Breaking Barriers: Palak Raval-Nelson’s Journey from Civil Servant to Trailblazer in Public Health Policy and Advocacy

Department of Public Health Leadership

Palak Raval-Nelson is an accomplished public health professional with over 26 years of experience as a civil servant. She began her career in the field as a public health sanitarian and has since held various positions within the Department of Public Health, including supervisor, manager, administrator, and director of Environmental Health Services. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Health Commissioner for the Department of Public Health, where she oversees several key areas such as Environmental Health Services, Air Management Services, Public Health Laboratory, and the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office.

In addition to her work at the Department of Public Health, Raval-Nelson also serves as adjunct faculty at Drexel University’s School of Public Health and Temple University. She teaches courses on environmental and occupational health, vulnerable populations and the environment. Raval-Nelson is also an accomplished author and has published numerous papers on environmental health policy in prestigious journals such as the National Journal of Environmental Health. In 2008, she authored her first book “Breast Cancer Politics: An Evaluation of Current Funding Policies.”

Raval-Nelson holds a B.S in Biology from Temple University, an MPH from MCP Hahnemann University (where she graduated with the distinguished Hiega Society Award), and a Ph.D in environmental health and policy from Drexel University. She is a member of the Delta Omega National Public Health Honor Society and was recognized by the Society of Women Environmental Professionals in 2006 for her outstanding work as a woman environmental professional for the Delaware Valley.

Throughout her career, Raval-Nelson has been deeply committed to working with vulnerable populations and advocating for marginalized communities. She believes that equity and environmental justice are crucial elements in ensuring positive public health outcomes. With her wealth of experience and expertise in public health policy and practice, Raval-Nelson continues to make a significant impact on public health today.

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