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Making a difference

WIC team uses education and connection to help families with young children achieve nutritional success

Members of the OneWorld WIC team.

Nutrition is a vital piece of health care, especially for pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children. Despite the importance, it is not an automatic given due to access barriers including transportation, income and more. At the OneWorld WIC office, the team is dedicated to changing this reality.

“We welcome everyone in with open arms,” said WIC Clerk, Stephanie Morales. “We are here to help everyone.”

A WIC participant herself, Morales knows how valuable the WIC program is, which in part inspired her to join the team. Morales first connected with WIC when she lived in Grand Island, Nebraska after having her first child. When she moved to Bellevue, Morales got involved with the OneWorld WIC program.

“In addition to the food resources and nutrition education, we were invited to a lot of community outreach events,” said Morales. “I made a lot of connections that were helpful for me and my children.”

Designed to set participants up for long-term success, the WIC program offers supplemental foods benefits, nutritional education and breastfeeding support for pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum mothers. Infants and children can be a part of the program until they are five years old.

“At many appointments, we check the infants’ and children’s weight, hemoglobin levels and lead levels in addition to providing nutrition education,” said Amber Lorthridge, RD, WIC Dietitian. “We also offer lactation support for mothers for six months to one year depending on their eligibility and circumstances as well because it’s all connected and is important for the mother and infant.”

The OneWorld WIC office is located on the Livestock Exchange Health Campus, which allows the WIC team to work directly with other departments, promotes continuation of care and eases access
for participants.

“Being in house makes a big difference because patients can go to medical or dental appointments, visit the Marketplace office or stop by the pharmacy all in one place,” said Lorthridge. “We refer a lot of children to OneWorld for vaccines, medical exams and dental visits. We can also help get moms’ questions answered because we can communicate directly with their health care teams.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the WIC team switched to remote appointments via phone calls. The office is now open for in person appointments, but phone appointments are still available to help remove transportation barriers.

The team also offers breastfeeding classes every other month via Zoom and one-on-one lactation consultations with a certified lactation consultant.

At OneWorld, We Care for All People.

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