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RIDGE Program Announcements

 

2020 RIDGE Conference on Economics and Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs

August 2020: The 2020 RIDGE Conference, held virtually on October 14, will feature new economic research aimed at enhancing food security and dietary quality for low-income Americans. Both new and established investigators who were 2019 RIDGE grantees will present on topics ranging from evaluating the impact of nutrition-driven changes in school meals to influences of labor policy on SNAP to nutrition assistance participation amongst populations of interests, including college students and multigenerational households. A preliminary agenda is listed below. The conference is free but requires advanced registration

Agenda

11:00-11:15     Opening remarks

                        Jay Variyam, Director, Food Economics Division, ERS, USDA

                        Melissa Abelev, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Policy Support, FNS, USDA

                        Parke Wilde, Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program Director

 

Session A:     Effect of Child Nutrition Program Changes on Student Outcomes

                        Moderator: Tatiana Andreyeva, Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program Associate Director

11:15-11:45     Did the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act help improve dietary quality among school-age children?

                        Pourya Valizadeh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

11:45-12:15     Breakfast in the classroom, body mass index, and academic outcomes.

                        Michael Thomsen, University of Arkansas

 

12:15-12:30    Session Break

 

Session B:     Labor Policy Implications for SNAP

                        Moderator: Sara John, Tufts University

12:30-1:00       SNAP and work-related policies: An in-depth analysis of low-wage worker perspectives and behaviors.

                        Caitlin Caspi, University of Minnesota

1:00-1:30         Labor supply distortions from nutrition assistance programs: Evidence from a bunching estimator

                        Jason Cook, University of Pittsburgh

 

1:30-1:45        Session Break

 

Session C:     Role of Nutrition Assistance in Key Demographic Groups

                        Moderator Leslie Hodges, Economic Research Service, USDA

1:45-2:15         Understanding barriers to SNAP enrollment among college students.

                        Maggie Dickinson, CUNY Guttman

2:15-2:45         SNAP, school meals, and the food security of multigenerational households

                        Agustina Laurito, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

2:45-3:00         Session Break

 

Session D:     WIC/SNAP and the Wellbeing of Families with Young Children

                        Moderator: Courtney Paolicelli, Food Nutrition Service, USDA

3:00-3:30         Food insecurity and child food consumption patterns among WIC participating families in Los Angeles County 

                        Pia Chaparro, Tulane University

3:30-4:00         Does maternal depression caused by food insufficiency influence parenting practices and impact infant wellbeing? 

                        Irma Arteaga, University of Missouri

 

4:00-4:15        Closing Remarks and Adjournment

                        Parke Wilde, Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program Director

                        Christian Gregory, Chief, Food Assistance Branch, Economic Research Service, USDA

 

4:15-4:45        Virtual networking/social time

 

 

RIDGE Program Spotlight: The Impact of Changes to CACFP on Food Spending and Young Children's Dietary Intake in Urban Family Child Care Homes

April 2020: The updated nutrition standards of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) can improve children’s diets in family child care settings based on recent findings from Dr. Erica Kenney at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Providers still will need additional training and technical assistance to improve children’s nutrition.

 

RIDGE Program Spotlight: Public Support and Evidence for More Frequent SNAP Benefit Distribution

January 2020: Monthly issuance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits results in higher SNAP spending earlier in the benefit month across all food categories, and popular support exists for policy changes that could affect these spending patterns, based on new findings from Rebecca Franckle and Eric Rimm at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

View the Program Spotlight Video

 

RIDGE Program Spotlight: Universal Free Meals (UFM) raises student test scores in New York

December 2019: Universal Free Meals helps improve educational outcomes for middle school students in New York City, according to new research by Michah W. Rothbart and Amy Ellen Schwartz of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Providing all students breakfast and lunch at no cost, or Universal Free Meals (UFM), eliminates the financial barrier to student participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Increased school meal participation has the potential to benefit students through improved healthier food access and school districts through streamlined administration and increased revenue. Michah W. Rothbart, a 2017 grantee of the Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program, leverages city and state administrative data to uncover the impact of UFM on both students and districts in New York.

 

Eight New Research Grants to Enhance Food Security and Dietary Quality in Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs

June 3, 2019: With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and the University of Connecticut focuses on economic research aimed at enhancing food security and dietary quality for low-income Americans through the nation’s nutrition assistance programs. For the 2019 round, the program announces eight research grant awards, reflecting a wide range of nutrition assistance program topics.

 

New Round of RIDGE Funding Announced

December 6, 2018: The Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program announced a new round of funding on November 28, 2018. The request for proposals (RFP) for a new 2019 round of RIDGE seeks to support innovative economic research on domestic nutrition assistance programs and to broaden the network of researchers applying their expertise to USDA topics. The RIDGE Program seeks applications from a diverse community of experienced nutrition assistance researchers, early career scholars, and established researchers who bring expertise in another research area.

 

2018 Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Conference October 11 in Washington, DC

September 12, 2018: The RIDGE Conference will be held on October 11, 2018 at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) in Washington, DC. The conference will provide a forum for 2017 RIDGE grantees and attendees to discuss results of recently funded grants on topics that include food assistance program participation, food insecurity among vulnerable populations, and community influence on food assistance and dietary choices. Sessions, participants, and presentation topics are available in the preliminary agenda.

Conference attendance is free, but advanced registration is required. For more details and conference registration, please visit the USDA ERS webpage.

The request for proposals (RFP) for a new 2019 round of RIDGE grants is scheduled for release in late November 2018.

 

Nine New Research Grants to Enhance Food Security and Dietary Quality in Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs

July 19, 2017: With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and the University of Connecticut focuses on economic research aimed at enhancing food security and dietary quality for low-income Americans through the nation’s nutrition assistance programs. For the 2017 cycle, the program announces nine research grant awards, reflecting a wide range of nutrition assistance program topics.

 

Center for Nutrition Assistance Research To Enhance Food Security and Dietary Quality

October 26, 2016: A new center at Tufts University and the University of Connecticut will focus on economic research aimed at enhancing food security and dietary quality for low-income Americans through the nation's nutrition assistance programs. The research center brings together the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, two institutions with long records of research leadership in this area.