CWA Flash E-Newsletter - October 1, 2019
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October: Mental Healthcare  
  The mental health of each family member affects an entire family. WIC Can Help with resources on suicide prevention, perinatal depression, general mental health support, and children's mental wellness. It is important that we take every opportunity to promote mental wellness and mental health care by providing information and referrals to services that will assure those who are seeking help get the best care for themselves and their families. 
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The Link Between Happiness and Longevity  
Science has been exploring the connection between happiness and longevity for some time. Read this great article on creating a sustained feeling of happiness with a mixture of traits like optimism, resilience, expressions of gratitude, forgiveness, being kind to others, having a strong sense of purpose, and experiencing satisfying close relationships with others. 
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Senate Advances FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations 
Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved an Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020, providing $151.7 billion in funding for USDA programs. Six billion, including a $800 million rescission for unspent food funds, is proposed for WIC funding, down $75 million from FY19, but sufficient to serve eligible participants, and the same levels as the House bill that passed in June. Different from the House's $90 million proposal for WIC's Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, the Senate proposes $80 million. NWA will recommend the higher funding level and notes this would be the first funding increase since 2010, for this effective program.  
House Approves Continuing Resolution to Avert October Shutdown 
A few days short of the Sept. 30 deadline, the House passed a continuing resolution by a vote of 301-123 that would ensure federal funding through November 21. The Senate is expected to vote on the continuing resolution this week. The House had passed 10 out of the 12 appropriations bills in June, but the process was delayed until completion of a bipartisan budget deal that authorized new funding for both defense and domestic programs. The Senate had waited to begin drafting appropriations bills until after passage of the bipartisan budget deal in early August, and was also hamstrung in early September over longstanding partisan disputes over the border wall and abortion policy. The House and Senate must still negotiate the allocation of funding to the different subcommittees, which will require changes to the House-passed versions.
Welcome! Dr. Angell, Director of CA Dept. of Public Health 
Appointed by Governor Newsom, Dr. Sonia Angell, will lead California's Dept. of Public Health (CDPH), upon Senate approval. Dr. Angell brings diverse experience, most recently, as a clinical professor of medicine at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Hospital. Her expertise includes prevention and primary care, including for cardiovascular disease. She has served in advisory roles for international health including for the Pan American Health Organization and also to the CDC on global non-communicable diseases. Before medical school Dr. Angell worked in support services for the National Puerto Rican Forum, in New York, serving low-income individuals and youth with education and employment. Early in her career she served as a teacher in Nepal in the Peace Corp. She has ties to California, having gone to medical school at UCSF. Welcome Dr. Angell! 
CWA News
New Public Charge Resources & Tools from CWA
The expansion to the "public charge" rule is expected to be implemented October 15, 2019, and this change stands to harm the food security, healthcare access, and wellbeing of immigrant and mixed-status families. WIC sites around California and the country are seeing families withdrawing from WIC services out of fear and uncertainty around their residency applications or immigration status, despite the fact that WIC IS NOT included in the public charge test. In an effort to communicate accurate information and reassure WIC communities, CWA has put together resources on public charge for use on the website and in the WIC clincs of local WIC agencies. ACTION: Check out, share and use the CWA press release, social media messages, and flyer concerning public charge in multiple languages. Watch the Spanish language stories on WIC's exemption from public charge on the Bay Area and Central Valley Telemundo stations. 
Congrats to Waves 2A and 2B on WIC Card Rollout!
Shout out to the local California WIC agencies who went live with WIC WISE and the WIC Card last month. CWA staff were lucky enough to visit a few agencies on rollout day, and got to see firsthand the excitement of the WIC participants receiving their new WIC cards, and the grace under pressure and positivity of the WIC staff as they implemented their training and troubleshot any bumps in the road that came along. We look forward to cheering as the rest of California follows suit in the coming months!
Our Top News Picks
2009 WIC Food Package Updates Improved Maternal, Infant Health Outcomes
Updates to the WIC food package in 2009 to incorporate more fruits and vegetables appear to have improved both maternal and infant health outcomes, according to a recent analysis of more than 2 million mother-child pairs in California. Lower rates of preeclampsia were seen after the revised WIC food package was introduced, and there was less excess weight gain during pregnancy. The effects on infants born to mothers receiving the updated package were smaller, but still beneficial. They tended to have higher average gestational ages at birth, were less likely to be small for gestational age, and were less likely to have birth weights under 2,500 grams. This indicates that at a critical juncture in the course of life, WIC policy can be a significant lever to decrease health disparities between high-risk women and children. 
Poverty Rates by the Numbers: CA's Troubles Worsen 
Since 2006, average income, after adjusting for inflation,  for median and top income (top 5%) earners in California rose 6.4% and 18.6%, while those in the lowest (bottom 20%) declined 5.3%.  The disparity is amplified when the cost of living, especially for housing, increased faster than wage increases, in most cases. The CA Budget and Policy Center details this recently released report, using census data. While the poverty rates, including for children, declined slightly, 2.2 million individuals, including 660,000 children live in deep poverty, which is an income 50% or less of the federal poverty level. Specific counties remain hard hit, including the Central Valley. The report underscores the importance of multiple strategies for addressing poverty including minimum wages, earned income tax credits, affordable child care and housing, access to nutrition program and career and technical training. 
Living Near Green Space Reduces Risk of Metabolic Syndrome 
A study has found that adults who live in greener neighborhoods have a decreased risk of developing metabolic syndrome - a cluster of conditions that includes obesity, hypertension and high blood sugar. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines a "green space" as "land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs or other vegetation." Parks, cemeteries and community gardens are considered green spaces. The study examined data from clinical examinations of over 6,000 British adults, and used data derived from four examinations participants went through between 1997 and 2013 that included blood analyses, blood pressure and measurements of weight circumference. The "greenness" of their places of residence was determined through satellite imaging. 
Public Charge Rule Could Cost CA Over $500M 
California could lose more than $500 million in federal funding if the Trump administration's "public charge" rule goes into effect next month. The "public charge" rule is meant to discourage immigrants from accessing social services. According to a study released last week by researchers at UCLA and the California Immigrant Policy Center, California could lose millions in federal funding that would have gone to hospitals, labs and other health services in the state that treat immigrants. Since the rule change was proposed last year, enrollment in social services throughout California's immigrant population has already begun to decrease. The report found that between 317,000 - 741,000 non-citizen immigrants who are eligible for Medi-Cal will drop from the program once the new public charge rule takes effect on Oct 15. The report recommends a series of policy proposals to counteract the "chilling" effect of the public charge rule, including creation of an "express lane," where people can sign up for multiple services at once at just one location. California and eight other states are suing in federal court over the implementation of the new rule before it is set to take effect next month, with a hearing in federal court in San Francisco is scheduled for Oct. 2. 
Community Integrated Health Care
Health care is reforming and opening opportunities for WIC local agencies and community organizations as key partners with health care and social service organizations for integrated services and expanded staffing capacities. This recent NASEM report  Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation's Health makes the case for, and details recommendations for system integration, alternative payments for health care, workforce opportunities, data sharing and electronic systems integration and many more needed innovations. 
Health of Women and Children Report 2019
The United Health Foundation recognizes that the health of America's women, infants and children today will impact the future well-being of the United States for generations to come. The 2019 America's Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Report continues the tradition of providing actionable, data-driven insights regarding the strengths and challenges that the country faces across the health of women, infants and children. The report leverages 73 health indicators this year, including those that examine the community and environment, clinical care, health behaviors, policies and health outcomes. More than a dozen data sources are used, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau's National Survey of Children's Health. Policy-makers, public health officials and community leaders are encouraged to use the insights from this report to take action and implement programs that strengthen identified solutions and tackle challenges. 
Nationwide Obesity Report Recommends WIC
Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States - and has been for decades. Currently, about one in three Americans of all ages - or more than 100 million people - have obesity. A report based in part on newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and analysis by Trust for America's Health, provides an annual snapshot of obesity rates nationwide. Among the report's recommendations to reduce obesity are expansion of WIC services to age 6 for children and for two years postpartum for mothers and fully funding the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program.  
California WIC Association
3120 Freeboard Dr., Suite 101, West Sacramento, CA 95691

Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760