Develop Text Messages and Evaluate their Impact on ITCA WIC Participant Engagement and Benefits Redemption

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Develop Text Messages and Evaluate their Impact on ITCA WIC Participant Engagement and Benefits Redemption Develop Text Messages and Evaluate their Impact on ITCA WIC Participant Engagement and Benefits Redemption Develop Text Messages and Evaluate their Impact on ITCA WIC Participant Engagement and Benefits Redemption Submitted by: Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD and Emily Melnick, MPH, PhD Project Period: March 1st, 2022 February 28th, 2023 The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) saves lives and improves the health of nutritionally at-risk women, infants and children. Yet, despite the established health benefits of participating in WIC, participants miss scheduled appointments and leave benefits unredeemed. Participation rates have dropped significantly among Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) WIC-eligible families over the last year despite rising rates of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore important to identify and evaluate strategies that are effective in increasing participant engagement for the unique population served by the ITCA WIC. Text messaging is a demonstrated effective strategy to engage with WIC-eligible families. To address issues of non-engagement (missed appointments) and non-redemption of benefits, we will develop and evaluate a catalog of text messages based on best practices in nutrition and health communication that can be sent to WIC participants served by the ITCA. Messages will focus on both (1) reminding participants about appointments, and (2) reminding participants to redeem their benefit packages. Text messages will be developed in consultation with ITCA WIC staff as well as a nutrition and health communication consultant. Developed messages will be tailored based on beneficiary category (pregnant women, infants, children, multiple beneficiary) and location (rural, urban, tribal communities). We anticipate developing about 30 tailored text messages; these messages will be field-tested before the ITCA staff implement them. After ITCA implements the new text messages over a 4-5 month period, we will evaluate their effectiveness by determining their impact on missed appointments and benefits redemption among different beneficiary categories. Findings will be shared in the form of a report with the ITCA by March 2023. We will also provide an organized compendium of text messages created for internal use by ITCA WIC. Dr. Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, a professor of nutrition with extensive experience in nutrition policy, grant management, evaluation design and management of community partnerships, will serve as the principal investigator on the project. Dr. Emily Melnick, a postdoctoral research fellow with experience conducting community-engaged work among diverse families with young children, will serve as the project director. Dr. Cori Lorts, an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University with nutrition communication expertise, will serve as a consultant on the project.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date5/17/222/28/23

Funding

  • LOCAL: Indian Tribal Governmental Units: $54,913.00

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