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Guided Goal Setting: The Logical Next Step to VENA. Presented by: Shirley H. Sword, MS, RD, LDN PA Department of Health – Division of WIC October 14, 2010. Objectives. To gain insight on the history of the development of Guided Goal Setting

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guided goal setting the logical next step to vena

Guided Goal Setting: The Logical Next Step to VENA

Presented by:

Shirley H. Sword, MS, RD, LDN

PA Department of Health – Division of WIC

October 14, 2010

  • To gain insight on the history of the development of Guided Goal Setting
  • To understand the research behind development of the Guided Goal Setting Module
  • To learn the local agency perspective on how Guided Goal Setting is working in the clinics
facts and figures about pa
Facts and Figures About PA
  • 9th Largest WIC Program
  • 44,817 square miles
  • 274 people per square mile
  • One-third of our 12.4 million residents live in rural areas, the largest non-urban population in the nation
  • 2nd highest percentage of residents >65 years old in the country
facts and figures about pa wic
Facts and Figures About PA WIC
  • 67 Counties
  • 24 Local Agencies
    • Community Action Programs
    • Medical Centers
    • County Health Departments
    • Private, Non-Profits
  • 265,000 Monthly Caseload
service delivery system
Service Delivery System
  • 329 Total WIC Clinics
    • 116 Primary Sites
    • 213 Satellite Sites
  • Users in total - 832
    • 383 CPAs
    • 449 Non-CPAs
  • 1767 WIC Authorized Stores
  • On-site, On-demand Check Printing
special project grants
Special Project Grants
  • Special funding from USDA for special State projects of regional or national significance to improve the services of the program
  • Address issues of critical and timely importance
  • Requires a rigorous evaluation component
  • Results are widely disseminated to other States
Development and Evaluation of Guided Goal Setting (GGS) as a Behavior Change Approach and Monitoring Protocol in Pennsylvania WIC

Our Special Project Grant

partners in this project
Partners in This Project
  • PA WIC
    • Shirley Hsi Sword, Project Director
  • Indiana U of PA
    • Stephanie Taylor-Davis, Principal Investigator
    • Mia M. Barker, Co-Investigator
    • William F. Barker, Evaluator
    • Pao Ying Hsiao, Research Assistant

Goals of this Project

  • To enhance the quality of WIC services provided to PA WIC participants
  • To further VENA initiatives via an evaluated and measurable, participant-centered nutrition education counseling approach that:
      • Maintains continuity from visit to visit
      • Empowers participants
      • Benefits the participant

The Basis for Goal Setting

  • Straight-forward behavioral change approach that accommodates a variety of achievement levels
  • Emphasizes small, progressive steps that are concrete
  • Relevant to address emerging prevention-oriented public health concerns
  • Supported in scientific and behavioral literature with a variety of populations and topic areas

Guided Goal Setting (GGS): Defined

An approach used by the nutritionist in conjunction with the participant that involves critical thinking based on assessment to develop strategies for goal setting to achieve desired participant outcomes


Central Mission

  • Identification, development, implementation, and evaluation of GGS as a WIC counseling method to:
    • Increase participant-centered approach
    • Enhance staff competency and critical thinking skills
    • Assess participant commitment to food-based behavior change
    • Extend nutrition education by supplementing contact points with targeted reinforcements
results by year 2005 2008
Results by Year2005-2008


Special Project Grant


Goals by Year

  • Year 1: “Profile Identification and WIC Evaluation”
    • Assess the state of being in PA WIC with respect to goal setting as a nutrition education counseling approach
  • Year 2: “Guided Goal Setting Practices & Assessment”
    • Formalize the GGS process through development and pilot testing of a training module and assessment tools
  • Year 3: “Improvement – Nutrition Education & Outcomes”
    • Project 1 = Provide standardized training to nutritionists to improve staff competency
    • Project 2 = Run an experimental protocol with GGS that uses reinforcement and is participant-centered and individualized

Year 1 Projects

  • Interview and survey WIC staff to identify nutrition education best practices and barriers to best practices (n=147)
  • Survey WIC participants (not initially in proposal) (n=4665)
year 1 data collection
Year 1: Data Collection
  • Demographic Survey
  • Written Surveys
  • Semi-structured interviews
    • Face-to-face
    • Telephone
  • Nutrition Education Services Survey
  • Director Survey
  • Nutrition Education Coordinator Survey
  • WIC Participant Survey
results year 1 staff insights
Results:Year 1 – Staff Insights
  • Common themes for implementing:
    • Time
    • Environment
    • Distractions
    • Training
    • Resources
    • Attitudes about goal setting
results year 1 staff insights21
Results:Year 1 – Staff Insights
  • Best practices:
    • Participant-centered
    • Committed and knowledgeable staff
    • Receptive participants
    • Good assessment with critical thinking
    • Personalizing process
    • Establish expectation for goal setting
results year 1 staff insights22
Results:Year 1 – Staff Insights
  • Attributes:
    • Knowledge
    • Professional behaviors with participants
    • Professional behaviors within WIC
    • Program beliefs
    • Other
    • Professional values
results year 1 participant insights
Results:Year 1: Participant Insights
  • Participant attitude different than staff perceptions
  • Liked best
    • Helpful suggestions from nutritionist
    • Caring Staff
    • Handouts and brochures
    • Recipes
results participant insights cont d
Results: Participant Insights (cont’d)

Participant Response (n=4,665) Regarding What They Like About WIC Nutrition Information

collective voice year 1 findings
Collective Voice:Year 1 Findings





  • TIME
  • Staff issues
  • Perceptions
  • Participant issues
  • Training issues

Year 2 Projects

  • Develop & test a standardized, yet flexible, theory-based, user-friendly training module and associated instrumentation that will strengthen staff skills and competencies to facilitate the GGS Process

General Concept of GGS Module Development


Nutrition Ed


Agency Staff



LA Directors

GGS Module Units & Objectives

GGS Practices Assessment Instruments

additional year 1 project findings incorporated
Additional Year 1 Project Findings Incorporated
  • “Key principles, assumptions and expected components of a GGS contact” document
  • Recommendations regarding time and delivery system to support nutritionist and paraprofessional training
  • Best practices and success story reports from semi-structured interviews

The GGS Module

  • Ten, 15 to 20-minute hands-on units
  • Activity rich
  • Case study oriented
  • Learner workbook
  • Evaluations: pre, one minute, post, workshop evaluation, and 6 week follow-up with “skill set use”
  • Pilot tested using facilitated group training
ggs module units 1 5
GGS Module: Units 1-5
  • Definition and Relevance
  • Counseling Strategy for Behavior Change
  • Assessment and the Contribution of the WIC Staff
  • Personalizing the Process
  • Linking Risk Codes to Participant Goals
ggs module units 6 10
GGS Module: Units 6-10
  • The Team Approach and Goal Priority
  • Structure of Measurable Goals
  • Documentation
  • Follow-Up and Goal Achievement
  • Action Plan

Year 3 Projects

  • Staff Training using GGS module
  • Experimental protocol to test effectiveness of GGS with participants
year 3 results staff training
Year 3 Results: Staff Training
  • Alpha testing (February 2008)
    • n=10
  • Beta testing (July 2008)
    • n=12

Pre- and post-training surveys

One minute evaluations for each unit

Overall workshop evaluation

Six week follow-up “skill set use” survey

suggestions after pilot testing
Suggestions after Pilot Testing

Based on α Site

Based on β Site

Spend more time on the last five units and less time on the overview

Split into two sessions

More examples of goals and documentation

Fewer evaluations or group them

Good information but could go at faster pace

  • Modified the units to make them more consistent in presentation style
  • Added a small amount of time to each unit
  • Most substantial revision was to Unit 6 – TEAM approach
  • Modified the way the documentation template was introduced in Unit 8
  • Added the ‘Modified’ response option to Skill Set Survey Instrument
conclusions after pilot testing
Conclusions after Pilot Testing
  • By establishing a baseline and a consistent structure for participant goal setting within PA WIC, there are now parameters upon which to evaluate the nutritionist-participant interaction and assess the efficacy of this counseling method to support participant behavior change.
  • The GGS Training Module and Assessment Instruments provide a mechanism to address staff (both CPA/Nutritionist and Other Staff) competency to facilitate the goal setting process with WIC participants.
staff reaction
Staff Reaction
  • Better working relationship with the clients
  • More open communication between staff and clients
  • More aware of the client’s perception of their family’s nutritional needs
client reaction
Client Reaction
  • “Your nutritionist was very well informed and offers great ideas and information.”
  • “Staff was very friendly and explained everything in detail and offered excellent help.”
  • “Staff made us feel comfortable with her advice and help.”
  • “The Staff spoke to me, not at me.”
hurdles to cross
Hurdles to Cross
  • Don’t jump to conclusions!
  • Set small, achievable goals
  • Time
  • Documentation
effect on clinic operations
Effect on Clinic Operations
  • No change in staff duties
  • No operational changes within the clinic
  • Continuing education for professional and paraprofessional staff
  • USDA, Food and Nutrition Service
  • FNS Project Officers
    • CherisaToomer (May 2007 – December 2008)
    • Carol Stiller, MS, RD (September 2005 – April 2007)
    • Home Nursing Agency staff and participants
    • Adagio Health, Inc.
  • PA Department of Health, Bureau of Information Technology and Ciber, Inc.
contact information
Contact Information

Shirley H. Sword, MS, RD, LDN

Stephanie Taylor-Davis, PhD, RD, LDN

Mia Barker, PhD

Tracy Kelley