Public Health Solutions, NY
Public Health Solutions (PHS) is the largest provider of community-based WIC services in New York State, managing nine community-based WIC centers serving nearly 36,000 participants in New York City. PHS’ WIC retention data indicates a large drop off in participation after children turn one and two. According to PHS WIC staff, reasons for non-recertification included:
- Lack of perceived value of the child food package
- Time/schedule constraints
- No longer qualifying financially after returning to work
- Inability to attain necessary documents
- Concerns regarding participation and impact on immigration status
- Transportation costs
- Lack of family support
Meet the Public Health Solutions HPRIL Team*
PHS’ program innovation involved a participant-centered approach to needs identification through the “What Matters to You” (WMTY) approach and utilization of UniteUs, a technology-enabled coordinated accountable network to refer participants to needed resources and follow-up to ensure receipt of services.The WMTY approach targeted families at greatest risk for dropping out of WIC—those with children approaching their 1st and 2nd birthdays. WMTY involved asking these families open-ended questions to identify the highest priority needs and connect those families with resources in the community to address the identified needs. This approach had the potential to improve the real and perceived value of WIC for participants by addressing a greater variety of unmet needs and taking the onus off the participant to follow up on their referral.
To evaluate the “What Matters to You” approach and UniteUs, PHS is used a mixed methods quasi-experimental design, with intervention and comparison clinics located within the PHS WIC agency. The primary outcome measure was the clinic-level rate of WIC retention. PHS WIC also explored differences in receipt of additional support services, types and level of services received, and location of services. Secondary outcome measures included perceived value of WIC benefits, perceived reduction in barriers to WIC retention, and participant satisfaction with the WIC program.
To learn more about Public Health Solutions’ HPRIL project, please contact Lauren Haynes at LHaynes@healthsolutions.org.
* Other Public Health Solutions HPRIL team members (not pictured) include: Zachariah Hennessey, Vice President, Neighborhood Health; Mireille Mclean, Deputy Director, Neighborhood Health; Olga Tkachenko, Director, Neighborhood WIC; Monica Vanegas, Center Manager, Corona WIC; Rimma Ioffe, Center Manager, Ocean Ave WIC; Sunita Malhotra, Outreach Coordinator, Neighborhood WIC; Sandra Jean-Louis, Senior Director, Community Health and Nutrition Access; Michelle Honan, Deputy Director, Community Health and Nutrition Access; Laila Khundkar, Senior Program Coordinator, Community Health and Nutrition Access; and interns Naomi Ali, Aneta Kuclo, Grace Im, and Maggie Xu.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS…
What has been the most exciting thing to date about your project?
When we started the What Matters to You conversations and sending the referrals and seeing the system work. [We’ve] been really excited to see the data each month…and our ability to talk to hundreds of clients despite COVID-19 operations challenges. We have surpassed expectations to-date in the number of clients we have done WMTY counseling with.