Palak Raval-Nelson

Honorary Lecturer
Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Dr. Palak Raval-Nelson is deputy health commissioner for Philadelphia's Department of Public Health. She has worked for the department since 1996 when she began her career as a public health sanitarian. Since then, she has served as a supervisor, manager, administrator, and most recently as director of Environmental Health Services. As deputy health commissioner, Dr. Raval-Nelson has oversight of Environmental Health Services, Air Management Services, Public Health Laboratory, and the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office. Dr. Raval-Nelson also serves as adjunct faculty at Drexel University’s School of Public Health and Temple University's College of Public Health. She teaches environmental and occupational health, as well as vulnerable populations and the environment. 

Dr. Raval-Nelson is a graduate of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute. She is a member of the Delta Omega National Public Health Honor Society. In 2006, she was recognized by the Society of Women Environmental Professionals as an outstanding woman environmental professional for the Delaware Valley. She has presented many papers at NEHA, PPHA and APHA, and has had several publications in the National Journal of Environmental Health. In 2008, she published her first book, Breast Cancer Politics: An Evaluation of the Current Funding Policies.

Dr. Raval-Nelson is deeply committed to working with vulnerable populations and being a voice for marginalized communities to ensure equity and environmental justice. She has been a civil servant for 26 years and believes in helping people.


  • PhD, Environmental Health and Policy, Drexel University
  • MPH (with distinguished Hiega Society Award), MCP Hahnemann University
  • BS, Biology, Temple University