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Remembering Sharen Anthony's Legacy

Sharen Anthony
Sharen Anthony

This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”. In honor of this theme, we are highlighting Sharen Anthony, a friend, colleague, advocate, and public health champion who recently passed away in February of this year.

Sharen Anthony worked with the Public Health Foundation Enterprises Women, Infants, and Children (PHFE WIC) Program for over 31 years. During her tenure at PHFE WIC, she was a WIC site supervisor, a WIC program senior manager, project coordinator, leader on the PHFE WIC Council on Racial Equity, and a WIC representative to many Los Angeles County health and nutrition programs.

She was not only a support for other organizations but a true cheerleader for everyone.

In the early 90s, Sharen conceptualized the extremely successful WIC Empowers Teens program aimed at combating the huge teen pregnancy problem. She selected, trained, and motivated 40 Teen Facilitators, all WIC staff and many of whom had been teen moms themselves.

She was passionate about prevention and a key trainer who took the Beyond 9 CA State-funded Preconception Health Care training program on the road to nearly every WIC program in the state.

In 2006, Sharen spearheaded and later became coordinator of the Health is Wealth PHFE WIC Employee Wellness Program for more than 500 employees. She recruited a committee and continued to magnificently lead the employee wellness promotion activities throughout these past 17 years.

The PHFEWIC Health is Wealth Program served as a model for the California WIC Association’s (CWA’s) WIC Worksite Wellness Program. Sharen served in an advisory capacity for the California WIC Association (CWA) WIC Worksite Wellness Program and was instrumental in establishing PHFE WIC as one of the pioneering WIC Worksite Wellness Certified Programs.

Sharen had a heart for her community as she shared her expertise through her studies in receiving her Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC). She provided internal training and specialized assistance in challenging situations such as child abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness.

In the recent past, Sharen was a liaison with the Los Angeles County (LAC) Nurse Family Partnership programs.

She also participated in many local initiatives such as:

  • LAC Department of Public Health Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Project,

  • LAC Healthy Weight for Women of Reproductive Age Learning Collaborative

  • LAC African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative

  • LAC Perinatal and Early Childhood Home Visitation Consortium

  • Served as a co-chair of the Los Angeles Adolescent Health Collaborative Steering Committee

Sharen participated in numerous workgroups and roundtables focused on teens:

  • InterAgency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect’s (ICAN’s) Task Force on Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents

  • The Community Network Council

  • The Orange County Teen Collaborative Network

Sharen had unique talents to engage, teach and train. She was a certified True Colors trainer and trained all staff including every newly hired PHFE WIC employee on True Colors encouraging strong team dynamics, honoring individual strengths, and building cohesiveness.

Her early interactions with new employees made for the perfect welcome during the onboarding stage. In addition and more recently, Sharen was pursuing a guaranteed basic income pilot to further support African-American and Black pregnant WIC mothers, actively worked on advancing health and racial equity, and boosted employee engagement activities.

Her compassion, kindness, fun-loving spirit, and commitment extended to every individual and part of the WIC Program from WIC families and participants, within PHFE WIC, across many, many California local agency WIC programs, and the California Department of Public Health WIC Division.

She will forever be missed and we here at PHFE WIC and CinnaMoms will continue the hard work and foundation she created.


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