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Dr. Palak Raval-Nelson, Philadelphia's new Deputy Health Commissioner. Photo Courtesy of the PA Health Department.
Dr. Palak Raval-Nelson, Philadelphia's new Deputy Health Commissioner. Photo Courtesy of the PA Health Department.

Dr. Palak Raval-Nelson named Philadelphia Deputy Health Commissioner

In the newly created role, she will oversee environmental health, air management, public health and many other departments.

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The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced today that Dr. Palak Raval-Nelson has been promoted to the position of Deputy Health Commissioner.

In the newly created role, she will oversee the divisions of Environmental Health Services, Air Management Services, the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office, and the Public Health Lab.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole noted being very grateful to have someone with her level of expertise in this role.

“Dr. Raval-Nelson’s commitment to health equity and public health has been an asset in Environmental Health Services, and I am excited to see her work towards environmental justice and equity,” said Dr. Bettigole in a statement.

Dr. Raval-Nelson has worked for the Health Department since 1996, beginning her tenure working as a Sanitarian. In the years since, she has been promoted to Sanitarian Specialist, Sanitarian Supervisor, Environmental Health Program Manager, Environmental Health Program Administrator, and Environmental Health Services Director, and now Deputy Health Commissioner.

“As an immigrant who came to the United States not knowing how to speak English, I am so humbled to have been promoted to this position,” said Dr. Palak Raval-Nelson in a statement. “Being able to work my way up through six different positions in the Health Department has given me the ability to understand how decisions made at the executive level can affect not only our staff, but also the communities in which they work and live.”

A resident of Eastwick, the new Deputy Health Commissioner knows the struggles many Philadelphia communities are struggling with as it pertains to environmental justice. 

“It’s my hope that being in this position will allow me to create linkages within the Health Department, the City, and in vulnerable communities throughout Philadelphia to help us work towards environmental justice and equity,” she added. 

During her time in her previous role, Dr. Raval-Nelson oversaw an expansion of the division, as it went from 60 positions and three program areas, to 120 positions and five program areas. 

In addition to her role with the Health Department, the new Deputy Health Commissioner also serves as adjunct faculty at Drexel University’s School of Public Health and Temple University.

Dr. Raval-Nelson earned her bachelor degree in biology from Temple University, before earning her master’s degree in public health from Hahnemann University, where she graduated with the distinguished Hiega Society Award. She then earned her doctorate in environmental health and policy from Drexel University.

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