Healthy Eating Research is pleased to announce 8 new research teams funded through our 2022 special solicitation on COVID-19 and Socioeconomic Recovery Efforts. This call for proposals focused on how policies and programs related to poverty reduction, such as COVID-19 relief and recovery policies, impact child health and well-being.

We look forward to working with these teams over the next year and a half and sharing the results of their projects

The Rent Eats First: A Multi-Methods Study of Emergency Rental Assistance and Food Insecurity

Johns Hopkins University; PIs: Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH, and Kathryn Leifheit, PhD, MSPH

This study aims to measure the impact of federal Emergency Rental Assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic on household food insecurity, caregiver mental and physical health, and child preventative care.

The Effect of Pandemic Food Assistance Policies on U.S. Child Food Security and Health

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing; PI: Laura Samuel, PhD, MSN, RN, Co-PI: Lucine Francis, PhD

The study will examine whether, how, and for whom, the P-EBT and SNAP emergency allotments during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with food insecurity and health outcomes for children.

Examining the Effects of County-Level COVID-19 Policies on Child Nutrition and Health Equity to Inform Current and Future Policymaking

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; PI: Rita Hamad, MD, PhD, Co-PI: Hilary Seligman, MD, MAS

This study aims to understand how local county policies during the COVID-19 pandemic affected child nutrition and health and conduct subgroup analyses to assess how policies affected disparities in outcomes.

Impacts of Increased Cash-Value Benefit on Inter Tribal Council of Arizona WIC Participants’ Program Utilization and Weight Outcomes

Arizona State University; PI: Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RDN, Co-PI: Emily Melnick, PhD, MPH

This study will assess the impacts of WIC fruit and vegetable cash value benefit (CVB) increases on Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) WIC program participant outcomes by examining associations between increased CVBs and participant benefit redemption and engagement, the prevalence of obesity among child participants, nutrition education messages, and participant perceptions of the program.

Evaluating the Impact of Emergency Food Benefits in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Supermarket Purchases among Families with Children

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc.; PI: Joshua Petimar, ScD, Co-PI: Michele Polacsek, PhD

This study aims to assess the effect of changes to SNAP and WIC benefits implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic on the quality of supermarket food purchases of lower-income families with children in New England.

Understanding Barriers and Facilitators of Universal Free School Meals in NYS

Teachers College, Columbia University; PI: Jennifer Cadenhead, PhD, Co-PI: Pamela Koch, EdD

This study examines the impact of maintaining (or de-implementing) Universal Free School Meals in NY, especially for Black and Hispanic/Latino families who may be disproportionately impacted by pre-existing inequities.

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 Waivers in WIC on Participation, Fruit and Vegetable Purchases, and Nutrition Disparities: A Natural Experiment

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; PI: Erica Kenney, ScD, MPH, Co-PI: Eric Rimm, ScD

This study aims to estimate the impact of COVID-related changes to WIC on benefit use and participant retention, estimate the impact of increased cash value voucher/benefit (CVB) on WIC participants’ intake of fruit and vegetables and overall diet quality, and test whether the impacts of these policy changes were distributed equitably by race/ethnicity.

The Effect of Emergency Rental Assistance on Household and Child Food Hardship

Child Trends; PI: Gabriel Piña, PhD, Co-PI: Yiyu Chen, PhD

This study examines the impact of emergency rental assistance programs on household and child food insecurity among low-income renter households with children, whether effects vary by race/ethnicity and household structure, and what households need as these assistance programs wind down.