October 11, 2021

Food Security icon Food Security

Nearly a quarter of California households with children are affected by food insecurity (1) -- almost double the level prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the lasting negative impacts this has on children’s health, addressing our growing food insecurity catastrophe is essential.

Defined by the USDA as limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate food, food insecurity is associated with several negative health outcomes in children, many of which are related to brain development. The most important and intense period of brain development occurs from conception to a child’s third birthday (2). If a pregnant mom and her baby are undernourished during this period, the baby misses out on key brain development that cannot be recouped later in life. This developmental loss is associated with increased family medical costs, challenges in child educational achievement, and lower lifetime wages (3, 4).

Fortunately, there are established nutritional programs that promote food security, support breastfeeding, and encourage appropriate transitional and toddler nutrition, all of which facilitate optimal brain development and growth during this critical period (5). It’s more important than ever that these vital programs be promoted and strengthened.

Women, Infants and Children

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children. It includes purchasing assistance for healthy food, breastfeeding support, and tailored nutrition counseling. WIC can help stave off the negative health impacts of...

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August 17, 2021

Welcome to the Champion Provider Fellowship blog! In this inaugural post, I thought I would talk a bit about who we are as a community and why we matter now more than ever. Let’s start with who we are. We are physicians, dentists, leaders in public health and in the community. We are connected by a common goal of fighting epidemics in diabetes, obesity, and dental disease. We do this by thinking beyond the silos of clinic walls, instead pushing ourselves to address the policies, systems, and environmental structures that need to change to create healthier communities. Since 2014, over 100 fellows from over 30 counties statewide have graduated from the Champion Provider Fellowship. These fellows are making their voices heard when it comes to creating safe spaces for physical activity, developing policies that address food insecurity, advocating for children’s oral health, and so much more. Just browse our success stories and you will get an idea of the broad reach and impact of our work.

This past year has been transformative for the Champion Provider Fellowship. As practicing providers our fellows have been at the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, many working in communities of color and low-income areas disproportionately burdened by poor outcomes. The same structural inequities that contribute to patients experiencing disparities in diabetes, obesity, and dental disease, also leave them vulnerable to COVID-19. Our fellows were quick to recognize this double burden and act. Let me share one example of how Dr. Pedro Moreno, a family medicine physician in...

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