The National Women, Infants and Children Association (NWA) named Aliya Haq, International Community Health Services (ICHS) nutrition services supervisor, a recipient of the NWA Leadership Award. Haq was recognized for her exceptional service to Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program participants and her effective advocacy. Haq has been particularly vocal against recent proposed changes to the “public charge” rule targeting immigrants who legally use government assistance programs.
“I am humbled and grateful,” said Haq, who was presented with the award at the National WIC Association Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Md., on April 10. “Good health rests on good nutrition and there is nothing more important than that. I appreciate the support I have received from ICHS, the state and the NWA.”
The NWA Leadership Award is the organization’s most prestigious award. It is given annually to honor the outstanding contributions of individuals or groups who have actively supported the WIC Program through their leadership, advocacy, management and delivery of services.
Haq has led the WIC Program at ICHS since 2009. She has been instrumental in efforts to improve breastfeeding rates and general nutrition, including successfully launching a WIC Program at the ICHS Shoreline Clinic in 2016. Haq serves as a strong local, state and national voice, helping educate policymakers and the public about the importance of good nutrition and support of continued access to safety net programs and services. In addition to “public charge,” she was active in promoting Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Ordinance, a sugary beverage tax to help control obesity.
“Aliya is an outstanding WIC ambassador who brings her whole heart to her work. She cares deeply about equity and cultural sensitivity in patient care and education,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “She constantly steps up to educate and inform on behalf of women, children and families – ranging from educating staff and the community about the nutritional aspects of Ramadhan, to responding when she saw WIC clients veering away from services from fears about ‘public charge.’”
Haq has more than 20 years of experience in the management and delivery of nutrition services, and in work to improve health outcomes for minority and immigrant populations, especially women and children. She is an expert and frequent speaker on the cultural influences on infant feeding and nutrition, serving as a co-investigator of NIH and RWJ-funded studies examining these topics. As the ICHS nutrition services supervisor, Haq heads WIC Programs in three ICHS clinic locations that offer nutrition counseling to over 4,000 patients annually. She also collaborates with the health center medical team to lead the delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate nutrition counseling and therapy. Haq has a MS from University of Washington majoring in nutritional sciences. She is a certified dietitian with the State of Washington and a registered dietitian nutritionist with the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.