. The
Living Strong program served 250 clients.
WIC participants must meet income guidelines and be pregnant women,
new mothers, infants or children under age five. Foster children
are eligible for the program.
PICTURE: From left: Karrie Spencer, Sutter County WIC Registered
Dietician; Marcia Barnes, Sutter County WIC Program Coordinator;
Linnea Sallack, WIC Program Division Chief, California Department
of Public Health; Dr. Horton, Director of California Department
of Public Health