JUNE 2007 VALUE ENHANCED NUTRITION ASSESSMENT
VENA Visions is Here for You!
Welcome to your first Value Enhanced Nutrition Assessment
(VENA) update!! You will receive the VENA Visions peri-
odically to keep you up to date on our progress in the imple-
Inside this mentation of VENA, training information, and activities.
We want you to have lots of opportunities to practice all that
VENA Workgroup 2 you will be taking away from the various VENA trainings and
have fun while you're doing it! We will offer you activities
Ask the Editor 2 and case studies based on real life encounters (best to worst!)
that you can use to strengthen the skills necessary to provide effective and efficient nutri-
**LA Action** 2
tion services. In each issue, you will find an **LA Action** for you to complete either as
Rate Your Readiness 3 a group or individuals at your local agency.
We also want to give you an opportunity to share what you’re doing in your clinic in your
Drowning in Paper? 3
own words and pictures, as well as give you an opportunity to share your stories and ex-
Put a Giraffe 4
periences, ask questions and provide suggestions for future topics. We have established an
Where?? email specifically for this purpose (VENAVisions@health.state.ny.us).
Training Schedule 4
What does VENA mean to you?
………...Very Effective Nutrition Assistance
…….working together to support each other
WIC has been serving families for over 30 years and throughout those years, many aspects of the program have
remained constant. We have demonstrated an amazing ability to respond to the needs of participants in various
ways (such as opening/moving sites to underserved areas, Farmers’ Markets, enhanced breastfeeding and homeless
food packages, breastfeeding peer counselor and breast pump programs, offering extended hours, etc.). New
USDA initiatives, VENA and the Food Packages, represent a shift in program philosophy which will allow WIC to
continue to evolve to meet our participants’ needs. VENA-cizing WIC will give you greater flexibility to do what
you do best...help families. I encourage you to embrace VENA philosophies/concepts and mold them to best suit
your agency and your families’ needs. As WIC staff, you have an incredible opportunity to touch participants on a
personal level and positively impact their lives.
June 2007 Page 2
Meet Your VENA Workgroup Members
The VENA Assessment Work- The Workgroup has provided invalu- Central Region: Angel Carter, Karen
group is a team of staff (state and able guidance for the redesign of the Ritz, Nicole Smith, Loriann Spatola,
local agency) that have volunteered Nutrition and Behavior Tabs which Peggy Straub
to help prepare various facets of will be part of the VENA Build this
Metro Region: Olivia Bletsos, Pam
the WIC Program for the upcom- fall. Currently, the group is develop-
Harbin, Joan Henry, Dosoon Min,
ing implementation of VENA. ing a Guidance Tool to be used for
Paulette Sinclair-Weir, Dorothy
For the past year, the Workgroup training on the VENA Build and
has met (mostly via conference WICSIS changes. If you haven’t
calls) to redesign the assessment already, we encourage you to com- Western Region: Christopher Fenz,
process in order to accommodate municate with your team members Teresa Lodico, Elizabeth O’Connor,
the risk changes occurring on Oc- and participate in the on-going proc- Sasha Strebenis
tober 1, 2007, encourage partici- ess of VENA implementation. Here WIC Training Center: Doreen La-
pant-centered services and stream- are the current Workgroup members: duca, Dominic Marro
line the certification process to Capital Region: Joanne Murnane,
eliminate paperwork. Cindy Henderson Central Office: all Public Health
Ask the Editor/VENA Team
Answer: Family-friendly environ- ment is a good place to start. It will
ments refers to the concept that be different for each local agency.
when you are in a comfortable and For some, simply rearranging the
welcoming environment, you will waiting room to encourage more
Each issue of VENA Visions will be more at ease and able to fully conversation will help participants
feature a question sent in by you and participate in your appointment. feel more welcomed. Others may
answered by your VENA Team. We As we proceed with VENA, we be able to paint the walls or put up
have created an email exclusively for will be focusing on providing par- culturally-sensitive artwork. Be
you to send us your questions: ticipant–centered nutrition educa- creative in finding inexpensive ways
tion that is relevant to their needs. to enhance your surroundings. You
VENAVisions@health.state.ny.us To do this, it is essential that the might want to ask your participants
Question: I have heard some talk participant take an active role in to contribute some of their artistic
about “family-friendly environ- the assessment and education talents in creating murals or draw-
ments.” What does that mean and process and we need them to feel ings and artwork. Or you could ask
how does that relate to VENA? comfortable enough to do this. local service organizations for dona-
Creating a family-friendly environ- tions.
**LA Action** Complete a “Clinic Self-Assessment Activity” as a
group by August 1st.
On the Common Drive, you will find the “Clinic Self-Assessment Activity” in the VENA Visions subfolder.
This is a group activity to assess how family-friendly is your clinic. Here are some examples
of agencies that have already made some improvement...
We ask that you send us pictures (before and after) of your family-
friendly environment and we will highlight a program in each issue
of VENA Visions.
Left: Cayuga County WIC Program
Right: Saratoga County WIC Program
June 2007 Page 3
Rate Your Readiness
Every day, you ask your partici- 2. What do I expect of myself? not even aware of these transi-
pants to make sometimes difficult 3. What helps me to succeed? tions. Knowing what the stages of
changes, to lead healthier lives. To change are may help you guide
understand the challenges your 4. Where/when do I limit my your participants or at the very
participants face in making self? least have a better understanding
changes, it is important for you to 5. If I were at my best, what of how you change. Keep in mind
reflect on how you handle change. would I do right now? that a person may start at different
The goal of this exercise is to bet- stages for different situations.
ter know yourself and help you 6. How can I make change easy?
Stages of Change
understand and demonstrate re- 7. What am I willing/not willing
spect for the viewpoints of others. to change? Precontemplation– no intention of
Grab a cup of tea, a pen and some 8. Do I believe in my ability to
paper, and put your feet up. Now, change? Contemplation– thinking about
think of a time in your life when but not ready for action
you needed to change a situation, a 9. Do I focus on the problem or
focus on solutions? Preparation– intending to take ac-
behavior, or your thinking. Reflect
on your process of change and 10. Do I choose and commit to
write down your responses. action? Action– committing to and taking
1. What was it like for you? 11. How will I know to ask for
support? Maintenance– maintains the
2. Was there a period of adjust-
change without relapse
ment? 12. How do I feel when someone
gives me advice I didn’t ask The next time you’re challenged by
3. Did you ask for support or
for and wasn’t ready for? making a change think about what
guidance if you needed it?
stage you are at regarding that spe-
4. Are there other ways a person cific circumstance. Knowing your
would handle this change? While you can’t score yourself on starting point may help you decide
these questions, you can use your how and when you will be able to
answers to rate your readiness for successfully change.
In general, explore your thoughts change. Making a change is a (More information on the Stages of
about change: process that involves transitioning Change can be found in the VENA train-
1. What motivates me? through stages. Most often we are ing subfolder on the common drive.)
Are You Drowning in Paperwork??? Help is on the Way!!
Paper, paper, and we will be eliminating the dietary streamline the certification process
more paper! Do screening forms this fall. They will and move toward a paperless system.
you sometimes feel no longer be needed to perform a The elimination of the screening
like you are han- complete nutrition assessment and forms is a huge step in this effort
dling too many pa- assign risks. All of the assessment and will also save
pers every day? Do your partici- questions/information will be in some trees! Do
pants particularly enjoy filling out the redesigned tabs in WICSIS and your part—resist
all that paperwork? Of course, we the new dietary risks do not re- the urge to make
all know that answers to those quire the food frequency form. unnecessary forms
questions so what are we going to and documents.
For a number of years now, the
do about it? First and foremost,
WIC Program has made efforts to
June 2007 Page 4
How Do You Put a Giraffe in a Refrigerator?
The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and will test your critical thinking skills. The questions are NOT
that difficult, but don’t peek at the answer UNTIL you have answered the question! Remember, everything is rele-
1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
Correct answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This ques-
tion tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.
2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Did you say, “Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?”
Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and
close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previ-
3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend, except one. Which animal does not attend?
Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there. This tests your mem-
ory. Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show
your true abilities.
4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?
Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the croco-
diles are attending the animal conference. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.
Being able to critically think is a skill. As we move into the VENA assessment process and focus on par-
ticipant-centered encounters, we must be able to use our critical thinking skills to: gather appropriate in-
formation; discard irrelevant facts; determine how to prepare appropriate nutrition interventions; and
fashion counseling interventions that truly make a difference for our WIC clients. Through future train-
ings and activities, you will have opportunities to develop and fine tune your critical thinking skills.
VENA Training Schedule
⇒ WBW Satellite Conference: Breast- ⇒ Mining For Diamonds
feeding and the Premature Infant (Developing critical thinking skills for all WIC staff, all-day
Dr. Lawrence Noble, Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, NY sessions)
July 31, 2007, Tuesday 1 pm to 3 pm Western Region: September 5
Central Region: September 6
⇒ VENA Build Training Capital Region: September 7
(All-day training sessions except conference calls) Metro Region: September 10-14
Western Region: July 30
Central Region: August 2
Capital Region: August 9
Combined Upstate Region: August 28
Metro Region: August 13, 14, 17, 23, 27, 30
Statewide Conference Calls: September 17, 20 Cayuga County WIC Program
New York State Department of Health WIC Program