Department of Public Health Leadership

Rising Star in Public Health: Palak Raval-Nelson’s Journey from Sanitarian to Deputy Health Commissioner

Palak Raval-Nelson has been the Deputy Health Commissioner for the Department of Public Health since 1996. She started her career in public health as a sanitarian and has since advanced to various roles, including supervisor, manager, administrator, and director of Environmental Health Services. In her current position, she oversees several important departments such as Environmental Health Services, Air Management Services, Public Health Laboratory, and the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office.

Apart from her work at the Department of Public Health, Raval-Nelson is also an adjunct faculty member at Drexel University’s School of Public Health and Temple University. She teaches courses on environmental and occupational health as well as vulnerable populations and the environment. Raval-Nelson has presented papers at NEHA, PPHA, and APHA conferences and has publications in the National Journal of Environmental Health. She even authored her first book titled “Breast Cancer Politics: An Evaluation of Current Funding Policies” in 2008.

Raval-Nelson holds a B.S. in Biology from Temple University, an M.P.H from MCP Hahnemann University (where she graduated with distinction), 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 as an outstanding woman environmental professional for the Delaware Valley.

Raval-Nelson is deeply committed to working with vulnerable populations and advocating for marginalized communities while ensuring equity and environmental justice in all aspects of her work. With over 26 years of experience as a civil servant, she believes that everyone deserves access to quality public health services that make a positive impact on their lives.

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