Howard University Hospital has recently announced the opening of a new Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Family Center in Washington, D.C. The new center will provide low-income, military families with infants and children access to health care resources, counseling, and social services.
“Poverty and lack of health care access among military families are quite often overlooked with many families living well below the poverty line,” says Davene White, director of the HUH CARES Public Health Program. “Howard University Hospital is proud to open a new WIC center, which will help eliminate barriers and provide local military families with valuable nutrition education and resources to address their dietary and health needs.”
WIC is a federally supplemented nutrition program that serves low-income, pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children who have a nutritional or medical risk. Families who participate in the program receive vouchers for healthy foods such as skim milk, eggs, cheese, fruits, vegetables, beans, wheat bread, cereal, infant food, and formula.
The average WIC household earns less than $37,000 annually, which is below the U.S. poverty levels. To qualify for care at the new center, participants must meet income guidelines, show proof of state residency, and have a “nutritional risk.”
“Studies show that babies born prematurely or with low birth weight are at a higher risk of an early death,” says White. “The HUH CARES WIC program is very effective at reducing these incidents by offering resources focused on helping women improve the quality of their diet; as well as staying abreast of childhood immunization standards, growth and development and increasing access to prenatal care much early in their pregnancy.”