From Sanitarian to Deputy Health Commissioner: Palak Raval-Nelson’s Journey in Public Health and Environmental Justice

Department of Public Health Leadership

Palak Raval-Nelson has been working in the field of public health for over 26 years, starting her career as a public health sanitarian and advancing through various roles such as supervisor, manager, administrator, and director of Environmental Health Services. Currently, she serves as Deputy Health Commissioner for the Department of Public Health, where she oversees 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 teaches courses on environmental and occupational health at Drexel University’s School of Public Health and Temple University. She is adjunct faculty at both institutions and has presented papers at conferences such as NEHA, PPHA, and APHA. Her publications include articles in the National Journal of Environmental Health and she authored her first book 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 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 as an outstanding woman environmental professional for the Delaware Valley.

Deeply committed to working with vulnerable populations and advocating for marginalized communities, Raval-Nelson strives to ensure equity and environmental justice in her work. She believes that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare services regardless of their background or location

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