The goal of the first ten months of this research was to understand the knowledge and perspectives on food insecurity among community members, medical providers and staff, and staff at social service agencies in Mesa County. Interviews and a survey with community members, medical providers and staff, and staff of food procurement and social service agencies revealed that there are disparities among these groups in beliefs about the causes of food insecurity, stigma associated with food insecurity, and comfort with information sharing. Furthermore, some medical providers and staff appear to not understand the lived experience of food insecurity and why community members might not answer questions about food insecurity honestly or desire discussion and assistance with meeting food procurement needs.
The second year of the research focused on creating an intervention aimed at increasing understanding of the lived experience of food insecurity among health care providers and school staff. A user-centered design process was employed, whereby a group of eight stakeholder partners (people with personal experience of food insecurity, food assistance agency staff, health care workers and researchers) came together over the course of four meetings to develop the intervention. Ultimately, a 40 minute training video was created that provides information about the health and educational outcomes associated with food insecurity, the lived experience of food insecurity including stigma, availability of local resources, and mechanisms for facilitating connections to these resources. The intervention was pilot tested with health care workers and school staff and found to increase knowledge, understanding of and capability to discuss, and motivation to address food insecurity. The research team is submitting a proposal for a larger grant to expand this approach to other social needs and test it as an intervention in primary care practices to increase screening, referral, and alleviation of food insecurity.
Colorado Department of Education, School Nutrition Unit
Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Security
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Nutrition Services
Mesa County WIC, SNAP, and Public Health
University of Colorado Denver
Quality Health Network
Developing an Intervention to Increase Understanding of Food Insecurity
Year 2 Research Findings Presentation
Training Video: Food, Families, Health, and Learning
Information on the causes of food insecurity, resources available in the community, barriers that prevent families from accessing resources, and strategies that health care providers and educators can use to identify families in need of support and connect them to resources.
Memo: User-Centered Design of an Intervention to Improve Understandings of Food Insecurity among Educators and Medical Staff