As the roles of SNAP-Ed implementers have expanded beyond the delivery of nutrition education to include implementation of Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) strategies, it will be critical that training opportunities to increase their capacity are provided. Decision cases have been used across disciplines to generate discussions among practitioners to sharpen critical thinking and problem-solving skills; however, using cases as a training tool has not been explored in the SNAP-Ed program. The purpose of this study was to develop decision cases and corresponding discussion guides for trainings to build SNAP-Ed implementors’ capacities to implement PSE strategies.
To determine the utilization of decision case studies to build SNAP-Ed implementors’ capacities to implement PSE strategies to encourage healthy eating behaviors.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
The development and validation process of using decision cases were: a) Through in-depth interviews with SNAP-Ed partner sites and implementers, barriers to implement PSE strategies in SC were identified; b) in response, the evaluation team wrote cases and discussion guides to highlight barriers; and c) during two focus groups, SNAP-Ed implementers (n = 8) reviewed a case and discussion guide to determine its utility for a larger training.
Each focus group session lasted approximately 40 minutes. Transcripts were analyzed using qualitative software to determine the case's utility.
The decision case stimulated discussions with SNAP-Ed implementers about dilemmas related to the implementation of PSEs, as they considered social contexts. SNAP-Ed implementers recommended decisions cases be incorporated into trainings on a regular basis.
Decision cases may help foster an environment where complex issues regarding the implementation of PSEs are regularly discussed, which could build nutrition educators’ capacities for implementation and lead to: a) A reduction in staff turn-over, as SNAP-Ed implementers are better able to solve issues collectively; b) strengthened SNAP-Ed partnerships due to increased capacity of SNAP-Ed implementers; and c) for those in leadership roles, more opportunities to hear SNAP-Ed implementers’ experiences, which could inform their supervisory decisions.