Volume 4 | September 2022
The Wonders of WIC
Since its beginnings the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC, has provided vital pre- and post-natal services to millions of moms, infants and young children through our state and local partners. The past few years refocused attention on just how vital WIC is and shone a light on the people, services, strategies and partnerships that work to serve
WIC families across the Northeast Region. 
The Wonders of WIC is our way of capturing and sharing out your successes, your innovations and your people. In this edition we spotlight one of the Wonders of WIC…breastfeeding.
From the Regional Desk
From the Desk of
Acting Regional Administrator Christine Ruggieri
WOW! And I don’t just mean the “Wonders of WIC.” As I was looking through the content of this issue I couldn’t help but be amazed at all that was accomplished at the state and local level this year in the Northeast Region. Never have WIC staff been so tested, and to no one’s surprise, never have they delivered more.

Raising a family is challenging, even more so during the pandemic. And in the middle of all this, you dealt with an infant formula recall and shortage. WIC has been a lifeline for families during this time, whether breastfeeding, formula fed or a bit of both, WIC staff ensured WIC families are getting the food and referrals they need for optimal health.

August was National Breastfeeding Month and we were overwhelmed by the activities you undertook; many of which are highlighted in this issue. We were pleased to host a virtual celebration of this year’s WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence winners. We’re already looking forward to next year’s awards.

I want to call out and thank Rachelle Wheatley and Mackenzie Presher for sharing their breastfeeding journeys and for using their own experiences to help other moms navigate their way. And I want to applaud the ingenuity and coordination behind the Northeast Breastfeeding Curriculum Collaboration; an exemplary illustration of the power of WIC teamwork.

On behalf of everyone at FNS please know we are your biggest cheerleaders. Your navigation of the past few years, at both state and local offices, is simply WOW!
Spotlight on WIC Clinic Staff
We interviewed a peer counselor in the New Hampshire WIC program and a designated breastfeeding expert in the US Virgin Islands WIC program to learn about their roles in helping families along their breastfeeding journeys.
Meet Rachelle Wheatley, designated breastfeeding expert, St. Thomas, USVI
WIC Program

Rachelle Wheatley serves as the nutrition program supervisor and designated breastfeeding expert for the Roy L. Schneider Hospital, Norre Gade WIC Clinic in St. Thomas, USVI.

While at Johnson & Wales University, Wheatley interned with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in Virginia, where she “learned a lot about the program during my internship and knew WIC was the place I wanted to work. I still remember the first time I walked into the clinic here in St. Thomas. I was 6-months pregnant and asked if they had any openings as I had just graduated.”

Wheatley started off as a nutritionist for USVI WIC and over the past 10 years, has worked in a variety of positions and locations.

Meet Mackenzie Presher, breastfeeding peer counselor, Southern New Hampshire Services WIC Program

Mackenzie Presher is a new breastfeeding peer counselor at the Southern New Hampshire Services WIC Program, one of 60 programs this community action agency runs, which serves 50 percent of the State’s population residing in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties.

Presher, whose been a peer counselor for 8 months now, came to WIC in a roundabout way. With a degree in biology and a master's in public health, she previously worked in a microbiology lab for a pharmaceutical company. Once she started having children, she left the workforce to raise her family. When her youngest started going to school full-time she got a job in her local school district, but when the pandemic hit, she started re-evaluating what she wanted to be doing. She decided she wanted to find something that used the degrees she’d work so hard for.

“When I started job searching and came across a breastfeeding peer counselor job at WIC, I thought it would be perfect as this is public health,” said Presher. “I feel strongly about breastfeeding, I breastfed my three children and felt I could make a difference.”

(Photos courtesy of staff featured)
WIC Participant Testimonial
“My name is Genesis. I have a 4-month-old baby girl. Everyone told me that being a first-time mom was going to be difficult. I received common advice like "sleep when baby sleeps", but I was not prepared for how HARD it actually was. Without my family nearby, I often felt lonely and sad. No one could really help me with my baby because it was my responsibility to care for her, but I had so many questions, especially with breastfeeding and low milk supply.

I am so thankful for the support that my breastfeeding peer counselor, Mackenzie, gave me. She is a Godsent gift; she would call me on the exact moments that I needed the most help. She always provided words of encouragement, great tips, and special advice on how she dealt with the issues I was dealing with. Her input was always appreciated, and I cannot thank her and the WIC program enough for the support in this motherhood journey. Today I have been breastfeeding for 4 months, and it has never been better. I am confident I will be able to breastfeed my baby for much longer. I can now look back to the first days with my baby and be glad that I succeeded with the help and support from WIC. God bless you! Thank you much.”

(Adobe Stock image photo)
WIC Breastfeeding Awards of Excellence
Each August FNS announces the WIC Breastfeeding Awards of Excellence. These awards recognize local WIC agencies that have implemented exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities and serve as models for other local agencies to strengthen breastfeeding among WIC participants. This year, FNS awarded 97 WIC Breastfeeding Awards of Excellence (85 Gold, 12 Premiere). Below are the winners in the Northeast Region.

(Photos - Awardee photos courtesy of featured WIC programs)
Premiere Award
The Society for the Protection and Care of Children WIC, Rochester, NY

“It has been a goal of SPCC WIC for many years to receive the WIC Breastfeeding Premiere Award of Excellence,” said Caroline Parmelee, SPCC WIC breastfeeding coordinator. ”Every single member of our staff played a role in growing our breastfeeding program to be what it is today. Being recognized for all the hard work, energy and devotion to helping our participants achieve their infant feeding goals means the world to us. We work with very rural communities where we are sometimes the only breastfeeding help that is available to them, and we take pride in knowing that our efforts are helping to close some of the breastfeeding disparities we see in the United States.”
Gold Awards
Monroe County WIC, West Rochester, NY

The peer counselors of the Monroe County WIC Program, with the inspiration of their breastfeeding peer counselor coordinator, have increased the opportunities for WIC participants to gather for weekly breastfeeding classes via Zoom. The enthusiasm from these moms and peer counselors is apparent and contagious.
Cattaraugus County, Albany, NY

"Cattaraugus County WIC program is honored to receive the WIC Breastfeeding Gold Award of Excellence,” said Michele Phelps, WIC Director, Cattaraugus County. “Our peer counselors are passionate about breastfeeding and go to great lengths to help WIC participants meet their breastfeeding goals. Their peer support means a great deal to our WIC families, the heart of it stemming from managing similar situations in parenting journeys. The peer counselors make WIC extraordinary!”
Clinton County WIC, Plattsburgh, NY

“The Clinton County WIC team is proud to be a part of a great community that supports breastfeeding. Through coalitions and community work, Clinton County WIC strives to become a place where people know they can receive breastfeeding support and assistance. Our peer counselors are part of the community they serve and they build and maintain strong, meaningful relationships with families.”
-Mary Lee Ireland, WIC Coordinator, Clinton County WIC.
Livingston-Wyoming WIC, Mt. Morris, NY

"Like many WIC agencies, our team has faced multiple challenges in the past year due to the pandemic, vacancies, and adapting to providing remote services to WIC participants. Through all these challenges, the Livingston-Wyoming WIC program has continued to provide needed services to WIC participants, including our breastfeeding promotion and support. To receive this award from the USDA is an honor and a testament to the remarkable services provided by our team. I feel fortunate to work amongst such dedicated staff."
-Margaret Betette, Livingston-Wyoming WIC Coordinator
Long Island Federal Qualified Health Center Inc., Long Island, NY

“The Long Island FQHC WIC program is overwhelmed and extremely happy that our small, breastfeeding support team’s dedication, commitment and hard work are being recognized with this award,” said Yadia Hinds, Director, LIFQHC WIC.
Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Mount Vernon, NY

“The WIC staff work as a team to promote and support breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding. The breastfeeding peer counselors respond promptly to challenges and make the appropriate referrals leading to successful outcomes.”
-Norma Robinson, WIC Director,
Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center.
Tioga Opportunities, Inc. WIC, Owego, NY

“Tioga Opportunities, Inc. WIC Program is honored to receive the WIC Breastfeeding Gold Award of Excellence, in recognition of the excellent work of the breastfeeding support team,” said Loriann Spatola-Davis, WIC Coordinator, Tioga Opportunities, Inc. WIC Program. “The breastfeeding support team does an outstanding job connecting with families and developing relationships that starts with pregnancy and extends beyond their breastfeeding experience, leading to increased positive child health outcomes.”
WIC of Columbia/Greene - Catholic Charities, Hudson, NY

“It is always wonderful to hear participant feedback on how helpful it has been to have the support of a breastfeeding peer counselor in their breastfeeding journey,” said Emily Maresca-Kipp, WIC Coordinator, Catholic Charities. “We are so proud of our team for the work they do in supporting breastfeeding parents and the recognition they are receiving with the WIC Breastfeeding Gold Award of Excellence. Over the past two years, our peer counselors have begun hosting virtual mom-to-mom breastfeeding support groups. The addition of virtual support groups to enhance the breastfeeding services already offered by peer counselors has allowed moms to connect, support and learn from each other. This can be quite meaningful for parents who lack a strong support system.”
Lynn Community Health Center - North Shore WIC Program, Lynn, MA

"We are happy to be receiving the Gold Breastfeeding Award. Our program staff has worked diligently throughout the pandemic and formula shortage to promote breastfeeding and our moms are thriving!"
-Leanne Davis-Ickes, WIC nutritionist, breastfeeding coordinator CLC.

"As a WIC breastfeeding peer counselor, I am honored to be part of this award recognition. Working with moms and babies to overcome any situation with breastfeeding and reaching their goals is very rewarding. I am truly thankful to everyone who is part of the North Shore WIC program, for the support of every idea we have and to put it into action. I am truly grateful to be part of this award."
-Rosa Barreto, WIC breastfeeding peer counselor CLC CHBE.
Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc., Concord, NH

“The Community Action Program
Belknap-Merrimack Counties WIC Program is honored to be a recipient of the WIC Breastfeeding Gold Award of Excellence by USDA,” said Susan Wnuk, Director, Community Health and Nutrition Services, Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc. “The award was possible only through the hard work and dedication of all WIC program staff and in particular the breastfeeding peer counselors, who work tirelessly with our pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to support and encourage them to breastfeed their infants. Knowing the importance of breastfeeding in giving babies a healthy start, WIC is committed to promoting breastfeeding as the optimal feeding method for infants.”
Breastfeeding Month Highlights
Each August across New England, New York and the US Virgin Islands celebrations are held to highlight National Breastfeeding Month, World Breastfeeding Week, National WIC Breastfeeding Week, Indigenous Milk Medicine Week, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Week and Black Breastfeeding Week.

Below is a sampling of the events that took place across the region.

(The posts are courtesy of featured social media sites)

Rhode Island
RI Department of Health celebrates all families during World Breastfeeding Week.

USDA tweets breastfeeding resources during Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Week.
CT Department of Public Health promotes breastfeeding during National Breastfeeding Month.

US Virgin Islands
USVI WIC celebrates families they support during World Breastfeeding Week.

New York
During National Breastfeeding Month the WIC Association of NY State shares messages of thanks from children "graduating" from Elmhurst WIC.
VT Department of Health celebrates National Breastfeeding Month with WIC resources to support the breast/chest feeding journey.

New Hampshire
NH Department of Health and Human Services promote WIC services during Indigenous Milk Medicine Week.
MA WIC Nutrition Program shares events taking place across the state during Black Breastfeeding Week.
ME CDC promotes support for breastfeeding mothers during World Breastfeeding Week.
MA WIC Tracks Breastfeeding Trends
Massachusetts WIC charted participants' breastfeeding rates this past year; Monthly breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration rates show an increase; concurrent with the infant formula shortage.

Click the graphic below to see the charts.
ME WIC Hosts Relactation Webinar
With the infant formula shortage, many parents wonder if relactation is possible. To help WIC staff support parents around this important issue, Maine WIC hosted a relactation webinar featuring Paula Norcott from Maine Mothers & Company. More than 145 WIC staff from Maine and other states attended and to date the video has been watched more than 400 times. Is relactation possible? Success varies; watch the webinar here to find out.
RI WIC Hybrid Promotion at Farmers Markets
RI WIC promotes breastfeeding at farmers markets. Sankofa WIC staff promoted breastfeeding at a weekly Sankofa Farmers Market in Providence, RI during August. The market is on the library grounds in the WIC clinic's neighborhood.

The market accepts SNAP, WIC and FMNP. One WIC FMNP vendor was selling collard greens
and lemongrass.
Breastfeeding Curriculum Collaboration
Northeast Breastfeeding Curriculum Collaboration
By Gillian MacKinnon, Vermont WIC Public Health Nutrition Specialist

New Curriculum Launched in 2022
In 2022, FNS launched a new WIC Breastfeeding Curriculum, a skill-based, WIC-focused training designed to build competencies among WIC staff. The training consists of 4 levels, which include all staff in the WIC clinic from administrative support staff to designated breastfeeding experts. Each level builds on the next to higher levels of learning. The training clarifies staff roles and how staff at all levels work together to support breastfeeding in WIC.

Vermont WIC Takes the Lead 
The big question was, how are we going to provide a 45-hour breastfeeding training to all current and future Vermont staff? We wondered would it be in-person, virtual, or a hybrid of the two? Would it be all in one month, two months, or over the course of six months? The questions and ideas swirled and swirled until we had our “ah-ha moment”!

After considering how we might move forward with training all our staff, it dawned on us that we should consider collaborating with our neighboring states. We imagined they were likely feeling the same way, excited to share the information but overwhelmed and apprehensive about how they were going to do so. Since we decided we would train virtually, we recognized that collaborating would be much easier and would also ease the burden for each state’s WIC program. We also felt that working together as a regional team would make this sustainable into the future and would allow more opportunities to train staff than one state could do alone.

Collaboration Gets Underway
We proposed the idea to our FNS Northeast Regional Team, suggesting that we collaborate, and each state would be responsible for signing up and teaching certain sections. The FNS Northeast Regional Team agreed it could make the process more efficient and graciously offered to support the endeavor by sharing the invitation with the northeast states and in helping in any way possible to make it happen.

Planning was underway by early January with the breastfeeding coordinators from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, US Virgin Islands, and Connecticut. Meetings with the Breastfeeding Curriculum Regional Team occurred routinely to plan out schedules, registrations/invitations, acclimate to the technology and navigating the platform, talk about continuing education credits/CERPS, and the many other logistics that arose in the planning of this large virtual training. The teamwork was nothing short of incredible and the time getting to know colleagues from our region has been one of the biggest highlights of this project.

Training Begins
Beginning in May and throughout the spring, over 400 state and local agency staff received virtual training in Level 1, aimed to equip all WIC staff with the basic competencies required to promote breastfeeding among WIC families. Over 200 state and local agency staff received virtual training in
Level 2, designed to build competencies among WIC peer counselors who directly support breastfeeding WIC participants.

And this fall, the group will continue with trainings in Levels 3 and 4, building on the skills of WIC competent professional authorities, breastfeeding coordinators and designated breastfeeding experts.

Congratulations to the Team
USDA FNS presented Certificates of Appreciation to the teams from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, the US Virgin Islands and Maine, who made this regional rollout of the WIC Breastfeeding Curriculum possible.

  • Marilyn Lonczak, Connecticut WIC breastfeeding coordinator
  • Lori Goeschel, Connecticut WIC peer counseling coordinator
  • Carrie Louch, Maine WIC breastfeeding coordinator 
  • Samantha Blanchard, Maine WIC nutrition coordinator 
  • Kristina Thompson, New Hampshire WIC breastfeeding coordinator
  • Tricia Cassi, Vermont WIC breastfeeding coordinator
  • Gillian MacKinnon, Vermont WIC public health nutrition specialist 
  • Rachelle Wheatley, US Virgin Islands WIC nutritionist and designated breastfeeding expert
New Hampshire Highlights
New Hampshire held its WIC Directors’ Forum on August 31 in Manchester. Susan Wnuk, Chair, New Hampshire WIC Directors Association, welcomed attendees to the first in-person forum since the pandemic. Lissa Sirois, Interim Bureau Chief, Population Health and Community Services, Division of Public Health Services, NH Department of Health and Human Services gave opening remarks. Brian Dittmeier, Senior Public Policy Counsel and Noora Kanfash, State Public Policy Manager from the National WIC Association provided federal updates. The forum provided an opportunity for attendees to network with old and new WIC colleagues from around the state.

Dr. Sara Bleich, Director of Nutrition Security and Health Equity at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, spoke on USDA’s focus on nutrition security. Tiffany Brewster, Community Engagement Director with New Hampshire Hunger Solutions presented on the State Partnership Improving Nutrition and Equity (SPINE) Program and Rebecca Parton, Project Coordinator, Dartmouth Trauma Interventions Research Center gave insights into trauma informed work with families. The conference ended with a round table discussion on NH WIC enhancements and innovations.
Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties WIC Program held their sixth annual World Breastfeeding Week Walk and Celebration on the New Hampshire State House lawn to support and honor all moms and supporters of breastfeeding.

With the theme of “Step Up for Breastfeeding”, the Local Agency worked to make this a combined community and family event. The support and joint efforts of community partners from the New Hampshire Breastfeeding Task Force, the State of NH WIC Office, representatives from the Northeast Regional Office of USDA and U.S. Department of Labor, and the staff at the Local Agency made this event a success.

There was a great turnout of breastfeeding moms, babies, and children, as well as dads and grandmothers there to support their families! The event included a walk with all attendees around downtown Concord, culminating with the celebration on the State House lawn. The children enjoyed a bubble station and sidewalk chalk drawing, in addition to a beautiful cake donated by the local Hannaford supermarket.

Kristina Thompson, IBCLC and New Hampshire State WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator, and Lissa Sirois, IBCLC and State WIC Director, provided opening remarks that emphasized the importance of support for breastfeeding parents and Brian Cleasby, the Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor/Wage and Hour Division, spoke about the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.

The event ended with a raffle of a large assortment of prizes including gift baskets and gift cards. All moms in attendance received useful breastfeeding gear including a handy shopping bag donated by the State of New Hampshire.
Southern New Hampshire Services raffled three breastfeeding baskets filled with diapers, wipes, breastmilk storage bags and more, during its Breastfeeding Month celebration. Pictured is raffle winner Zaneta P.
Southwestern Community Services celebrated Breastfeeding Month by
showcasing its peer counselors on a bulletin board in the Keene office along with providing goodies to families.
Southwestern Community Services staff collaborated with community partners to celebrate Breastfeeding Month. Families were able to meet with lactation educators to learn more about resources in their area. Families were able to note their specific breastfeeding journey and share on a community board.
Connecticut Highlights
Day Kimball Hospital hosted an event for WBW at the local library. The librarian read stories to the kids and gave them a tour. A children’s author sang songs and read her book. Participants shared their birth and breastfeeding journeys, expressing interest in a regular moms support group with WIC staff who helped them continue to successfully breastfeed.
Day Kimball Hospital WIC staff Kera Morissette and Bianca Grover, along with CEO Kyle Kramer and Director of Pediatrics Dr. Marc Cerrone were interviewed on the WINY Radio Morning Show. The interview highlighted WIC’s new peer program.
East Hartford WIC celebrated participants with a day at the park. Many mothers gathered to share and celebrate their breastfeeding journeys.

Baby wearing (the practice of carrying a baby in a sling or in another form of carrier) was demonstrated by peers with dolls. 
Peer counselor Yamayra Rivera from the Meriden, CT WIC program is featured on National WIC Association’s Facebook. The Record Journal did a story on WIC’s new peer counselors at the beginning of the year.
Thames Valley Council for Community Action Inc. hosted a walk on its beautiful rural campus in Norwich, CT with a Facebook Live stream by their coordinator, Regina Brady informing their followers about World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding peer counselor Gerdanie (Nia) Michel celebrated with participants.
OPTIMUS Health Care WIC Program, Bridgeport, CT hosted a Breastfeeding Month event for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Lauren Ramos, IBCLC/WIC nutritionist is shown nursing her baby during
the event.
Vermont Highlights
During World Breastfeeding Week the Brattleboro, Springfield and White River Junction communities joined together to honor breastfeeding, chestfeeding and lactation. This year’s theme of “Step up for Breastfeeding — Educate and Support,” emphasized the idea that we need to restore support systems to pre-pandemic levels and strengthen their capacity.

The Vermont Department of Health supports and encourages breastfeeding because of its important health benefits for both the person who is lactating and the baby.

“World Breastfeeding Week is a perfect time for us to show people how and why breastfeeding and chestfeeding can be the easy and healthy choice,” said Deb Kitzmiller, a public health nurse with the department’s Brattleboro Local Health Office. “As part of this year’s focus, we also wanted to spotlight the important role Vermont employers have in supporting their lactating employees.”

Vermont is a leader in breastfeeding initiation, with 91.5% of babies in the state receiving human milk shortly after birth, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. However, by the age of 6 months, the rate of babies who are exclusively breastfed drops to 36.8%. This coincides with the time many parents return to the workforce – which Kitzmiller said shows just how important employer support for breastfeeding friendly policies in the workplace is to people being able to make this healthy choice for their babies. Visit healthvermont.gov/breastfeeding-friendly-employers to find out about becoming a breastfeeding friendly employer.
Vermont businesses were highlighted for providing breastfriendly spaces for employees to pump or breastfeed.
Breastfeeding and chestfeeding space at Brattleboro’s Austin Design.
The Space on Main in Bradford has an area that families can use to meet a variety of infant needs.
The Vermont Department of Health's Springfield District Office created a lactation room.
In Middlebury, the Natural Foods Co-op welcomed local representatives from the Vermont Department of Health to the Co-op Plaza during World Breastfeeding Week. Middlebury WIC asked participants for breastfeeding photos and testimonials, which were created into a display for folks to enjoy while walking through the Co-op gardens.  Photos were posted on the Co-ops' Instagram and Facebook.

Peter F., now 13 years old, stands next to a photo stand of his mom breatfeeding him as an infant. These breastfeeding standees, life-size wooden cut outs of local VT parents nursing their babies, are placed by WIC in libraries, hospitals and other areas in communities.
The Vermont Department of Health holds one of three “Big Let Down” events taking place across the state where breastfeeding/lactating parents met up to LATCH ON and LET DOWN! Lactation experts were on hand to provide support and answer questions.
White River Junction District Office staff made displays in their windows to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.
More Highlights from Around the Region
Erin Bertoldi, the state breastfeeding coordinator at the Rhode Island Department of Health spoke on the Public Health Out Loud podcast. Co-hosts Dr. Jim McDonald and Dr. Philip Chan ask Erin about the health benefits of breastfeeding, the challenges that parents may face, and the resources that are available to support parents through their breastfeeding journey.  Listen to the episode here.
Meeting Street WIC partnered with Healthy Families America on August 4 at a splash pad in Providence, RI to promote WIC and distribute breastfeeding education bags.
(Adobe Stock image)
Children’s Friend WIC promoted breastfeeding at its RI sites throughout August. During the first week of August they distributed breastfeeding toolkits, which included breastfeeding pads and bras, to support moms in meeting their personal breastfeeding goals.
(Adobe Stock image)
MA WIC posts about the role of fathers in supporting partners in their breastfeeding journeys.
In MA, breastfeeding in public is a right. MA has a law that protects mothers who choose to nurse where and when they want.
NY State Department of Health tweets resources on finding safe formula substitutes.
Wanda is the New York State Department of Health’s new WIC virtual assistant. In a friendly and conversational tone, Wanda asks potential participants questions that prescreen for WIC eligibility. In less than three minutes, families can learn about WIC services, find out if they may be eligible, and get referrals to WIC clinics near them. Learn more at bit.ly/Chat-With-Wanda
Norregade WIC clinic, USVI, hosts events for pregnant and breastfeeding moms and their families.
USVI WIC clinics held a variety of events for families celebrating World Breastfeeding Week at their local WIC clinic.
Throughout the summer Maine WIC set up lactation stations at different festivals and fairs around the state. The lactation stations offered families a place for nursing and included USB charging stations, a folding rocking chair, and baby break room for diaper changing.
Maine WIC Tik Tok posts about nutrition while breastfeeding.
The Portland Sea Dogs hosted Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding Awareness Night, presented by Maine WIC on August 3.

Maine WIC Director Ginger Roberts-Scott, threw out the first pitch and was interviewed on Sea Dogs radio.
USDA Blogs
Keeping WIC Participants with Special Nutritional Needs Safe during the Infant Formula Shortage

by Diane Kriviski, Associate Administrator for Supplemental Nutrition & Safety Programs, Food and Nutrition Service
Nutritionists: The Link to Nutrition Security

by Angela Brown, Nutritionist, Brockton, MA WIC and president, Boston Organization of Nutritionists and Dieticians of Color
Welcoming Dad to the WIC Family

by Doug Edwards, Founder and Director of Real Dads Forever
Nutrition Security in Action: A New Blog Series

by Dr. Sara Bleich, Director of Nutrition Security and Health Equity, Food and Nutrition Service
Get to Know Your USDA Regional WIC Team
Get to know your Regional WIC Team member - Janie Urbanowicz.
(Photo courtesy of Janie Urbanowicz)
Janie Urbanowicz is a Program Specialist for the Northeast Regional Office WIC Team. Janie specializes in the areas of funding, grants, certification and eligibility, as well as the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (S/FMNP). She currently serves as the state liaison for Connecticut WIC and S/FMNP and USVI WIC and S/FMNP.

Janie has worked with the USDA since spring 2020. Prior to joining the Agency, she worked in Kampala, Uganda at the Infectious Diseases Institute in the care and treatment of people living with HIV with a focus on pediatric/adolescent programming.

She is originally from New Orleans, LA and studied Public Health/Infectious Disease and Africana Studies at Tulane University. She completed her Master of Public Health degree at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Janie is currently pursuing her doctorate in Public Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a concentration in Health Equity and Social Justice.

During her free time, Janie will most likely be found with a book, as she is an avid reader. She also enjoys cooking and food as well as playing/watching soccer, and she is a lifelong fan of FC Barcelona.
Share Your Stories/Resources
If you have a story idea or someone you think should be profiled, let us know. If you have resources to share, we can highlight them in future editions. We will be covering the many aspects of WIC so send forth your input for consideration.

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