Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Professor Emerita at the University of Pennsylvania and, as of August 2015, Research Professor in Community Health and Prevention at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health. During her 15 tenure at Penn, Dr. Kumanyika was Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, with a secondary appointment in Pediatrics, and Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the Perelman School of Medicine. From 2002 to 2007, she was also the founding director of Penn’s Master of Public Health Program, a unique, university-wide program that involves participation of faculty from nearly all of Penn’s 12 schools in program governance or teaching, and awards many joint degrees with other Penn graduate programs. Dr. Kumanyika continues her affiliation with Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives as well as the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics.
Dr. Kumanyika’s interdisciplinary background integrates psychology (BA, Syracuse University), social work (MS, Columbia), human nutrition (PhD, Cornell University) and public health/epidemiology (MPH, Johns Hopkins). Her research over more than three decades has focused on the primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases related to nutrition and obesity, with a particular focus on improving the health profiles of black Americans in these areas. At Drexel, she continues her leadership of the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), which she founded in 2002 and continues to chair. AACORN is a national affinity group and collaboration platform for academic and community-based researchers and research partners with a commitment to addressing nutrition, physical activity, and weight issues in black communities. Dr. Kumanyika has authored or coauthored more than 300 research articles and other publications related primarily to obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases or to health disparities and health equity more broadly; she has also lectured widely on these topics within the US and abroad.
Dr. Kumanyika is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM)), has served on numerous IOM study committees, and chaired the IOM standing committee on obesity prevention from 2008 to 2013. She has extensive experience in national and international public health and nutrition policy activities. For example, she was Vice-Chair of the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020, is Immediate Past President of the American Public Health Association, and is a member of the CDC Task Force on Community Preventive Services. In the international sphere, Dr. Kumanyika co-chairs the Policy and Prevention Section of the World Obesity Federation, is a nutrition advisor to the World Health Organization, the World Cancer Research Fund, and the Access to Nutrition Foundation, and is a member of The Lancet Commission on Obesity.