Community , Health

Osage Nation officials celebrate ribbon cutting for new Tulsa WIC Clinic

TULSA, Okla. – The north side of this city will soon have a new Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinic to help provide area mothers and children with supplemental foods and nutrition education.

ON government officials, WIC employees and building professionals attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly-built Tulsa WIC clinic on Jan. 22 and congratulated the WIC Department on the near-completion of the building that will soon serve clients living in Tulsa or nearby communities. The new WIC clinic is at 904 W. 36th St. N., which is directly across from the Tulsa Osage Casino and sits just inside the southern Osage County boundary.

Manon Taylor, ON WIC Department director, was absent that day due to illness, but WIC nutrition worker Amanda Malone delivered remarks on Taylor’s behalf. The Tulsa WIC clinic is one of six serving the Nation’s jurisdictional boundaries and the Tulsa facility was built with $800,000 in federal funding awarded to the Nation, Malone said.

When the new Tulsa WIC clinic opens at a near future date, it will replace the current Tulsa WIC unit housed at the Nation-owned Tulsa Airpark property next to the casino and Osage Casino Central Services offices. Pending final construction and utility work, the current Tulsa WIC unit will remain open as usual, Taylor said.

At the ribbon cutting event, ON Language Director Vann Bighorse delivered the opening prayer in the Osage and English languages and ON government officials spoke. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear told the WIC employees present: “Our job is to support you … This is a great step forward, we’re all in support, if you need anything, as usual, let us know.”

Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn applauded Taylor and the WIC employees for their work, as did present Congress members Otto Hamilton and Maria Whitehorn.

The Tulsa facility is the largest ON-operated WIC facility at 3,000 square feet “and will enable us to better serve our nearly 2,000 participants that will utilize this site per month. It is currently open four days a week with plans to open five days a week – two weeks out of the month – in the near future because of high participant demand,” Malone said. “WIC provides valuable nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding and peer counseling support and a farmer’s market (from June to September) to all income-eligible participants and we now offer those benefits with an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card.”

The new Tulsa WIC clinic will also “alleviate transportation barriers by being located near the (city’s) public bus stop,” said Malone, which was a concern Taylor stated when a groundbreaking celebration was held for the clinic in August 2017. She also said three nearby metro WIC clinics closed last year, meaning the ON Tulsa WIC clinic’s participant level will likely increase. 

According to a news release, the Tulsa WIC clinic amenities offer “families a place to find resources such as breastfeeding and nutrition tips in a more efficiently designed space to provide even better customer service. The non-commercial kitchen will (be used for nutrition classes to) prepare recipes using WIC foods and offer samples to families encouraging creative and inventive ways to prepare meals at home. The clinic will also have a dedicated play area (in the) lobby.”

The clinic kitchen also contains a nearby viewing area for participants to observe the nutrition and cooking courses. Offices and rooms specified for breastfeeding participants are also in the clinic.

Building construction, project management and architectural professions who worked on the Tulsa WIC clinic are from Tulsa-based Triarch Architecture and Builder’s Unlimited, Inc.

For more information about the Osage Nation WIC program, visit: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/wic-department.