Start Date: September 2020

ID #: CAS074

Organization: University of Washington School of Public Health

Project Lead: Jennifer Otten, PhD, RD

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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.

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