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Evaluation of food insecurity screening and direct referral system

Carpenter, Abigail (2019) Evaluation of food insecurity screening and direct referral system. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Food insecurity is a social issue linked to adverse health outcomes, affecting over 12 million U.S. children in 2017. Research demonstrates that food insecurity puts children at risk for more emergency room visits and longer inpatient hospital stays. Due to the significance of food insecurity as a public health issue, health care institutions can implement evidence-based practices for screening and coordinating resources.
Purpose: Screenings for food insecurity have been implemented in a number of settings. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children are screened for food insecurity in all health maintenance visits. In addition to screening, appropriate protocols must be in place to connect caregivers with resources they need to improve their levels of food insecurity. As it stands, many pediatric clinics offer caregivers information about food resources. Caregivers are then responsible for coordinating resources independently. A direct referral system removes this burden from the caregiver, allowing an agency to directly contact the caregiver and offer resources. The purpose of this evaluation is to assess a direct referral system between five clinics in the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) Network and Just Harvest, a community partner who connects caregivers with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Methods: Five CHP clinics conducted food insecurity screenings for caregivers. Starting in November 2018, caregivers who screened positive were then offered a direct referral to Just Harvest, who then contacted the caregiver with information about and assistance with applying for SNAP benefits. Caregivers who agreed to this option consented to have their contact information sent to Just Harvest. From this point, outcomes were tracked from Just Harvest’s initial contact with the caregiver to the decision about whether to apply for SNAP benefits. Every point of the process was tracked, including, but not limited to, ability to contact, benefit eligibility screening, and final SNAP application decision.
Results: Of the 37 caregivers who agreed to the referral, 30 were successfully contacted by Just Harvest. Eight (26.7%) were screened for SNAP benefits, and 5 (62.5%) applied for benefits. For those who applied, the average monthly benefit amount per household was $377.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Carpenter, Abigailaec105@pitt.eduaec1050000-0001-7055-6782
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAlbert,
Committee MemberGary-Webb,
Committee MemberKuchera, Anne
Committee MemberMorrow,
Date: 3 April 2019
Date Type: Submission
Defense Date: 9 April 2019
Approval Date: 27 June 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 55
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: food security/insecurity; federal assistance; SNAP benefits; clinical-community partnerships
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2019 20:03
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2019 20:03


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