Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Erika Ziller, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Angela Daley, Ph.D.


food insecurity, Medicaid, Affordable Health Care Act, ACA, Muskie School of Public Service, USM Aging Initiative, Health and Wellness, Policy


Many Americans face difficult financial decisions, often regarding the allocation of limited resources. Household resources may be split among the costs of food, clothing, housing, transportation, childcare, utilities, and health care. For some households, this allocation may present a challenge to purchasing sufficient food, leading to food insecurity. Defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food” (2017), food insecurity may decrease when other financial-related aspects of life improve. An improvement in access to affordable health care, as seen through the recent Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), may lead to a reduction in food insecurity.