26 Years and Counting: Palak Raval-Nelson’s Dedication to Public Health and Equity

Department of Public Health Leadership

Palak Raval-Nelson is the Deputy Health Commissioner for the Department of Public Health and has been working in this field since 1996. Her career began as a public health sanitarian and she has since held various roles such as supervisor, manager, administrator, and director of Environmental Health Services. In her current position, Raval-Nelson oversees Environmental Health Services, Air Management Services, Public Health Laboratory, and the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office.

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, 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 authored her first book in 2008 called “Breast Cancer Politics: An Evaluation of the Current Funding Policies.” In addition to her work at the Department of Public Health, Raval-Nelson graduated from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute.

Raval-Nelson holds a B.S. in Biology from Temple University, an M.P.H from MCP Hahnemann University (where she was awarded 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.

As someone who is deeply committed to working with vulnerable populations and advocating for marginalized communities, Raval-Nelson strives to ensure equity and environmental justice in her work. With over 26 years of experience as a civil servant, she believes that it’s important to help people make a positive impact on public health through their work at

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