Haynes-Maslow, L.; Osborne, I.; Jilcott Pitts, S.B.
To better understand the barriers to implementing policy; systems; and environmental (PSE) change initiatives within Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) programming in U.S. rural communities; as well as strategies to overcome these barriers, this study identifies: (1) the types of nutrition-related PSE SNAP-Ed programming currently being implemented in rural communities; (2) barriers to implementing PSE in rural communities; and (3) common best practices and innovative solutions to overcoming SNAP-Ed PSE implementation barriers. This mixed-methods study included online surveys and interviews across fifteen states. Participants were eligible if they: (1) were SNAP-Ed staff that were intimately aware of facilitators and barriers to implementing programs, (2) implemented at least 50% of their programming in rural communities, and (3) worked in their role for at least 12 months. Sixty-five staff completed the online survey and 27 participated in interviews. Barriers to PSE included obtaining community buy-in, the need for relationship building, and PSE education. Facilitators included finding community champions; identifying early “wins” so that community members could easily see PSE benefits. Partnerships between SNAP-Ed programs and non-SNAP-Ed organizations are essential to implementing PSE. SNAP-Ed staff should get buy-in from local leaders before implementing PSE. Technical assistance for rural SNAP-Ed programs would be helpful in promoting PSE. © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.