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USDA Awards Cooperative Agreement to Enhance WIC Services

Release No.
FNS 0007.18

Contact:
FNS Communications (703) 305-2281

WASHINGTON, September 28, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) today announced a $2-million cooperative agreement with the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to conduct an in-depth, practicable evaluation of local agencies’ strategies to improve services provided by the USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

“WIC promotes positive outcomes for low-income mothers and their young children by ensuring their nutritional needs are met, not just by providing them with nourishing foods, but also through education, support, and resources,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps, who oversees USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “Through this cooperative agreement, we look forward to better understanding how our local partners’ efforts impact WIC participants, so we can continue to improve the quality of services provided to those in need.”

FNS is continuously looking for ways to leverage innovative ideas, data-driven strategies, and new technology to improve customer service in its programs. Through this cooperative agreement, JHU will support and evaluate local efforts to develop interactive tools, technical resources, and innovative solutions that improve customer service in WIC clinics and ultimately encourage and improve retention of eligible children in WIC. JHU will select up to five WIC local agencies as sub-grantees for this research through a national competition.

“Johns Hopkins is excited to undertake this important research to improve the participation and retention of children ages one to four in USDA’s WIC program. WIC plays a key role reducing preterm birth, low birth weight, morbidity and mortality in the first year of life,” said David Paige, MD, of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Continued participation and retention of high-risk children ages one to four is vital to maximize WIC’s impact during this crucial period of growth and development and provides a nutritional head start to WIC participants throughout their lives.”

The cooperative agreement between FNS and the University will run from September 2018 through September 2021.

WIC provides low-income new and expectant mothers, babies, and children up to age 5 with specialized nutrition, resources, and health care referrals to ensure they are properly nourished as they develop and grow. Services are delivered through approximately 1,900 local agencies and 10,000 clinic sites.

For more information on this novel cooperative agreement, please visit: https://www.jhsph.edu/departments/population-family-and-reproductive-health/women-infants-children/hpril.html

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USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

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