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SNAP: Leveraging the Nation’s Largest Nutrition Assistance Program for the Public’s Health

posted on Fri, Oct 16 2015 12:00 pm by The Network for Public Health Law

Friday, October 16 from 12 – 1:30 p.m. (ET). View/download the slides.

In the United States, diet-related illness and food insecurity are serious public health challenges. According to recent research, 35 percent of American adults are obese. Obesity is linked to a wide variety of health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and osteoarthritis. This epidemic accounts for $147 billion in annual medical spending, almost 10 percent of all U.S. medical spending. However, at the same time, approximate 14 percent of U.S. households are food insecure, indicating that their access to sufficient food is limited by lack of money and other resources.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program for low-income Americans and it is an economic powerhouse. In 2014, approximately 46.5 million Americans participated in SNAP and received approximately 70 billion dollars in food assistance. With such a commanding presence this program has the ability to impact food insecurity and the public’s health in a meaningful way.

This webinar will examine a few of the ways the SNAP program can be leveraged to improve the public’s health. First, the webinar will provide an overview of the SNAP program’s background and mechanics. Second, it will examine efforts to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables through SNAP point-of-sale incentives at farmers’ markets. Third, it will cover the SNAP drug felony ban, its effect on public health, and the varying approaches states have taken on this issue.


  • Jessica Shahin, Associate Administrator, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Hillary Payne, Student Attorney, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Public Health Law Clinic
  • Amy Crone, Executive Director, Maryland Farmers Market Association


  • Mathew Swinburne, J.D., Senior Staff Attorney, Network for Public Health Law — Eastern Region

Some attendees may qualify for CLE credit. ASLME is an approved provider of continuing legal education credits in several states ASLME will also apply for CLE credits in other states upon request.