OFS Innovation project poster

Improving the WIC Program for Better Maternal & Child Health

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has been shown to improve birth outcomes, improve diet and nutrition, and decrease healthcare costs overall. However, participation trends illustrate declining program utilization in Missouri, particularly for children ages one through four. In order to increase overall WIC utilization and satisfaction, Operation Food Search is learning from all WIC stakeholders – participants, clinics, retailers, government officials and advocates – to create a program that works better for everyone.

Research findings will be transformed into innovative program and policy solutions that increase overall Missouri WIC utilization with special emphasis on the one- through four-year-old population.



Our Vision for WIC

Healthy Children
and Families

Efficient and Effective
Program Implementation

Higher Participation
Among Eligible Missourians

Missouri as a
National Model

Project Phases

The process of reimagining WIC in Missouri will occur in two phases:

Statewide Stakeholder


Statewide Stakeholder Engagement Phase

The primary goal is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the WIC experience in Missouri from key stakeholder groups using user experience (UX) design principles. Through both qualitative and quantitative research, the WIC program experience will be documented in a journey map.

One-on-One Interviews

OFS conducted 49 in-depth interviews across the state to develop a nuanced understanding of the WIC client experience in Missouri.

Data Analysis

Using computer software, code interview transcripts to identify common highlights, pain points, and themes.

Survey Development

OFS and the Social Policy Institute (SPI) at Washington University in St. Louis developed a survey based on insights from interviews to gather more information about the WIC experience.

Survey Collection

The survey link was distributed by community partnerships and the WICShopperApp. During Spring 2022, nearly 3,000 Missourians completed the survey. 97% identified as currently WIC eligible.

Phase One Report

The report, Strengthening Missouri WIC: Improving Maternal and Child Health through Research and the Voices of WIC Families, uses survey findings to engage in program evaluation of Missouri WIC and advocate for policy interventions aimed at increasing WIC participation and satisfaction.


OFS is sharing what we learned, convening discussions and building partnerships with WIC community stakeholders to address key takeaways.

Program Transformation Phase

The research and journey map will identify potential innovative solutions to be tested. The goal during the program transformation is to create regional collaboratives with representation from all stakeholder groups to pilot one or more innovative solutions.


Pilot Solutions

Become a Partner

We’re creating a diverse collaborative of WIC stakeholders throughout Missouri. Join us!

Ways You Can Help:
Recruitment of
Co-planning of
regional meetings

Follow Along

We’ll be traveling across Missouri, gathering data, feedback and stories from WIC stakeholders. Follow along with our journey and stay up-to-date on our latest findings by following @OpFoodSearch on Twitter.

For more information, contact