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Moving From Policy to Implementation: A Methodology and Lessons Learned to Determine Eligibility for Healthy Food Financing Projects

Harries, Caroline MRP, AICP; Koprak, Julia BA; Young, Candace MS; Weiss, Stephanie MPH; Parker, Kathryn M. MPH, PhD; Karpyn, Allison PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: September/October 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 5 - p 498–505
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000061
Original Articles

Public health obesity prevention experts have recently emphasized a policy systems and environmental change approach. Absent, however, are studies describing how practitioners transition from policy adoption to implementation. In the realm of food policy, financing programs to incentivize healthy food retail development in communities classified as “underserved” are underway at the local, state, and national levels. Implementing these policies requires a clear definition of eligibility for program applicants and policy administrators. This article outlines a methodology to establish eligibility for healthy food financing programs by describing the work of The Food Trust to coadminister programs in 3 distinct regions. To determine program eligibility, qualitative assessments of community fit are needed and national data sources must be locally verified. Our findings have broad implications for programs that assess need to allocate limited public/private financing resources.

This article describes a process to implement an eligibility analysis for healthy food financing programs and shares lessons learned from administering the Pennsylvania, New York, and New Orleans healthy food financing programs over the course of the past 9 years.

National Campaign for Healthy Food Access (Ms Harries and Koprak), Research, Evaluation and Consulting (Mss Young, Weiss and Dr Karpyn), The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Prevention Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana (Dr Parker). Dr Parker is now Executive Director, Market Umbrella, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Correspondence: Caroline Harries, MRP, AICP, National Campaign for Healthy Food Access, The Food Trust, One Penn Center, Ste 900, 1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA, 19103 (charries@thefoodtrust.org).

This article was commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Healthy Eating Research program. The authors value and appreciate the review and insights provided by Amy Hillier, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania, and John Weidman, Deputy Director, The Food Trust. The authors also appreciate support provided by Deirdre Church, Jordan Tucker, Jamie Karinch, and Yi-Ming Law of The Food Trust.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (http://www.JPHMP.com).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivitives 3.0 License, where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License, where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.