Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Services Research & Administration

First Committee Member

JY Kim

Second Committee Member

Michelle Strong

Third Committee Member

Brandon Grimm



The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) has been nationally adopted in 60 states or Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) to improve the health of low-income persons at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. Despite the potential effectiveness of the program, less is known about the operational challenges in the program implementation at the state and local health department. The goal of the study is to identify factors related to program operations including facilitators and barriers of implementation of the USDA CSFP under a national lens.


An open-ended, self-reported survey was sent out to the forty-six participating CSFP managers across the US that I was able to locate emails for. Twelve surveys were returned, providing crucial information about facilitators and barriers to implementation of the CSFP. Open-ended text data were coded by the researcher and grouped into similar themes.


The responses in the surveys were representable for state organizations as they came from five of the six regions across the US. However, no ITOs responded to the survey, thus their barriers are unknown and not represented in this study. These regions include the Pacific, Mid-West, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast regions. Three common and specific barriers and two unique facilitators were identified. Barriers included lack of federal funding to operate the program, inflexible federal regulations, and insufficient workload or staff availability. Facilitators included partnership and collaboration and resourceful thinking to navigate the barriers felt by many CSFP managers across the US.


It is notable that CSFP managers across the US are struggling with common barriers, such as lack of funding, insufficient staff capacity, or inflexibility of regulations of the USDA. Program managers at the state level that provide the CSFP brainstormed unique facilitators, such as partnership and resourceful thinking, which many of these barriers can be resolved through these strategies. To successfully carry out the CSFP and support its program managers I recommend the USDA consider seeking recommendations from their program managers, amend funding limits and allowable spending, and update regulations over the program.