wic advocacy summit

 Please join us for the Pennsylvania WIC Stakeholders’ Collaborative Summit webinars! Hosted by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative, this virtual Summit is an opportunity to bring together statewide leaders, advocates, and stakeholders in the WIC Program to explore and learn together. The webinars will highlight innovative best practice models from across the country that have proven effective during the COVID-19 pandemic and identify strategies to advocate and apply these best practices in the different regions of Pennsylvania. Participants and speakers will examine key challenges and opportunities related to improving WIC services in the midst of a pandemic and EBT transition, discuss existing strategies and programming that address intersecting WIC issues, and identify opportunities to build regional partnerships to fill gaps in WIC services that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Please register below for the different webinar sessions.


Wednesday October 14, 9:00am – 11:00am

Session 1: Comprehensive Overview of the WIC Program

This session will feature a State WIC Representative to give an overview of the PA WIC Program, the historical context of the program, efforts that have been made and are underway to improve PA WIC, and the role of strengthening collaboration to support efforts and improve service delivery. To complement the overview, we will be joined by guest speakers from across the country to discuss their efforts in these areas.


  • William R. Cramer, Director, Bureau of Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Pennsylvania Department of Health
  • Darlena Birch, MBA, RDN, Senior Public Health Nutritionist, National WIC Association


Session 2: EBT Implementation During COVID-19: Lessons Learned

Implementing EBT during a pandemic is a huge undertaking for many agencies. This session will highlight WIC agency representatives from different regions of Pennsylvania who will reflect on key lessons learned through the process of planning, implementing, and rolling-out EBT in the midst of an emergency. They will discuss and share the innovative strategies they implemented to meet WIC participants’ needs.


  • Zachariah Hennessey, Vice President, Neighborhood Health at Public Health Solutions in New York.
  • Melissa Bishop, Vice President of Nutrition Services, Family Health Council of Central PA, Inc.
  • Linda Kilby, Executive Director, WIC Director, NORTH, Inc.
  • Filomena Ahlefeld, WIC Program Director, Foundation for Delaware County.



Wednesday October 14, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Using EBT and WIC Data to Improve WIC Services at the State, Local and Clinic Level

This session will highlight what other states have done with their EBT data to support clinic and state agency operations. It will identify how Pennsylvania can pair EBT data with the Health Information Exchange (HIE) to improve the WIC experience at the state, local, and clinical level.


  • Ruth Morgan, Social Science Research Analyst, USDA, Food and Nutrition Services
  • Mary Blocksidge, State Vendor Manager, Massachusetts Department of Health
  • Jessica Maneely, Policy Manager, Benefits Data Trust
  • Laura Stephany, Health Policy Coordinator, Allies for Children



Thursday October 15, 9:30am - 10:30am
Using Technology and Telehealth to Improve Recruitment and Retention of WIC Participants

This session will focus specifically on what technologies are currently being used, including telehealth, to recruit new participants to WIC as well as retaining current participants. Presenters will focus on the latest research and evaluation methods, as well as how the extensive use of telehealth during the pandemic has changed the WIC landscape. The session will identify the pros and cons of telehealth and how to effectively make it work for WIC Programs.


  • Zoe Neuberger, Policy Analyst at Center for Budget Policy and Priorities
  • Noora Kanfash, State Public Policy Associate, National WIC Association
  • Kathleen Hiltwine, Public Health Nutrition Consultant, Bureau of Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Pennsylvania Department of Health



Thursday October 15, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Making WIC Work Better: Strategies to Strengthen WIC Stakeholder Collaboration

This session will draw on discussions from the previous panels to explore collaboration strategies to build a strong, ongoing commitment to improve Pennsylvania WIC Program service coordination, maximize resources in order to minimize duplication of efforts, and have a positive impact on WIC clients and their families.


  • Geraldine Henchy, Director of Nutrition Policy and Early Childhood Programs, FRAC
  • Roberta Hodsdon, Director of the Special Nutrition Programs for FNS’s Mid-Atlantic Region
  • Carrie Dinsmore, President, Pennsylvania WIC Association; Director of WIC & Family Planning at Community Health Services, Inc.