The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is administered by more than 90 state agencies at health clinics in each state. FNS sponsors three separate State Agency Model (SAM) management information systems supporting more than 30 states and serving more than 1,000,000 participants. SPIRIT is the largest of the SAM systems with over 412,000 participants across 20 states and Indian Tribal Organizations


The FNS’s objective was to save money by creating economies of scale. However, the effort was halted due to a moratorium on new SAM systems. FNS engaged Suntiva to resolve the moratorium, corresponding code quality and critical algorithm failure issues for clinic healthcare beneficiary participants. Challenges included no centralized user defined requirements, no defined program management approach for the multiple stakeholders, an immediate need to coordinate 17 different purchasing agencies and complex requirements for compliance with both State and Federal contracting policies.

Suntiva Solution

Suntiva developed a functioning User Group with the appropriate IT governance processes to manage the SAM, including a User Group charter, change control process, communications strategy and strategic plan for moving the organization forward. We performed code assessments, independent verification and validation (IV&V) and a healthcare systems study to validate algorithms, identify security holes and improve system performance. As a result, Suntiva was also engaged to facilitate the design and implementation of a consistent program governance model, create and implement health communications plans, and create and deploy the WIC Technology Partners website digitizing administrative processes. Suntiva’s solutions and services included IT transformation governance and program management, data analytics, managed IT services support and legacy systems modernization, software architecture and code assessment, adoption management and information security. Suntiva also provided federal acquisition management and planning services.


As a result of Suntiva’s solutions and services, USDA lifted the moratorium on new state adoption of SAM systems achieving the goals laid out by OMB and FNS. Suntiva implemented IT governance, gained user adoption support, improved program controls and data management, provided a Service Level Management framework and streamlined end-to-end acquisitions processes. Our work resulted in the first cooperative contract demonstrating alignment with Federal and State regulations, Indian Tribal Organizations and state agency requirements. The website work resulted in increased competition for acquisitions and a 56% increase in subscribers to the site.

Case Study Download

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Special
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children
(WIC) full case study.