Strategies to Advance Health Equity: How Health Departments Can Grow a Healthy Public Food Sector

Content Experts:
Nicholas Freudenberg, DrPH, MPH
Distinguished Professor
Faculty Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

Emily Franzosa, DrPH, MA
Senior Researcher, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy


This self-paced, interactive module prepares public health professionals working in state and local health departments to develop or support food policy changes in their communities to encourage healthy food systems. The session begins with a discussion of why the public sector should be involved in developing policies around food and how local health agencies can lead the charge. Next, learners will learn about food system goals that can promote health and how to achieve those goals. Finally, learners will explore case studies that demonstrate how public health agencies have planned and implemented changes to their food systems.

Course Objectives:

  1. Explain and define the scope of the public, the private (market) and the non-profit (civil society) sectors in making healthy food more available and affordable.
  2. Identify the various functions that the public sector plays in making healthy food available and affordable including: procurement, institutional food, taxation, enforcing  food safety standards, regulating retail food outlets and restaurants , and providing food benefits(e.g., SNAP,WIC and school food).
  3. Distinguish roles of local, state and federal governments in public sector food and identify food-related responsibilities of various government sectors including health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, economic development, zoning and land use, and consumer protection.
  4. Describe innovative practices, policies and programs of state and local health departments in supporting public sector initiatives to increase access to healthy affordable food and reduce racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and other inequalities in diet-related diseases.
  5. Describe governance mechanisms for engaging citizens, social movements, advocacy groups and others in using the public sector to shape healthier food environments.
  6. Assess the scope and strengths and weaknesses of their own health department’s food portfolio and identify ways their department could use existing resources and mandates to strengthen the public sector’s role in making healthy food more affordable and accessible.

Continuing Education: 1.0 CPH, 1.0 CHES

Council on Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (2014 Version)

1A1, 1A11, 1B1, 1C1, 2A2, 2A5, 2A6, 2A7, 2B2, 2B6, 2B7, 2B8, 2C2, 2C6, 3A8, 3B8, 3C8, 4A3, 4A4, 4A6, 4B3, 4C3, 5A1, 5A2, 5A3, 5B1, 5B2, 5B3, 5C1, 5C2, 5C3

Click on the appropriate button to begin.

I do not work for a State or Local Health Department in NYS.

I do work for a State or a Local Health Department in NYS.

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you register for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).