Start Date: September 2020

ID #: CAS074

Organization: University of Washington School of Public Health

Project Lead: Jennifer Otten, PhD, RD

See more related research


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated barriers to participation in the WIC program, since people were encouraged or required to stay home and grocery stores experienced shortages of food items. Washington State’s WIC program has been actively re-tooling service delivery prior to and at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to overcome participation barriers. This project will use the RE-AIM framework and a descriptive and quasi-experimental study design to assess programmatic changes instituted by WA WIC during the COVID-19 pandemic, including waiving the “physical presence” requirement for certification appointments and providing nutrition education and breastfeeding support remotely (together referred to as remote services), and expanding the list of allowable foods. The study will draw on statewide WIC programmatic data and a purposive sample of WIC staff and clients. The study aims to: 1) Examine the reach and effectiveness of the programmatic changes, including how and the extent to which the changes impacted enrollment, participation, client and staff satisfaction, food purchasing, and food security; and 2) Investigate the factors, processes, facilitators, and challenges involved in the adoption and implementation of the programmatic changes and for their continued maintenance.

Related Research

March 2022

Insights from Washington State’s COVID-19 Response: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of WIC Remote Services and Expanded Food Options Using the RE-AIM Framework

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington State’s Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WA WIC) adopted federal waivers to transition to remote service delivery for certification and education appointments. WA WIC also expanded the approved food list without using federal waivers, adding more than 600 new items to offset challenges participants experienced More

December 2021

WIC Remote Services and Expanded Food Options: Insights from Washington’s COVID-19 Response

This study aimed to assess programmatic changes made by the Washington State WIC program to offer remote services and more flexible food options, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve focus groups with 52 WIC staff (10 state, 42 local) were conducted in Dec 2020 to Feb 2021, and interviews were conducted with 40 WIC More

September 2023

Applied Research Framework: A Guide to Creating Impactful WIC Research Projects and Collaborating with WIC Agencies

The Applied Research Framework aims to help external researchers (e.g., academic or nonprofit researchers) plan, communicate, execute and disseminate research related to WIC. This framework provides a checklist to guide research projects, including advice for building relationships with WIC agencies, descriptions of publicly available WIC-related datasets, and more! WIC agencies may also use this framework More