Open Door Receives USDA Grant to Further WIC Outreach

Free nutrition education, referrals, breastfeeding support, counseling, and healthy foods are available to low-income families through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC. However, historically, only about 50 percent of those in New York State who are eligible take advantage of it. 

Open Door Family Medical Center, in partnership with both The Hudson Center and MVP Health Care, has been awarded an 18-month grant of $423,715 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase participation in and access to the WIC program. This grant is for one of just 36 projects around the country, and the only one awarded in New York State.    

“We know there are many people enrolled in Medicaid who need the kind of support WIC provides, but aren’t getting it simply because they don’t know about the program,” said Lindsay Farrell, President and CEO of Open Door.  “The impact of reaching a large percentage of these people, who never before had access, is huge.”

Open Door and its partners will establish a secure, HIPAA-compliant web-based referral application that will inform Medicaid enrollees of their eligibility for the WIC program and increase awareness, enrollment and retention. In New York, although Medicaid and WIC eligibility overlap, the programs are administered separately. The lessons learned in this project are also expected to help other WIC agencies in New York and in other states that separate the two programs. 

According to Gina DeVito, WIC Program Director of Open Door, “We want to create a sustainable system for managing eligibility data and referrals to increase WIC enrollment and participation.  It’s about building awareness and developing a system change.  Right now, there is no structured referral system between WIC agencies and other public health programs such as Medicaid, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and this disconnect is a major impediment to enrollment and participation.”  

Increasing WIC enrollment and participation will allow more families to learn about eating well and living active, healthy lives. Ellen Pospishil, a registered dietitian at Open Door, also appreciates that the WIC program staff has access to all the unique wraparound services available at Open Door. “We’re laying the foundation for the rest of our patients’ lives by teaching them how to eat properly,” she says.  “I know we’re making a difference.” 

About Open Door Family Medical Center and Foundation
Open Door Family Medical Center provides health care and wellness programs to individuals and families in need throughout Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster Counties. A pioneer Federally Qualified Health Center, Open Door provides more than 300,000 patient visits annually and serves 63,000 individual patients who might not otherwise have access. Open Door offers integrated services and a holistic approach to building healthier communities. Primary medical care, dental care, integrated behavioral health care, clinical nutrition, wellness programs, and chronic disease management are the foundation of its clinical programs. Founded as a free clinic in 1972, Open Door’s mission of building healthier communities through accessible, equitable, culturally competent health care has led to site and service expansions. Today, Open Door operates centers in Brewster, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Ossining, Port Chester, and Sleepy Hollow, in addition to nine School-Based Health Centers in the Port Chester, Webutuck, and Ossining School Districts, a mobile dental van in Mount Kisco, and a dental practice in Saugerties, NY. Open Door is accredited by the Joint Commission and is recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. Open Door achieves clinical results that consistently surpass national benchmarks for patient outcomes. For additional information, please contact Elisabeth Gilbert, Senior Director of Development, at 914-502-1417.

Latest Posts

Open Door thanks All Partners of the Healthier Mamaroneck Fair

The Healthier Mamaroneck Access to Care Health Fair is in partnership with members of the Healthier Mamaroneck Coalition and is …

Read More
A Reminder: Adults Also Need to get Vaccinated

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a time when many parents of school-aged children get their children vaccinated. While most …

Read More
Open Door Family Medical Center | Affordable nutritional health services
WIC Program Directors Share their Stories

  In honor of Breastfeeding Week, we would like to share two stories from our WIC staff. Gina Devito: The …

Read More