Michigan WIC: Increasing Access to Vulnerable Clients through Telehealth

Michigan WIC serves lots of clients with various health backgrounds. When thinking about implementing telehealth into their local agencies, they realized the importance of targeting a subset of their client population. Michigan decided to target high risk clients to provide additional services via telehealth. 


Project Overview

Michigan WIC’s project aims to virtually provide nutrition education and breastfeeding support services to clients in nine Michigan local agencies, covering both rural and urban counties. In addition, the virtual telehealth appointment will allow professionals to provide high-risk follow up and secondary education to families.  Michigan WIC will utilize the Nutrition Matter’s Online Nutrition Education (ONE) platform to streamline the resources about high-risk nutrition and breastfeeding to their clients.   


Contracting and Request for Proposal (RFP) 

When developing their solution, Michigan WIC followed guidance from the state IT department to use Zoom for telehealth appointments. Zoom provided the reporting tools, security features, and tracking systems that would allow Michigan WIC to serve their clients efficiently and effectively in a virtual setting. With telehealth there was a safety concern presented by various stakeholders, and after research Zoom seemed to serve the safety needs of the agencies. 

Advice for Others

Telehealth Liason

When Michigan WIC set out to begin this project, they recognized the need for a part time individual to serve as a liaison between the telehealth solution and the clients. The individual they hired serves the needs of the community, as they are bilingual and understand how to communicate with clients in an effective way. The staff member created user-friendly messaging for the system and currently helps clients navigate the ONE platform and scheduling system.  

Communicate with Local Agencies

Michigan WIC noted the importance of constant communication with local agencies. The state team set up meetings with each local agency to provide a collaborative space to share ideas and feedback around development and implementation. The state agency recognized the importance of working with the local agencies as they are the ones implementing the solution.   

Video helps build rapport

Michigan WIC noted the importance of using video appointments to connect with clients instead of phone call appointments. Although phone calls are convenient because they can be done while multitasking, video appointments allow for a client and staff member to connect in a more personal way. The ability to view facial expressions, see a person’s environment, and show different products provides a deeper connection leading to rapport. 


Michigan WIC is working to target their most vulnerable clients by meeting them where they are. By combining zoom with the ONE platform, Michigan WIC hopes to bring clients more resources to improve their nutrition during the perinatal period. 

The Michigan WIC Team 

Madhur Chandra, PhD, Epidemiologist

Marji Cyrul, MPH, RD, CLS, State Breastfeeding Coordinator

Amy Dotson, MPH, Public Health Consultant

Tara Fischer, MS, RD, Nutrition Consultant

Myra Lee Fowler, Social Determinants of Health Policy Analyst

Bagyalakshmi Kodur, MS, Section Manager – Data and Systems Management

Julie Lothamer, MS, RD, IBCLC, Consultation & Nutrition Service Unit Manager

Corina Rosas, Telehealth Liaison

For more information on North Carolina WIC please visit their website here