El Paso City-County Health and Environmental District's WIC Program
Celebrates 30 Years of Service to El Paso

The El Paso City-County Health & Environmental District's WIC Program recently celebrated 30 years of service to women, infants and children in our community who qualify based on income, residency and nutritional need. The program, funded by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, began in February 1977 with a staff of three employees to serve a caseload of 1,000 clients per month. In 30 years, the program now has a staff of 146 serving over 48,000 participants each month. The program not only reaches clients in El Paso, but also those residing in Anthony and east as far as Sierra Blanca. There are 14 WIC Centers in El Paso located from Canutillo to Fabens including one in Fort Bliss. Two mobile centers assist in reaching areas where clients do not have transportation and to meet other needs for the specialized population.

The WIC Program offers a variety of services including nutrition and breastfeeding education, medical screening, referrals to the health care system and food benefits for specific nutritional foods to supplement the daily diet intake. The state contracts with 84 local grocers for redemption of the food benefits. In 2006, the positive economic impact to the local community from the WIC benefits was $30, 914,469.

The ultimate goal of the WIC Program is to change dietary habits to improve the participant's long-term health status. WIC is an effective preventive program for nutrition related health problems. Numerous studies have shown that WIC has a positive effect in improving and/or preventing childhood anemia, toxemia, premature births, low birth weight, infant mortality, complications in delivery and other maternal and infant illnesses.

"WIC has positively impacted the lives of so many individuals in this community for so many years. It has provided a healthy start for thousands of kids. We are hoping to continue expanding our services to meet the needs of other individuals not touched by this program to date," said Dr. Robert Galvan, Interim Director of the Health District.

The WIC Program is committed to serving all potentially eligible clients in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties and thus improves the quality of life for all citizens.