NPI researchers present on challenges and opportunities for SNAP-Ed programs during the COVID-19 pandemic at 2021 National Health Outreach Conference

May 10, 2021

USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) impacts the lives of participants through education as well as policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change initiatives at schools, early care and education facilities, food banks and pantries, and other community sites. SNAP-Ed, which focuses on individuals and families with low income and the communities in which they live, can improve health equity. However, SNAP-Ed interventions were dramatically impacted in 2020 by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers at the Nutrition Policy Institute presented relevant research findings at the 2021 National Health Outreach Conference, held virtually on May 3-7, 2021. Their presentation, entitled 'Challenges and Opportunities for SNAP-Ed Programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic', described the ways in which California's local health departments shifted their SNAP-Ed efforts,  barriers that COVID-19 created in their PSE work, and factors that facilitated new and continued efforts. Despite a 37% reduction in the number of SNAP-Ed sites reached in 2020 when compared to each of the previous two years, many successful PSE efforts were implemented by local health departments in 2020, including new interventions at numerous sites that were initiated in response to COVID-19. A common theme reported in relation to successful efforts was the importance of strong partnerships. NPI's Carolyn Rider presented these findings in collaboration with NPI researchers Janice KaoChristina BeckerEvan Talmage, and Gail Woodward-Lopez.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement