RALEIGH — The North Carolina Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is one of seven WIC State Agencies to receive a U.S. Department of Agriculture/Tufts Telehealth Intervention Strategies for WIC (THIS-WIC) grant. Selected through a competitive review process, the $1 million grant will use innovative telehealth solutions to deliver nutrition education and breastfeeding support to WIC participants to overcome barriers to access, particularly those encountered in rural settings. The THIS-WIC team at Tufts University will oversee the evaluation and provide technical support to funded WIC State Agencies.
The North Carolina WIC Project is Bringing WIC to Participants via Telehealth Solutions, and North Carolina WIC aims to decrease barriers of accessing WIC services and increase focus on tailored nutritional needs through four different components:
- A participant portal app for streamlining the certification process
- A video chat component available on the portal to host distance appointments
- Fixed kiosks to be placed in high-participant-traffic areas of the community with participant portal capabilities
- A TeleWIC Service Center to be utilized by local WIC agencies that are short-staffed to facilitate distance-based appointments
“People come to WIC because they need help, but they stay because they feel supported,” said Dr. Kelly Kimple, Women’s and Children’s Health Section Chief in the Division of Public Health. “This grant will improve our ability to ensure women and children have adequate nutrition and health support during critical months and years of life.”
The NC WIC team is elevating NC WIC software capabilities to match what is available and ubiquitous in 2021 — bringing WIC to participants, instead of making participants always come to WIC; streamlining services to redirect the focus of the WIC appointment onto nutrition education and support; and improving the WIC experience for both participants and WIC staff.
The North Carolina WIC program is administered through the NC Department of Health and Human Services and provides supplemental foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals to more than 250,000 participants each month, including low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children under five who are determined to be at nutritional risk. Program services are provided by county health departments, community and rural health centers, and community action agencies.
To learn more about the WIC program or to find a local WIC clinic, visit www.nutritionnc.com/mywic.