The 53% Initiative
New America’s 53% Conference Develops Innovative Solutions to Strengthen WIC Federal Food Assistance Program for Mothers, Infants and Children.
53% of all infants and 25% of toddlers in America enrolled in the program.
On Sept. 5-6, 2017, experts gathered at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to develop innovative solutions to strengthen the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), a vital Federal food assistance program. The 53% Conference, a collaboration between New America, the MIT Media Lab, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provided an opportunity for attendees including technology experts, public health professionals and futurists to explore how emerging technology can radically modernize and improve the experience and health outcomes for participants in the WIC program. A $6.5 billion initiative, WIC supports critical nutritional needs for 7.3 million mothers and their children. It serves 53 percent of all infants born in the United States, the statistic from which the conference draws its name.
The Summit addressed issues and proposed solutions that could boost enrollment, promote retention in the program, deliver interactive nutrition education and child development tips as well as provide links to other Federal, state, and community services for low income Americans. Experts from the global design firm IDEO facilitated the event as experts discussed potential apps, social media approaches, text messaging, interactive technology and in-person programs to better serve WIC beneficiaries in the Digital Age.
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