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Rafael Perez-Escamilla PhD

Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences); Director, Office of Public Health Practice; Director, Global Health Concentration

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Rafael Perez-Escamilla, PhD

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Rafael Perez-Escamilla
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Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., is Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health. His global public health nutrition and food security research program has led to improvements in breastfeeding programs, iron deficiency anemia among infants, household food security measurement and outcomes, and maternal, infant and young child community nutrition education/counselling programs. His health disparities research involves assessing the impact of community health workers at improving behavioral and metabolic outcomes among Latinos with type 2 diabetes. He has published over 200 research articles, 2 books, and numerous journal supplements, book chapters, and technical reports. He is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Food and Nutrition Board. He has been a senior advisor to maternal-child community nutrition programs as well as household food security measurement projects funded by WHO, PAHO, UNICEF, FAO, UNESCO, UNDP, CDC, USDA, USAID, The World Bank, the Gates Foundation, and the Governments of Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. 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.

Education & Training

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


  • Breastfeeding Friendly Country Index (BFCI) project
    Accra, Ghana; Mexico City, Mexico 2015
  • Evaluation of UNICEF's Infant & Young Child Counseling Package
    Kaduna, Nigeria 2014
  • Harmonization of household food security measurements in Latin America and Caribbean Region
    Brazil; Mexico (2007-2010)
    Senior leadership for Latin American & Caribbean household food security measurement (project ELCSA)
  • Nutrition, food security and human rights
    Rwanda (2004-2010)
    Keynote speaker for annual human rights youth leadership intergenerational forums
  • Brazilian household food security measurement project
    Brazil (2003-2010)
    Senior advisor to Brazilian government national household food security measurement project (EBIA initiative)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
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