WIC Reflections – Marietta Interviews part 1

Research always takes about twice as long as you expect it to. Like in the Spring, the IRB has delayed things. I learned from the Spring to start early and had the Georgia Tech IRB by the time school started. This time, however, I’m dealing with double IRBs since WIC has its own. Complicating the matter is that each of the 200+ WIC districts has its own policy for dealing with research. Marietta, the last clinic I visited, gave me approval after 2 weeks. Still waiting on Lawrenceville (hopefully next week) and DeKalb (MIA). 

Yesterday I conducted two interviews at Marietta. They were originally meant to be practice to make sure there weren’t any flaws in the questions. I personally think they went well and only noted one thing to change in the interview. I present a figure with examples of formats for accessing developmental milestone information and include images of what they look like. I failed to include a picture of a kiosk, making it harder to imagine what it looks like.

Most importantly, both interviews took almost exactly 15 minutes. This study is challenging in that we need to interview parents while they are in the clinic since it would be difficult to schedule interviews in a different location. The WIC provides a secure and trusted location for conducting interviews, all critical features since this is already a disadvantaged and protected population. All the clinics have mentioned that families want to get in and out as quickly as possible so they can get back to work, a reasonable goal since sadly money is scarce.

After consulting with the nutritionists and directors, we decided the best time to conduct the interviews is right after the nutrition consultation. This is the second-to-last step involved and is followed by food vouchers. Usually it takes 15-20 minutes to print these, and sometimes slightly longer, so this is the most convenient time to do it.

For the two interviews so far, the nutritionist instructed a parent to come to me after explaining that the study was optional. This step is critical because, again, since we are working with a special population, we want to place even more emphasis on protecting personal rights. This is one of the reasons why the clause about the research study being optional is one of the first on the consent form.

Another interesting note: for the parents I spoke with, the nutritionists let me know that they “were very quiet and wouldn’t say much”. I actually found both to be fairly talkative. Hopefully this means I am doing a good job in seeming personable and not overly rigid? I will continue to consciously try and do that


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