Experts

Betsy Thorn

Associate Vice President

Westat Insight

Overview

Betsy Thorn, PhD, is an experienced researcher and Associate Vice President with expertise in food and nutrition assistance programs and policy. As a director for food and nutrition research, Thorn led business development and strategic planning for Westat Insight’s food and nutrition portfolio. This portfolio focuses on research, evaluation, and technical assistance for federal assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and other clients.

Thorn serves as project director for the Update to Feasibility Study on Implementing SNAP in Puerto Rico for FNS, which entails identifying the changes that would be needed to convert Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program to SNAP and estimating a timeline and costs for such a conversion. Thorn also directs the Reasons for Underredemption of the WIC Cash-Value Benefit study for FNS. This project uses interviews with state agency staff and WIC participants in combination with electronic benefit transfer data to identify policies and other factors related to participants’ use of the cash-value benefit to purchase fruits and vegetables.

Thorn has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research. She has designed and administered surveys, collected quantitative administrative data, and analyzed secondary datasets. She has also developed qualitative data collection protocols and collected and analyzed qualitative data.

Education

  • PhD, Sociology, University of Maryland
  • BA, Sociology, University of Chicago

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