Navigator: Tracy Lavin
Primary Service Area: Underserved Women.
Best known amongst her peers as the “Queen of WIC,” Tracy Lavin has dedicated a large amount of her time to helping underserved women navigate their way through health insurance coverage. Lavin sees dozens of new and returning moms at local WIC offices in Gloucester county and she understands the importance of health insurance for women, especially mothers and children. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, and immunization screenings for infants and children up to 5 years old. “Women utilize many of the services offered at WIC and it’s easy for them to ask me questions and get enrolled into a plan right in the office,” says Lavin who is stationed at different WIC offices on a weekly basis.
Lavin says that her goal at the WIC offices is to help mothers begin their new journey in the best way possible when it comes to health insurance. Lavin stated, “being a mom is a 24 hour job, so having access to proper health services is necessary so you can be in the best health for your child.” Since Lavin visits the WIC offices on a regular basis, she has become a critical resource to those in the community and she has even provided information sessions to WIC staff, so that they are up to date on general health insurance guidelines and have a current overview of the Affordable Care Act.
Her outreach to underserved women has expanded beyond the WIC offices and into bars, taverns, and diners throughout South Jersey. Lavin has shared information with bartenders and waitresses at over 30 different locations and continues to visit more. Lavin says that she knows firsthand about the lower wages and tips that some bartenders and waitresses work for, but she believes that “shouldn’t impact the access and quality health insurance that they receive.” Some employees have met with Lavin to discuss health insurance plans and even find coverage for their children. According to Lavin, the bars and diners are great places to have conversations, so leaving Navigator flyers throughout these locations helps to initiate important discussions about health insurance.
Tracy’s Key to Best Practice: Always stay personable and allow individuals to feel comfortable speaking with a Navigator. “Many of the sites remember me because of my personality and the way that I make them feel. I am very interested in hearing different consumer stories and showing an interest in what people have to say shows that we do care.”