Pictured (left to right): Sophia Bouyoucos-Sayen (WIC), Debbie Koats (NOCH), Erin Anderson (NOCH), Tina Quinn (NOCH), Kelly Rutz (WIC), Chelsea Schanz (WIC), Anna Johnstone (WIC), Becky Shanahan (NOCH), Sarah Lutkehnhoff (WIC)

We’re proud to feature our contacts this month, from InterCare Community Health Network in Grand Haven! Anna Johnstone has 24 years of experience as a WIC nutritionist/CPA and been a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) since 2005. For the last 13 years she has worked at InterCare Community Health Network in the Grand Haven WIC clinic. Lori McCabe, RN CLC, Becky Shanahan, BSN, ANLC, IBCLC, and Beth Curley, RN, IBCLC, work on the Birthing Unit at North Ottawa Community Hospital (NOCH).

Why is InterCare Community Health Network Grand Haven WIC a Maternity Care “Shining Star”?

Anna started enrolling new babies at North Ottawa Community Hospital (NOCH) in 2005. She was introduced to this process while working in the St. Paul/Ramsey County WIC Program in Minnesota and also when working in Muskegon. When she proposed this plan to NOCH, they were very enthusiastic and embraced the possibility of working together. Lori was facilitating a  breastfeeding support group with clients referred to the hospital from Grand Haven WIC. WIC and NOCH collaborating to provide WIC services to mutual clients soon after their delivery seemed like a natural fit. Out of this initial relationship grew additional opportunities to integrate other important services that were valuable to WIC clients. A good example was the invitation from Laura Bronold, RN, CLE the Child Birth Educator and Perinatal Resource Coordinator, to join the Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD) Coalition. This relationship with Laura opened up another new avenue for Grand Haven WIC to explore. Together Anna and Laura opened the door to the NOCH obstetrics office, and from there Grand Haven WIC staff began enrolling women at their first OB appointment at Women’s Health.

When Lori McCabe retired, Becky Shanahan, BSN, ANLC, IBCLC took over the NOCH breastfeeding support groups. After that, Michigan WIC launched the Coffective Initiative. Becky’s support was instrumental to NOCH’s adoption of the Coffective Model and for the drive for greater collaboration. Becky, along with Beth Curley, RN, IBCLC, then started the Breastfeeding Taskforce that included staff from Women’s Health, WIC, NOCH Pediatrics, and the Birthing Unit Lactation staff. Without Becky’s leadership, we would not be collaborating as effectively as we are currently.

Together with Coffective, WIC and NOCH have been integrating services to improve breastfeeding experiences for our mutual clients while promoting and supporting breastfeeding in the community. Recently a new WIC dad said it best, “we have a whole team supporting us.”

Outside of the NOCH setting, WIC families receiving services at the Grand Haven WiC office also experience the same coordinated team approach. Sarah Lutkenhoff, who works at the front desk and also helps with the WIC services being provided at NOCH and Women’s Health, is a Certified Lactation Specialist. Kelly Rutz, who works at the front desk, is the Grand Haven WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. Sophia Bouyoucos-Sayen is the WIC Registered Dietitian. Chelsea Schanz is a Registered Dietitian and the Grand Haven WIC Clinic Supervisor. All of the Grand Haven WIC staff have completed the Coffective trainings and use the materials to help provide a consistent breastfeeding message to all of our WIC families.