Online Program

Community engagement for food security: Policy recommendations for primary care and public health nursing

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Kala Mayer, RN, PhD, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Background: Inequities in food security occur across gender, race, and age. As a food security strategy, W.I.C. agencies provide food to low income women and children, nutrition education, and primary care referrals. Many eligible participants experience structural inequities in accessing primary care (PC) and public health (PH) W.I.C. services. In 2012, the I.O.M. suggested that community engagement is a key component for successful integration of PC and PH. This paper examines community engagement in a W.I.C.-community organization action project to address issues of food security and diet related chronic disease.

Methods: As part of a larger public health nursing study, this study identifies and describes participants' experiences with W.I.C. and their specific suggestions for integrating and improving these services. Using ethnographic methods, participants identified programming barriers and potential solutions. Transcripts were analyzed using content analysis.

Results: Integration recommendations such as, “maybe [W.I.C. recipients] can come to this instead of the alternative,” demonstrate that, when engaged, community members can identify and describe W.I.C. programming barriers and solutions for addressing inequities in food security. Community engagement is an ongoing, reflective endeavor that requires long-term commitment to empowering participants.

Conclusions: Public health (PH) and primary care (PC) nurses should advocate for community engagement that empowers community members to voice issues and solutions about food security and nutritional health. PH and PC nurses should take on a leadership role in disseminating findings within decision making bodies. Community-driven W.I.C. PH-PC recommendations for restructuring W.I.C. programming should assist in meaningful policy development.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify three barriers to access primary care and public health W.I.C. services. List three W.I.C. programming solutions for addressing inequities in food security. Describe three best practices for empowering community engagement.

Keyword(s): Access to Care, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a University of Washington Nursing doctoral candidate and the primary investigator on this research. My major interests are in community driven participatory research, food and nutrition, and the social determinants of health. I am completing my dissertation research on Family Community Kitchen influences on food security and health outcomes. I am also a member of the Community Kitchens Northwest steering committee.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.