Our Work

Assessing the Impact and Feasibility of WIC Remote Services and Expanded Food Options

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 used 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 drew on statewide WIC programmatic data and a purposive sample of WIC staff and clients and was conducted in partnership with the Washington WIC program. The study:

  1. Examined 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. Investigated the factors, processes, facilitators, and challenges involved in the adoption and implementation of the programmatic changes and for their continued maintenance.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthy Eating Research

Project Team

  • Lead Investigator: Jennifer Otten, PhD, RD, Associate Professor, UW School of Public Health, Department of Environment and Occupational Health Sciences & Food Systems Director, Center for Public Health Nutrition
  • Emilee Quinn, MPH, Research Scientist, Center for Public Health Nutrition
  • Chelsea Rose, PhD, Research Coordinator


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Project Contact

Jennifer Otten, jotten@uw.edu