Center for Public Health Nutrition

Food Access and Food Security

People who can easily buy affordable, healthy and culturally relevant foods are more likely to choose healthy foods. In some lower-income communities it is hard to shop for healthy foods.

The UW Center for Public Health Nutrition (CPHN) works with community partners to study food environments that make it easier for people to buy and eat healthy foods.

Current CPHN food access projects:

Washington State SNAP-Ed Farmers Market Access Evaluation

CPHN investigated the unique role and value of SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed) contributions to Washington State farmers markets, the range of SNAP-Ed supported efforts underway in Washington farmers markets, and to what extent these efforts effect SNAP participants’ knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and shopping, purchasing, and consumption behaviors. CPHN partnered with the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Farmers Market Association, and other SNAP-Ed stakeholders to do this work.

Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Evaluation

CPHN serves as a lead evaluator for Public Health - Seattle & King County’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) initiative, which funds agencies implementing evidence-based and promising practices to improve nutrition and increase physical activity to reduce health disparities in south Seattle and south King County. In this role, CPHN designs and implements evaluations for several community projects, including farmers market SNAP/EBT and Fresh Bucks programming. PICH is scheduled for completion in September 2017. PICH is supported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Washington State Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Farmers Market Evaluation

CPHN provides ongoing evaluation support to the Washington State Department of Health’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant, which makes it easier for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to afford more fruits and vegetables. Specifically, CPHN supports the evaluation of the development and implementation of nutrition incentives in farmers markets. The FINI project is scheduled for completion in 2020. FINI is supported in part by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Student Projects:

University of Washington Nutrition Sciences graduate students often work with CPHN to conduct masters theses, capstone projects, and support our academic research.

Completed CPHN food access projects:

Regional Lead model to Promote Low-Income Shoppers' Access to Farmers Market Access Evaluation

CPHN evaluated the process and key outcomes of Washington’s “Regional Lead” program, and supported three Regional Leads in collecting evaluation data.

  • Regional Lead Model - 2014 evaluation findings from the Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) Regional Lead Model evaluation.

For More Information:

General questions:
Emilee Quinn, MPH
Research Coordinator,
(206) 616-7362

SNAP-Ed related questions:
Lina Pinero Walkinshaw, MPH
Research Coordinator,
(206) 616-1569

FINI related questions:
Katherine Getts, MPH, RD
Research Coordinator,
(206) 616-6527

Principal Investigators,
Donna Johnson, PhD, RD
Jennifer Otten, PhD, RD