Golden Wave Awards 2016
The Golden Wave Award is presented to individuals who are identified for their meaningful efforts to brings about everlasting waves of change so momentous that they create ripples of action to transform California so that there are no barriers to breastfeeding.
Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN is the Executive Director of the PHFE WIC Program, the largest WIC Program in the nation with a monthly caseload of 272,000 participants and providing WIC services in Los Angeles County for over 40 years and in Orange County for over 25 years. Ms. Saluja has spent over 31 years with WIC and has actively promoted and supported breastfeeding throughout her WIC career; first directly with moms, later as the Deputy Director of Nutrition and Breastfeeding Services and now as the Executive Director.
Kiran is a Registered Dietitian, has, Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree from the UCLA School of Public Health, and Masters and Bachelor’s degree in Resource Management and Nutrition from the University of Delhi, India. Ms. Saluja was a founding member of LA Task Force BF coalition.
In 2004, under Kiran’s leadership, PHFE WIC obtained USDA grant for a breastfeeding peer counselor program (BPCP). The award resulted in the design of a unique model of a BPCP where bi-lingual WIC para-professionals were promoted to be peer counselors. Over 10 years she has given visionary leadership to this program as it expanded from a staff of 5 to a staff of 37 with a budget of over $1.8 million annually.
Kiran served on the Board of the National WIC Association as chair and as Secretary to the Board. In March 2010, Kiran represented the National WIC Association testifying about WIC and Breastfeeding before the House Education and Labor Committee during the reauthorization of WIC and Child Nutrition Programs. In April 2011 she was invited to present her ideas on updating the USDA National Breastfeeding Campaign at the Institute of Medicine Workshop sponsored by the Food and Nutrition Board.
Additional breastfeeding policy, promotion and support achievements include:
- Founding the Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles (1994)
- Helping change the image of WIC as a formula giveaway program to a breastfeeding promotion and support program
- Being regarded as a breastfeeding and nutrition education expert in California
- Representing WIC on local, national and state breastfeeding advisory boards
- Convening the Southern California WIC Breastfeeding Consortium (1995)
- Speaking at local, state, national and international conferences about the WIC Program
- Traveling to over 20 state conferences speaking about WIC and breastfeeding
- Representing WIC on national and state advisory boards
- Speaking to the use of WIC foods as incentives to promote breastfeeding and support healthy lifestyles
- Supporting over 150 PHFE WIC staff to attend Certified Lactation Educator Training programs
- Making personal visits to California policy makers to support breastfeeding policy including breastfeeding in public, lactation accommodation by employers and hospital feeding policy adoption
- Making breastfeeding support the anchor of the PHFE WIC staff Perinatal Support Program
Kiran is an author on the Impact of policy changes on infant feeding decisions among low-income women participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Shannon E Whaley, Maria Koleilat, Mike Whaley, Judy Gomez, Karen Meehan, Kiran Saluja. Am J Public Health 2012 Dec 18;102(12):2269-73. Epub 2012 Oct 18.
Diane Greene isn’t the most likely breastfeeding champion. Diane has worked for the California School Boards Association for over 27 years and is a true champion for California teachers, staff, their families and society.
Early in 2011, Diane Greene was approached with a request that the California School Boards Association write a lactation accommodation policy – specific to schools – to facilitate easy adoption of a relevant and vetted policy. Diane was immediately onboard but had to convince the policy consultants that this would be “a policy that all districts need,” as well as build a case for why a policy was needed. Once the policy was completed, Diane again had to convince the CSBA that this policy was needed by ALL the districts of California. She did so, and secured permission to disseminate the sample policy state-wide.
The rest is history: Because of Diane Greene, BP 4033 was written and has been adopted by hundreds of California school districts. Countless families have benefited, with more and more districts adopting the policy every year.
With that success, Diane continues to advocate for breastfeeding mothers. The California School Boards Association is in the process of writing a student accommodation policy to support districts to comply with AB 302, and additionally, Diane ensures that a lactation accommodation policy reminder e-blast goes out each August!
We thank Diane Greene and California School Boards Association for your meaning contributions to create everlasting waves of change to remove barriers to breastfeeding in California.