CHP WIC Program Tops Statewide Average in January Prenatal WIC Enrollment; Consistently Exceeds State Average in Outreach Success

Mary Feuer and Michelle Derr of CHP-WIC
Mary Feuer and Michelle Derr, of CHP-WIC

Community Health Programs will send two of its Family Service leaders to a special White House event this weekend (Feb. 28-March 1) to recognize their successful leadership of CHP’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program in Southern Berkshire. The federally-funded WIC program is tied to improved prenatal nutrition and early childhood health among lower-income women and children.

The invitation follows CHP WIC’s steady success in enrolling eligible pregnant women during their first trimester of pregnancy – a key measure of WIC success. While CHP consistently exceeds the statewide WIC average of about 40 percent for enrolling newly pregnant women, in January CHP topped all of the state’s WIC programs with a 73 percent enrollment rate. Early enrollment is considered a key indicator of maternal and child health.

Michelle Derr, CHP’s director of WIC Family Services, and Mary Feuer, CHP WIC assistant director are attending the National WIC Association Leadership Conference, Feb. 28-March 1. The conference provides advocacy and policy training and a forum for discussing Federal initiatives impacting the health and nutritional well-being of WIC mothers and young children.

“This is great news for our community’s pregnant women and their children,” said Michelle Derr, who has been invited to Washington in March for the National WIC Association Leadership Conference. “What this high enrollment means is that we have a strong collaboration with our local obstetricians and we have a very effective community outreach and networking program.”

In January, CHP also ranked a perfect 100 on the percentage of women who show up for their WIC appointments with WIC staff, and 86 percent for the number of WIC parents who buy fresh fruit and vegetables with their nutrition benefits. Mothers in CHP’s WIC program also breastfeed their children longer than other WIC mothers around the state.

The CHP WIC program goes beyond the federal mandate for providing supplemental nutrition benefits and counseling: CHP offers cooking and other classes for parents and young children, regardless of whether they are WIC eligible – and that’s where fundraising support comes in.

“In addition to WIC’s unique services and food benefits, WIC parents and children are elgible to join Family Service’s other nutrition enrichment programs, such as cooking classes and nutrition education programs,” said Derr.

CHP’s Family Services program comprises a substantial aspect of Community Health Programs, a federally qualified health center with medical practices throughout Berkshire County.