National WIC Association

Research Activities

NWA strives to keep our members up-to-date with WIC research to inform policy and practice. NWA creates and houses resources for WIC researchers on the WIC Hub, including Research Priorities that guide key thematic areas of research needed to inform WIC policy and practice. NWA disseminates research regularly to members through newsletters and webinars.  NWA also has a member-led Evaluation Committee, which includes evaluation experts and practitioners from local and state WIC agencies as well as representatives from the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) and Economic Research Services (ERS). The evaluation committee works with NWA staff to set research priorities, provides resources to WIC agencies in evaluation efforts, and supports interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships with external researchers. The Evaluation Committee facilitates the feedback loops of research, policy, and practice.

NWA also performs original research, both independently and in collaboration with external researchers (e.g., The Multistate Participant Satisfaction Survey). NWA supports and convenes external researchers working on WIC-related projects. A key mechanism for facilitating this work is through NWA’s conferences. NWA encourages researchers to submit abstracts to upcoming conferences; a list of upcoming conferences is available here.

NWA supports WIC staff in building collaborations with external researchers and enhancing their capacity to use research and evaluation to inform program management and quality improvement. NWA staff may be available to serve as consultants, subject matter experts, or coinvestigators on WIC research.

NWA encourages researchers interested in WIC to share their WIC project with NWA so that NWA can connect researchers with relevant resources and share opportunities to connect with WIC staff. Please fill out this brief survey here and an NWA staff member will be in touch with you shortly. This form can also be used to request a letter of support from NWA on a grant for WIC-related research.

Resources for Researchers

NWA membership

To be best connected with the WIC community, NWA recommends that researchers become members of NWA.  Learn more about individual membership here.

Research Priorities

NWA views the cycle of research, practice, and policy to be reciprocal and encourages collaboration between researchers and practitioners to conduct high-quality research that supports WIC and identifies innovative approaches to program improvement. The goal of the NWA Research Priorities is to identify thematic research areas that support NWA and WIC programs nationwide. We aim to be responsive to emerging issues and continue to explore, demonstrate and integrate evidence-based practices that improve the health and well-being of WIC families. The NWA Research Priorities is developed and updated periodically by the NWA Evaluation Committee and NWA staff. This document serves as a resource for graduate students and research professionals planning to conduct WIC-related research or looking for studies that address the benefits of the program.

New Guidance on Conducting a WIC Research Project

WIC is one of the most researched federal nutrition programs. There are often multiple stakeholders involved in a WIC research project such as a government agency, contractor, university research department, local WIC agency, state WIC agency and/or WIC participants. The Applied Research Framework aims to help external researchers (e.g., academic or nonprofit researchers) plan, communicate, execute and disseminate research related to WIC. This framework provides a checklist to guide research projects, including advice for building relationships with WIC agencies, descriptions of publicly available WIC-related datasets, and more! WIC agencies may also use this framework to guide the development of research partnerships.

Secondary Datasets Available for WIC Research

This collection, housed on NWA’s WIC Hub, serves as a directory of secondary datasets related to WIC available for researcher use. NWA maintains an active list of these datasets, which are all either publicly available or available upon request. Details of the dataset locations, WIC measures, and sampling information are included. NWA updates this list regularly, so please email if you have a dataset you would suggest NWA add to this list.

The WIC Hub

The WIC Hub is a website for resources to support the work of WIC staff, researchers, and advocates by making it easier to find WIC-related resources and information. The Hub welcomes many different types of materials, such as policy manuals, advocacy tools, toolkits, blog posts, peer-reviewed research, reports, and other materials. Submitting a resource is easy and takes less than 10 minutes! Learn more about submitting your resource here. The WIC Hub is a great place to stay up to speed about work that is happening in the field, as the WIC Hub includes many resources not available in peer-reviewed publications.