Jessica Fanzo, PhD, is a Professor of Climate and Director of the Food for Humanity Initiative at the Columbia Climate School. Fanzo joined the Climate School from Johns Hopkins University, where she was the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics and the Director of Hopkins’ Global Food Policy and Ethics Program. She has also held positions at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN), the UN World Food Programme, Bioversity International, the Earth Institute, the Millennium Development Goal Centre at the World Agroforestry Center in Kenya, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. She has held several positions at Columbia over the last two decades: She worked at Columbia’s Earth Institute, where she served as the Director of Nutrition Policy at the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, as well as the Nutrition Director at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development. She has also held roles at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the School of International and Public Affairs.
She has participated in various collective endeavors, including the Food Systems Economic Commission, the Global Panel of Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition Foresight 2.0 report, the Lancet Commission on Anaemia, and the EAT-Lancet Commissions 1 and now 2. She was also the Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report and Team Leader for the UN High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition. She currently leads the development of the Food Systems Dashboard and the Food Systems Countdown to 2030 Initiative in collaboration with the Global Alliance of Improved Nutrition.
With twenty years of research and program experience working in sub-Saharan Africa and South and East Asia, Fanzo’s research focuses on the transdisciplinary field of food systems and the linkages between agriculture, health, and the environment in resource-constrained, climate-impacted settings. She studies food system dynamics and interactions and their implications on the diversity and quality of diets, nutrition and health outcomes, environmental sustainability, and climate adaptation. She collaborates with governments to regain food security in post-conflict regions through evidence-based food policy and governance. She was the first laureate of the Carasso Foundation’s Sustainable Diets Prize in 2012 for her research on sustainable food and diets for long-term human health.
Fanzo has worked as an advisor for various organizations and governments, including DFAT, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), PATH, the Scaling Up Nutrition movement (SUN), the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), USAID, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Fanzo has a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of Arizona and completed a Stephen I. Morse postdoctoral fellowship in Immunology in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.