“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

Skip to content

“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

VIEWS: 70 July 1, 2024

SRPMIC WIC Program Spotlight

By Chris Picciuolo

In a prime location on the first floor of the River People Health Center is the office of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community WIC program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), which provides participant-centered WIC services to the Community.

The entrance is at the north corner of the building, which offers easy access to Community members as well as providers from the health center’s pediatrics and women’s care units.

In general, WIC supplies food, nutrition education and community resources to low-income families in need of assistance, especially mothers of newborn infants and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have children under the age of 5. Millions of families across the United States are eligible to sign up for the WIC program, which is supported by federal grants.

There are three WIC programs in Arizona, according to Margaret Fisher, the SRPMIC WIC Community Health & Nutrition supervisor. The programs are the Arizona WIC, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) WIC, and the Navajo Nation WIC. The SRPMIC WIC belongs to the ITCA WIC group.

“At SRPMIC WIC, our goal is to create a WIC clinic where participants are heard and are a part of our supportive community,” Fisher said. “We offer non-judgmental care that encompasses the whole person—mind, body and spirit.” WIC provides families with supplemental foods, healthcare referrals and nutrition education.

Fisher continued, “We know caregivers work hard to provide the best for their kids. We support the family’s wellness by partnering with them to provide culturally appropriate meal and snack ideas and foods that are good for growing bodies.”

SRPMIC WIC’s services extend throughout Maricopa and Pinal counties, ensuring accessibility not only to Community members but also to pregnant individuals and caregivers in those areas with children under 5 who meet the eligibility criteria. Because the Community is bordered by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the municipalities of Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa and Fountain Hills, Fisher said that the SRPMIC WIC makes it easy for pregnant women and caregivers with children under 5 that reside in those areas to come the clinic.

“Our strategic location enables us to serve a diverse population, fostering healthy beginnings for families in need,” said Fisher.

The ITCA website has a list of recipes and food preparation guides that provide options to restore and decolonize traditional meals. The list can be found at https://itcaonline.com/programs/wic-program/traditional-foods/.

Meet the SRPMIC WIC Team

Margaret “Maggie” Fisher, SRPMIC WIC Community Health & Nutrition Supervisor

SRPMIC WIC Program Spotlight

Fisher has worked for the Community’s WIC program for nine years. She has an International Baccalaureate Diploma; a bachelor of science degree (B.S.) in nutrition, food science and dietetics; and a master of science degree (M.S.) in professional counseling.

“I oversee the WIC program. My role involves a multifaceted approach to ensure the program’s objectives are achieved effectively. This involves coordinating staff activities to ensure smooth program operations, training and mentoring employees to ensure they have the skills and knowledge needed to effectively carry out their roles within the program, and developing and implementing accountability measures to track the program’s performance and ensure that high-risk participants receive the necessary support and services to meet their nutritional needs.”

Jamie Lewis, Senior Community Nutrition Specialist/Breastfeeding Lead

SRPMIC WIC Program Spotlight

Lewis is a high school graduate who has attended college and earned certifications that are very helpful for her position. She has worked with the WIC program in the Community since 2006.

“I provide breastfeeding information and help moms solve any issues that they may have with breastfeeding, which is very important to get newborns off to a healthy start. I am married to James Lewis and we have five kids. I love watching K-drama, shopping and hanging with my family.”

Jasmine Newell, Community Nutrition Technician

SRPMIC WIC Program Spotlight

Newell has a high school diploma and attended college. A recent hire, she came on board with the WIC program in February of this year.

“In my role, I work at the front desk as our clients’ first point of contact. Soon I will take on the role of a certifier. This will allow me to take on a few more tasks and be able to assist with the first part of the certification/recertification appointments. I am a Community member. My family comes from Lehi. I am married with two kids, ages 11 and 6. I have been working for the Community since 2018.”

Bernadette Anderson, Community Nutrition Technician

SRPMIC WIC Program Spotlight

Anderson has been with SRPMIC WIC since February 2023 and is a certified lactation educator and certified Indigenous lactation consultant. She recently completed her Doula certification and is continuing her education at Central Arizona College, taking a Dietetic Education Program course required by the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.

“I’m from the San Carlos Apache Reservation and have lived in the city for the past 20 years. I have two older sons and one granddaughter. My youngest is an SRPMIC Community member.”