CAFSHC banner


CAFSHC was established in 2020 and recognized by the State University System of Florida in 2021. CAFSHC faculty, students, and community partners have conducted 10 funded studies and program evaluations on topics ranging from food as medicine programs to food insecurity and the microbiome. CAFSHC has produced 23 publications (articles and technical reports), nice presentations (e.g., professional associations, community organizations) and has been featured in news stories and social media (e.g., ABC Action News, Tampa). To date, 25 graduate and undergraduate students have been involved in CAFSHC research and program evaluations. Eighteen (72%) of the students have been paid research assistants.

Our Mission

Our mission is to transform the conversation about food insecurity using research, education, and transformational programs to facilitate social equity that results in healthier communities in Tampa Bay and beyond. 

Our Vision

CAFSHC partners with Feeding Tampa Bay and works closely with community organizations to eliminate food insecurity and improve health through research and program development and evaluation. We seek to develop a diverse network of national and international scholars, students, and key stakeholders who are passionate about eliminating food insecurity, building social equity, and improving community health and wellbeing. 

Our Goals

  • Our strategic plan focuses on conducting research on the relationship between food insecurity and health and on assisting community organizations with program development and evaluation. 


  • We seek to educate the public about the diverse face of food insecurity and its impact on health and well-being through talks, symposia, workshops, and exhibits 


  • We seek to develop action plans and policy statements for the deployment of programs and activities that connect communities in an effort to eliminate food insecurity 


  • We seek to train students in research so they can become the next generation of leaders to address food insecurity. 


  • We seek to collaborate with our USF colleagues (faculty, students, and staff) on research, program development, and evaluation. 

Our Objectives

  • Conduct comprehensive baseline assessments of the food insecurity and food sovereignty in Tampa Bay in order to inform the design and implementation of short- and long-term multi-sectorial community initiatives and policy changes that result in the elimination of food insecurity and improved community health.

  • Conduct follow-up assessments, sub-studies, and evaluations in order to measure the efficacy of community activities, programs, and policies aimed at eliminating food insecurity and improving community health.

  • Secure external funding to conduct research in order to gain a better understanding of the inter-related factors responsible for food insecurity and community health.

  • Disseminate research findings through scholarly presentations and publications, technical reports, a dedicated website, popular and social media, and public forums.

  • Educate the public and stake-holders, through media campaigns, community forums, symposia and conferences, a dedicated website, and trainings and workshops about the diverse face of food insecurity and its downstream effects on community health.

  • Provide trainings to agencies and institutions that provide food assistance, food and nutrition education, and local food production education targeting food insecure communities, households, and individuals.

  • Provide educational and research training and opportunities to faculty, students, and community stakeholders.

  • Establish The Journal for Advancement of Food Security and Healthy Communities at the University of South Florida

  • Develop new courses for undergraduate and graduate students that address food security, food sovereignty, and healthy communities through university-public-private engagement.

  • Organize a biennial Forum that addresses current research, programming and activities, policies, and best practices regarding food (in)/security and healthy communities.

Contributing to USF’s Mission and Strategic Plan

CAFSHC contributes to the USF mission though it basic and translational research with community partners (Feeding Tampa Bay, Tampa Family Health Centers) in Tampa Bay and nationally (e.g., Feeding America). Further, it provides research opportunities to diverse undergraduate and graduate students as well as facilitating faculty collaborations across its colleges (CAS, COPH, BCS, Education, Medicine). CAFSHC’s focus on food security and health addresses two of USF’s Strategic Areas of Focus: Global and National Security and Health, Society, and Biomedical Science.