The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) announced three local WIC agencies received national recognition for their exemplary breastfeeding programs.
The West Virginia EMS Technical Support Network WIC, Monongalia County Health Department WIC, and Valley Health WIC received the WIC Breastfeeding Gold Award of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services. This annual award recognizes exemplary programs and aims to provide models to motivate and guide all WIC agencies to strengthen breastfeeding support activities.
“The ultimate goal is to increase both initiation and duration of breastfeeding among WIC participants,” said Heidi Staats, Director of the West Virginia WIC Program. “We congratulate these award winners for providing exemplary service and also recognize all WIC breastfeeding peer counseling program staff who work hard every day to support WIC moms in breastfeeding their children for as long as possible.”
WIC additionally recognized breastfeeding peer counselor program coordinators for the three agencies: Kathy Rotenberry of the West Virginia EMS Technical Support Network WIC; Angie Rebrook of Monongalia County Health Department WIC; and Jenny Morris and Jan Wilkes of Valley Health WIC.
These WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program coordinators all earned the credential of Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultants. To reach this level of credentialing, they had to complete coursework, clinical hours, and rigorous certification exams with annual continuing education, and recertification every five years.
“These breastfeeding peer counselor program coordinators each bring invaluable expertise and passion to their work with WIC families,” Staats said.
WIC provides nutrition counseling, parenting advice, breastfeeding support, food assistance and referral support to help families live healthier lives. WIC services are free for pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and children up to the age of 5. Learn more at dhhr.wv.gov/WIC.