Online Program

WIC as a nexus for family violence prevention

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christopher Gunther, MPH, New Orleans Health Department, New Orleans, LA
Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, Office of the Mayor, City of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Pam Albers, LCSW, BACS, Crescent House, New Orleans, LA
Katherine Theall, PhD, Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Julie Hagan, MPH, LDN, RD, CLC, New Orleans Health Department, New Orleans
Mary Claire Landry, LCSW, MBA, New Orleans Family Justice Center, New Orleans, LA
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) serves 53% of U.S.-born infants. In Orleans Parish, City-operated WIC clinics generate over 60,000 visits per year. Despite WIC's massive reach, it is too often pigeonholed as a program whose sole objective is to supplement nutrition for women and children. WIC produces markedly improved health outcomes for its participants. Yet WIC remains a missed opportunity, a space through which millions of our highest need families pass, receiving little more than food vouchers. WIC should be prioritized as a nexus of coordinated nutritional, health, and social service delivery for those who need it most.

New Orleans' murder rate has been seven to eight times the national average for over 30 years, exposing multiple generations to extreme levels of violence and trauma. This deeply ingrained culture of violence calls for innovative solutions that prevent violence at multiple levels and in all its forms.

Many murder victims and perpetrators have passed through WIC, unsurprising given WIC's reach. In response, New Orleans has developed a family violence prevention initiative as part of NOLA FOR LIFE, the City's plan for murder reduction. All WIC participants are given a brief family violence screen and offered on-site services through the New Orleans Family Justice Center. This initiative models a new WIC, in which the program responds to participants' needs broadly, through integration of essential services in one location.

This presentation shares insights from the initiative's planning and implementation process and preliminary data from a process evaluation.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the role of WIC in violence prevention and general health promotion. Assess the impact of screening for family violence on family safety.

Keyword(s): Family Violence, WIC

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the program lead for violence and behavioral health in the New Orleans Health Department, where I direct several of the initiatives under the City's NOLA FOR LIFE murder reduction plan. My work includes family violence prevention, building trauma resiliency in local schools, and coordination of behavioral health care in New Orleans. I am also site coordinator for New Orleans work with the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.