Start Date: February 2020

ID #: 86838

Principal Investigator: Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, MSc

Organization: Johns Hopkins University

Funding Round: HER Round 12

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This project aims to develop solutions that will increase participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program among Native American communities. Native Americans experience high rates of food insecurity and have higher mortality rates due to diet-related chronic diseases compared to other ethnicities. The WIC program has a strong record of promoting children’s health, growth, and development in marginalized populations; recently, however, Native American participation in WIC has declined significantly. This study seeks to understand barriers to WIC participation for Native American women. In addition, the study seeks to understand how the structural and educational aspects of the WIC program can be modified to reduce these barriers. Finally, the study seeks to uncover specific strategies and policies that could be implemented in WIC centers or WIC-participating food stores serving Native American clients in order to support their participation. This formative study will employ methods such as in-depth interviews, observations, group model building workshops, and follow-up workshops. The researchers will work with Navajo Nation, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), and Zuni Pueblo in order to identify policy and program strategies to improve long-term WIC participation.

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