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Rafael Perez-Escamilla, PhD

Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences); Director, Office of Public Health Practice; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health; Director, YSPH Global Health Concentration



Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., is Professor of Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health. He is the PI of the Yale-Griffin CDC Prevention Research Center (PRC). His global public health nutrition and food security research program has contributed to improvements in breastfeeding and other maternal, infant and young child nutrition outcomes, iron deficiency anemia among infants, household food security, and early child development. His health disparities research involves assessing the impact of community health workers at improving behavioral and metabolic outcomes in vulnerable communities. He has published over 280 research articles, 3 books/monographs, and numerous journal supplements, book chapters, and technical reports. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (elected in 2019) and served in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Food and Nutrition Board from 2012-18. He has been a senior advisor to maternal-child community nutrition programs as well as household food security measurement projects funded by the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the U.S. Agency for International Development, The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH),The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Governments in Latin America & Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe . He obtained his BS in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and his MS in Food Science and his PhD in Nutrition from the University of California at Davis. His postdoctoral training at UC Davis focused on the link between nutrition and early childhood development.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral fellow
    UC Davis (1994)
  • PhD
    University of California at Davis (1991)
  • MS
    University of California at Davis (1985)
  • BS
    Universidad Iberoamericana, Chemical Engineering (1982)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Member of the National Academy of MedicineU.S. National Academy of Medicine2019
Doctor Honoris CausaUniversidad de Guadalajara, Mexico2016
Patricia Martens Award for Excellence in Breastfeeding ResearchInternational Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA)2015
2010 & 2015 Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory CommitteeAppointed by US Secretaries of Agriculture and Health2008

Professional Service

The LancetEarly Child Development Lancet Series- Steering Committee2013 - Present
IOMFood and Nutrition Board2013 - Present
American Society for Nutrition Global Nutrition CouncilPast-President2010 - 2012
American Society for Nutrition Minority Affairs CommitteeMinority Affairs Committee2010 - 2011
SustiNetHealth Disparities & Equity Advisory Committee2010
International Society for Research in Human Milk and LactationPresident2009 - 2016
USDA & DHHS2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee2008 - 2010
Maternal and Child Nutrition (Co-Editor-In-Chief since January 2016), Global Food Security (since 2012), Journal of Nutrition (2002-2007) Journal Human Lactation (1999-date) Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition (2006-date)Editorial boards1999 - 2016
peer reviewed journalsActa Paediatrica Scandinavica Am J Clin Nutr American Journal Obstetrics & Gynecology American Journal of Public Health, Am J Prev Med British Journal Nutrition Bull World Health Organization Ethnicity & Disease Eur J Clin Nutr Food & Nutrition Bulletin, Food & Foodways Human Organization International Breastfeeding Journal, J Am Diet Assoc J Amer Med Women Assoc Journal Developmental Psychobiology J Epi Community Health J Health Population and Nutrition J Human Lactation J Nutr J Nutr Education and Behavior J of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved J Pediatrics J Pediatric Gastroenterology Nutrition Lancet Maternal Child Nutrition Mexican J Public Health Mexican Studies Nutrition Reviews Panamerican J Public Health Pediatrics Psychological Review Public Health Nutrition Soc Sci Med Studies in Family Planning1990 - 2010

Departments & Organizations