Optimizing Key Assistance Programs in Iowa
Altarum supports the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in providing evaluation and research support to the SNAP-Ed, WIC, and obesity prevention programs as well as providing strategic planning support for Iowa’s Early Care and Education Stakeholder Group.
We have worked closely with DHHS to understand their data and evaluation needs for WIC, SNAP-Ed, obesity prevention programming, and early care and education. Using our expertise in these areas, we have utilized a mixed-methods approach drawing on Altarum’s food and nutrition expertise and evaluation skills to develop customized solutions that will provide the state with actionable information they can use to improve their services and programming.
To date, we have provided DHHS with information to help them optimize key programs aimed at improving the lives of Iowans. These include:
- compiling a nutrition and physical activity data report along with 5 corresponding infographics to illustrate results to the public;
- summarizing and describing Iowa WIC participant and program data for 2018-2020 to assist Iowa in identifying priority populations for WIC outreach and services;
- preparing monthly briefings highlighting WIC food redemption and utilization data to assess redemption patterns and trends;
- preparing an impact study design and protocol to assess the impact of the “Pick a Better Snack”TM nutrition education program implemented in schools;
- conducting a survey of the general Iowa population to assess perceptions of WIC fraud;
- conducting 8 focus groups with WIC participants to assess Iowa WIC participants’ experiences with, and perceptions of, fraud;
- conducting a literature review and in-depth environmental scan across all 50 states and several cities and regions to identify information on food policy networks, food charters, State Nutrition Action councils, and policy, systems, and environmental change best practices;
- developing a plan to evaluate the 5-2-1-0 obesity prevention program being conducted in Iowa communities, schools, and early care and education sites; and
- facilitating a strategic planning process with Iowa’s Early Care and Education Stakeholder Group.