Policy Associate, Healthy Retail


The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the nation’s leading, independent authority on food and nutrition, seeks a Policy Associate to advocate for state and local policies to improve healthy food access through the food retail environment. This work will engage and support historically under-resourced communities that experience health disparities. 

The Policy Associate will support CSPI's broader healthy retail work. We are mobilizing advocates, coalition partners, and communities to support state and local policies and corporate campaigns to make healthy choices easier at food retailers. We urge supermarkets and other large food retail stores to shift the mix of products that they promote and make available to consumers. Through research and pilot programs, we aim to create evidence-based campaigns that will be both beneficial to the health of consumers and economically sustainable for retailers. We advocate for policy and programmatic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that create a healthier food environment. And we are leading efforts to have federal and state agencies end trade practices that stifle fair competition among food manufacturers and that reinforce the marketing of unhealthy food by retailers. 

The Policy Associate position reports to the Senior Policy Scientist. The Policy Associate will operate out of CSPI’s Washington, DC office or remotely.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead advocacy for state and local policies that support healthy food retail environments through bill drafting, policy tracking, and providing technical assistance to advocates.
  • Identify policy priorities that create a healthier food retail environment and increase access to healthy retail, especially for socially and economically marginalized communities
  • Manage grants to organizations by identifying and researching potential grantees, requesting and reviewing proposals, monitoring metrics and budgets, and providing advice and technical assistance to our external partners.
  • Lead a team of cross-organizational staff to develop and implement healthy retail campaigns, including outreach and capacity building, communications, scientific, legal, and other staff.
  • Build new and strengthen existing relationships with community-based organizations, academics, policymakers, and advocates to expand the base of support for relevant food policy campaigns at the national, state, and local level.
  • Conduct research regarding nutrition policies and practices; support healthy retail pilots and track industry practices.
  • Develop talking points, fact sheets, case studies, reports, letters, blogs, social media posts, petitions, and other policy resources.     
  • Represent CSPI in coalitions, meetings, events, briefings, webinars, and calls.
  • Manage contractors, interns, and other project staff where applicable.
  • Carry out other departmental activities as needed.


  • Advanced degree (e.g., MPH, MPP, RDN, JD) and at least three years of programmatic or public policy experience; or bachelor's degree and at least five years of public policy or other relevant experience.
  • Documented success in project management, including creating systems for achieving goals, effectively completing and allocating tasks towards those goals, juggling and prioritizing competing demands, and meeting project deadlines.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in taking a concept from idea to implementation with the ability to come up with insightful, pragmatic, equitable, and sustainable ways to tackle challenges and produce positive change.
  • Exceptional research and writing skills with ability to read, analyze, interpret and translate complex research, policy, and scientific documents for a public audience.
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to speak effectively and persuasively with  other organizations, policymakers, advocates, and private sector decision makers.
  • Experience working in and alongside food security, food justice, social justice, BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and other diverse communities.
  • Experience identifying community-level barriers to health and working collaboratively with stakeholders to mitigate them.
  • Attentive and empathetic leader that listens closely to understand needs or concerns and takes steps based on that input, within the organization and in the communities we serve.
  • Commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the intersection of public health and social justice and the ability to promote it throughout the work and in the workplace.
  • Proficiency with MS Office applications. Familiarity with social media and other web-based advocacy tools.

About CSPI

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, America’s food and health watchdog, is one of the nation’s leading public health advocacy organizations with a 50-year record of fighting for science in the public interest. We’ve led efforts to win passage of government policies and corporate practices that promote healthy diets, prevent deceptive marketing practices, and ensure that science is used to promote the public good. National policy successes include the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act; Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act; Food Safety Modernization Act; and Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.

CSPI on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

CSPI is committed to including and valuing diverse voices and fostering a culture that ensures all staff feel a sense of belonging and are encouraged to be their best selves. In that spirit, each of us is committed to putting in constant work to live up to our organization’s core values:

  • We are inclusive. We seek to foster an environment where all staff feel a sense of belonging and are affirmed. We are not looking for everyone to think and look the same. We actively welcome and value staff with different experiences, backgrounds, attributes, abilities, and perspectives.
  • We are open. We are honest and direct in how we communicate with each other in order to build trust and integrity within our organization.
  • We are accountable. We acknowledge and assume responsibility for our actions.
  • We are kind. We communicate and treat one another in a respectful, generous, considerate, and compassionate way.
  • We are collaborative. We work together for the common good and shared success.


The salary range is $60,000 to $65,000, based on experience. This is a two-year grant funded position with the potential to extend, contingent upon funding availability. CSPI offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes: 3 weeks of annual vacation leave; additional paid holiday leave between December 24 and January 1; 8 weeks of paid parental leave; excellent medical and dental insurance with CSPI paying a significant portion of employee and dependent premiums; and a three percent employer match contribution to the retirement plan after one year of service.

To Apply

Please use CSPI's Paylocity Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to apply for the Policy Associate position. You are required to submit a resume and cover letter indicating relevant experience and interest. The application deadline is January 24, 2022.

Apply for Policy Associate, Healthy Retail

CSPI is committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspective, and skills and encourage people of diverse ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, disabilities, religions, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, work, and life experiences to apply.