Improvement

NACCHO’s Retail Program Standards Mentorship Program: A 10-Year Retrospective Review

Apr 10, 2023 | Anu Varma, Kellie Hall, MSOD

From 2011–2021, NACCHO’s Retail Food Program Standards (RPS) Mentorship Program encouraged state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) retail food regulatory programs to conform to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS), a standardized framework created to reinforce proper sanitation and reduce factors associated with the occurrence of foodborne diseases. Our mentorship program provided peer-to-peer assistance and intensive technical support to help enforce the standards efficiently and effectively. Experienced SLTT retail food regulatory programs advised participating agencies on how to get started and best apply the VNRFRPS to improve their food protection programs. In 2022, NACCHO conducted a retrospective review to assess the effectiveness of the program in achieving these goals over the past decade.

Map image of mentees

Figure: Map of the US, highlighted counties have a SLTT retail food regulatory program with at least one staff member that participated in the program as a mentee.

Do you run an SLTT retail food regulatory program?

Then, you might be interested in the findings presented in our fact sheet. Here’s a taste:

  1. Mentees were able to cultivate an indispensable support system of peers—within their cohorts, as well as within the network of program participants built over a decade—that helped improve their accountability, confidence, and achievement of the Standards.
  2. Mentees grew in their confidence with the VNRFRPS framework (and especially the conformance process), while being inspired to innovate in the way they were doing the work.
  3. Mentees used the momentum from the RPS Mentorship Program to obtain funding to sustain their retail food regulatory program for future years.

What’s Next for the Mentorship Program?

Future iterations of the RPS Mentorship Program are being offered to SLTT agencies under the new Retail Flexible Funding Model (RFFM) from the National Environmental Health Association and the FDA. Calendar Year 2024 applications are being accepted until 7:59 PM ET on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. Go to neha.org/retail-grants for more information.

Thank you to Daniel Pagán, MA, MPH and Rashel Rabinovich, MSPH for conducting the retrospective review; Krishna Patel, PhD for supporting the quantitative analysis; and Nicholas Adams, Tiara Smith, Noah Papagni, and Chelsea Gridley-Smith, PhD for managing the RPS Mentorship Program.


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About Anu Varma

Pronouns: She/Her

Anupama Varma is a Communications Specialist for Environmental Health at NACCHO.

More posts by Anu Varma

About Kellie Hall, MSOD

More posts by Kellie Hall, MSOD

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