We are pleased to announce that Insight Policy Research was acquired by Westat, effective June 15, 2022. Branded as “Westat Insight,” we are currently operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Westat and continue to provide our clients with the best-in-class services they have come to expect. Our combined experience now offers expanded expertise in health, education, and social policy as well as deeper methodological skills in survey research, evaluation, data analytics, and technical assistance. Learn more here.
We are pleased to announce that Insight Policy Research was acquired by Westat, effective June 15, 2022. Branded as “Westat Insight,” we are currently operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Westat and continue to provide our clients with the best-in-class services they have come to expect. Our combined experience now offers expanded expertise in health, education, and social policy as well as deeper methodological skills in survey research, evaluation, data analytics, and technical assistance. Learn more here.
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Reports and Publications

Each of Insight’s products is designed to convey complex information clearly, effectively, and concisely, particularly to nontechnical audiences. Our reports and other publications are tailored to ensure research evidence informs public policy and program implementation. We aim to exceed client expectations with every product delivered.

Reports and Publications

Examination of Cash Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits in Puerto Rico

The Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) provides critical nutrition support for low-income residents of Puerto Rico, issuing a monthly benefit that includes both cash and noncash portions. NAP households must redeem at least 75 percent of their benefits electronically through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) at certified retailers, and may redeem the remaining portion (up to 25 percent) in cash. The entire benefit (both the noncash and cash portions) is supposed to be used only for the purchase of eligible food items.1 The purpose of the cash portion is to give participants with limited access to certified retailers a way to purchase food. In February 2014, the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P. L. 113–79, commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill) reauthorized the NAP block grant and included a provision to phase out the cash portion of the NAP benefit coupled with an equivalent increase in the noncash portion (Agricultural Act of 2014, 2014, § 4025).

The 2014 Farm Bill also mandated a study to assess the potential adverse effects for both participants and food retailers of replacing the 25-percent cash portion with noncash benefits. This study examines the history and purpose of the cash portion, barriers to redeeming the noncash portion, and use of the cash portion for the purchase of nonfood and other prohibited items.

An Assessment of the Roles and Effectiveness of Community-Based Organizations in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

This report assessed the roles and effectiveness of the use of community-based organizations (CBOs) to conduct Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applicant interviews, as part of the Community Partner Interviewer (CPI) demonstration projects. The study sought to describe the CBOs that conducted the interviews, explain the nature of the partnerships between the CBOs and SNAP personnel, and examine associations between the CPI demonstration projects and SNAP outcomes, such as timeliness, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Data sources included site visits to SNAP offices and CBO sites in four states, a SNAP client satisfaction survey, analysis of SNAP administrative data, and a review of extant data from SNAP Quality Control reports and state CPI evaluation reports.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2014 Report

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), hereafter referred to as “the Committee” or “DACOWITS,” was established in 1951 with a mandate to provide the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) with independent advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to service- women in the Armed Forces of the United States. Individual members of the Committee are appointed by the SECDEF and serve in a voluntary capacity for one- to four-year terms.

It has been the Committee’s approach since 2010, and again in 2014, to divide work into two areas of focus: Wellness and Assignments. The Committee selected speci c topics for study under each area of focus, and gathered both primary and secondary sources of information, including brie ngs from DoD and Service-level military representatives and subject matter experts (SMEs); data and other informa- tion collected from focus groups and interactions with Service members during installation visits; and literature reviews. These sources of information formed the basis for the Committee’s recommendations and reasoning.

The Committee voted on recommendations during its September 2014 business meeting and approved this annual report at its December 2014 business meeting.

Examining the Growth of the Zero-Income SNAP Caseload: Characteristics, Circumstances, and Dynamics of Zero-Income SNAP Households

Volume I: Cross-Sectional, Longitudinal, and Policy Analysis Findings

This report examined the growth of the zero-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) caseload, including characteristics, circumstances, and dynamics of SNAP households with zero income. Data from five waves of the Survey of Income and Program Participation were used to conduct (1) repeated cross-sectional analysis of the characteristics of zero-income SNAP households as compared with other SNAP and non-SNAP households, (2) longitudinal analysis of the dynamics of zero-income status and SNAP participation, and (3) a policy analysis to assess the relationship between zero-income SNAP caseload growth and economic conditions and policy changes.

Examining the Growth of the Zero-Income SNAP Caseload: Characteristics, Circumstances, and Dynamics of Zero-Income SNAP Participants

Volume II: In-Depth Interview Findings

In recent years, the growth rate of zero-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households has far surpassed that of the overall SNAP caseload. To gain a better understanding of this trend and the possible contributing factors, the Food and Nutrition Service and Insight conducted a mixed-methods research study focused on the growth and characteristics of the zero-income SNAP population. Insight conducted 50 in-depth interviews with zero-income SNAP households to provide greater detail on their characteristics, circumstances, sources of income if/when they have income, and survival strategies. Insight also examined whether zero income SNAP participants receive benefits from other programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Supplemental Security Income; Unemployment Insurance; and others; and if not, why not.

Department of Defense Recovering Warrior Task Force 2013-2014 Annual Report

This is the fourth and final Annual Report of the Department of Defense (DoD) Recovering Warrior Task Force (RWTF), which was established at Congress’ behest to examine the effectiveness of military Recovering Warrior (henceforth Recovering Warriors, or RWs) policies and programs and to recommend improvements.1 Congress specified more than a dozen RW matters that RWTF was to study each year; although these matters focused primarily on RW needs and resources prior to signing a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty form (known as the DD2142), Congress also charged RWTF to address RWs’ transition to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and civilian status. Drawing upon a comprehensive research plan encompassing a wide variety of data sources and collection methods (see Appendix D, Methodology), RWTF produced a total of 77 recommendations in its first three years of effort. These recommendations can be found in RWTF’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, FY2012, and FY2013 Annual Reports, which are available at http://rwtf.defense.gov/. The present FY2014 Annual Report makes 10 recommendations, for a total of 87 RWTF recommendations over four years of operation.

Evaluation of the Impact of Wave 2 Incentives Demonstrations on Participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP): 2012

This report evaluated four statewide, multiyear demonstrations to test new innovative strategies to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program. The demonstrations included (1) incentives to extend the duration of program operations, (2) funding for educational or recreational activities at summer sites, (3) the provision of noncongregate meal delivery in rural areas, and (4) backpack food packages for weekend and holiday use. The study team used administrative data from participating states to assess the effectiveness of the demonstrations. Key outcome measures include the total number of meals served and the total number of children served (as measured by average daily attendance, or ADA). Additional outcome measures include the number of backpacks or meals delivered. This report also presents findings from a sample of non-demonstration sites that served as comparison sites to examine the effectiveness of the demonstrations.

WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2012

The WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2012 Report summarizes the characteristics of participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nationwide in April 2012. It includes information on participant demographics, income, nutrition risk characteristics, anthropometric and hematological characteristics, and estimates of breastfeeding initiation rates for WIC infants and children.

Managing Personal Health Information: An Action Agenda

This report presents key recommendations and an action agenda developed during a 2-day workshop convened by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on July 27-28, 2009, entitled “Building Bridges: Consumer Needs and the Design of Health Information Technology.‖ The purpose of this event was to develop a framework for characterizing personal health information management (PHIM) that would inform the design of effective consumer health information technology (health IT) systems. The workshop brought together leaders from multiple disciplines, including health sciences, health informatics, information science, consumer health IT, and human factors research, with specific expertise in the fields of PHIM and/or health IT. The workshop moderator was Patricia Flatley Brennan, who also served as an advisor on this report.

Through small-group discussions and presentations, the participants considered the diverse needs of different consumer groups with respect to managing their personal health information and how consumer health IT solutions can be designed to better meet those needs. Based on these discussions and presentations, the participants were asked to set an agenda for advancing the field of consumer health IT that would include specific recommendations for research, industry, and policy.

Results of the Combating Autism Act Initiative: HRSA’s Efforts to Improve ASD Service Delivery Through Research, Training, and State Implementation Grants

In 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the Combating Autism Act (P.L. 109–416). The Act appropriated a total of $168 million, including $42 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to focus on autism and related developmental disability education, early detection, and intervention. Under the authority of this Act, HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) launched the Combating Autism Act Initiative (CAAI) in September 2008, with the long-term goal of developing a system of services that includes: 1) early developmental screening; 2) conducting early, interdisciplinary diagnostic evaluations to confirm or rule out ASD and other DD; and 3) providing early, evidence-based interventions for children with a confirmed ASD diagnosis.

In accordance with the objectives specified in the legislation, the CAAI awarded grants to:

  •  Increase awareness of ASD and other DD
  •  Reduce barriers to screening and diagnosis
  •  Support research on evidence-based interventions for ASD and other DD
  •  Promote the development of evidence-based guidelines and tools for interventions
  •  Train professionals to use valid and reliable screening and diagnostic tools and provide evidence-based interventions for ASD and other DD

Additionally, MCHB introduced a broad-based objective for the CAAI aimed at creating systems- level improvements at the State level that would improve access to comprehensive, coordinated health care and related services for children with ASD and other DD.

To accomplish these objectives, MCHB awarded grants to three distinct but complementary program areas that are responsible for 1) training health and allied health professionals, 2) conducting research, and 3) improving State systems of care. Over the course of the 3-year grant period, CAAI funds were awarded to 39 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Training Program grantees, 6 Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Training Program grantees, 9 MCH Autism Intervention Research Program grantees, and 9 State Implementation Program grantees.

This report presents the results of a 3-year study to assess the performance of these grant programs in meeting the objectives of the CAAI. The study did not attempt to measure long-term outcomes, such as changes in the average age of first screening, because these impacts would generally not be discernible within 3 years. Instead, the study measured results of the grantees’ efforts in the areas of training, awareness building, research, and building comprehensive systems of care for ASD, all of which are expected to contribute to the realization of the CAAI’s long-term goal.