Liana Washburn studies federal nutrition assistance programs and policies, including child nutrition programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She is a seasoned qualitative researcher and has expertise in quantitative methods used to evaluate child nutrition programs including dietary intakes, plate waste, the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), and use of child nutrition administrative data. She also has experience studying procurement for child nutrition programs, direct certification for free- and reduced-price school meals, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
Washburn’s SNAP research is focused on implementation and process evaluations. She leads a case study of SNAP agencies that will establish a detailed understanding of state and local agency practices for serving individuals with limited English proficiency. She leads collection, processing, and analysis of about 200 in-depth interviews with SNAP clients to understand their experiences with child support and the effect of a child support cooperation requirement in SNAP. Washburn has also studied elderly access to SNAP.
Washburn has conducted extensive research on child nutrition programs and policies. She serves as administrative data lead for a multiyear study of how child nutrition programs operated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Washburn led the plate waste study as part of the second School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study (SNMCS) and has conducted secondary analyses of data from SNMCS-I. This includes analyzing nutrients, U.S. Department of Agriculture food pattern food groups, and HEI scores from reimbursable foods consumed by students participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. She also coauthored a paper, published in Nutrients, which examined disparities in the healthfulness of school food environments and the nutritional quality of school lunches.
Washburn has a M.S. in food policy and applied nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.