212 Savage Hall
Ithaca, New York
Division of Nutritional Sciences
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs


My interests relate to the formulation, implementation and evaluation of nutrition policy, primarily in low and middle income countries.  I approach this work from a transdisciplinary, engaged and problem-oriented perspective, in which the key research questions and choice of methods emerges in the course of engaging with policy and program actors at global, national or sub-national levels.  This approach is guided by robust theoretical frameworks and ensures that the research is responsive to real-world concerns and more likely to be understood, valued and used by those responsible for policies and programs.

Recent and current research activities: Improved methods for nutrition policy analysis and development; mainstreaming nutrition in Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Vietnam and Bangladesh; policy commitment for addressing the dual-burden of malnutrition in Nigeria; development and testing of a micronutrient program assessment tool; evaluation and strengthening of the World Vision mobile clinic program in Haiti; exploring the potential for boundary-spanning agents to enhance policy implementation in complex adaptive stakeholder systems in Burkina Faso, Mali, Ethiopia and Uganda; a project to strengthen the theory and practice of nutrition policy advocacy in seven SE Asian countries as well as Ethiopia and Burkina Faso; and a three-country implementation science initiative to strengthen the implementation of large-scale anemia control programs and document the practice of implementation science in real-life settings.

Menon, P, Covic, N.M., Harrigan, P.B., Horton, S.E.,  Kazi, N.M., Lamstein, S, Neufeld, L, Oakley, E and Pelletier, D.L. 2014.  “Strengthening Implementation and Utilization of Nutrition Interventions Through Research: A Framework and Research Agenda.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1111/nyas.12447.

 Pham, J. and Pelletier, D.L.,  (2015). “Mode 2 Approaches to Population Nutrition Research in Select Nutrition and Public Health Journals.”  Global Health Science and Practice 3(2):287-299.

 Bliss, J., Njenga, M., Stoltzfus, R. and Pelletier, D. (2015).  “Stigma as a barrier to the treatment for child acute malnutrition in Marsabit County, Kenya.”  Maternal and Child Nutrition, DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12198.

 Tumilowicz, A., Pelletier, D.L., Pelto, G and J.P. Habicht.  (2015). “Combination of biological factors and care behaviors may lead to differences in the timing of growth stunting between indigenous Guatemalan girls and boys.”  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 102:1249–58.

 Shiffman, J, Quissell, K, Schmitz, HP, Pelletier, DL, Smith, SL, Berlan, D, Gneiting, U, Slyke, DV, Mergel, I, Rodriguez, M, and Walt, G.  (2015). “A framework on the emergence and effectiveness of global health networks.”  Health Policy and Planning, doi: 10.1093/heapol/czu046

 Shiffman, J, Quissell, K, Schmitz, HP., Pelletier, DL, Smith, SL, Berlan, D, Gneiting, U, Slyke, DV, Mergel, I, Rodriguez, M, and Walt, G.  (2016). “The emergence and effectiveness of global health networks: findings and future research.” Health Policy and Planning. (2016) 31 (suppl 1): i110-i123.

 Kambarami, RA.,Mbuya, M, Pelletier,D.,  Fundira, D., Tavengwa,N., Stoltzfus, RJ.  (2016). Factors associated with village health worker performance differ by task in a multi-tasked setting in rural Zimbabwe.  Global Health: Science and Practice. 4(2):238-50. PMID: 27353617

 Omotayo MO, Dickin KL, Pelletier DL, Martin SL, Kung’u JK, Stoltzfus RJ. (2017). Feasibility of Integrating Calcium and Iron-Folate Supplementation to Prevent Preeclampsia and Anemia in Pregnancy in Primary Healthcare Facilities in Kenya. Maternal and Child Nutrition 13(S1):e12437. DOI 10.1111/mcn.12437

 Michaud-Letourneau, I., and Pelletier, DL. (2017). “Multisectoral approaches for nutrition: A Q methodology study to explore the perspectives of national key leaders on the coordination challenges in Mozambique.” Food Policy 70:84-97.

Omotayo MO, Dickin KL, Pelletier DL, Cassano PA, Mwanga E, Kung’u JK, Stoltzfus RJ (2017). A Simplified Regimen Compared with WHO Guidelines Decreases Antenatal Calcium Supplement Intake for Prevention of Preeclampsia in a Cluster-Randomized Noninferiority Trial in Rural Kenya. Journal of Nutrition. 2017 Oct;147(10):1986-1991. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.251926.

Fox EL, Pelto GP, Rasmussen KM, Young SL, Rouzier V, Debrosse GM, Pape JW, Pelletier DL. (2017). Who knows what – An exploration of the infant feeding message environment and intra-cultural differences in message salience between health workers, HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected mothers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Maternal and Child Nutrition (in press): doi: 10.1111/mcn.12537

Phillips, E, Stoltzfus, R, Michaud, L, Fils Piere Gracia, L, and Pelletier, D. (2017). Do mobile clinics provide high-quality antenatal care? A comparison of care delivery, knowledge outcomes and perception of quality of care between fixed and mobile clinics in central Haiti.  BioMed Central Pregnancy and Childbirth doi 10.1186/s12884-017-1546-7.

Pelletier, D.L., Gervais, S., Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Sanou, D, H., Tumwine, J. (2017).  Boundary-Spanning Actors in Complex Adaptive Governance Systems: The Case of Multisectoral Nutrition.  International Journal of Health Planning and Management doi: 10.1002/hpm.2468.

Schuster RC, de Sousa OL, Reme AK, Vopelak CM, Pelletier DL, Johnson LM, Mbuya MN, Pinault D, Young SL. (2017). Performance-based incentives improve teamwork and empower health workers delivering prevention of vertical transmission of HIV services in rural Mozambique. International Journal of Health Planning and Management doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2017.137. 

Bliss, J. Stoltzfus, R. and Pelletier, D. (2018).  An emergency cash transfer program improves child growth and reduces acute malnutrition risk for children during a food crisis in Niger. Global Health Science and Practice (accepted).

Theobald, S, Brandes, N, Gyapong, M, El-Saharty, S, Proctor, E, Diaz, T, Wanji, S, Elloker, S, Elsey, H, Bharal, S, Pelletier and D, Peters, DH. (n.d.). Implementation Research and Delivery Science (IRDS): New Imperatives and Opportunities. The Lancet. (submitted)


Cornell University Graduate Field Active Membership: Nutrition; Epidemiology; Public Affairs; International Development

Professional Societies:

American Society for Nutrition

Member, Executive Council, Society for the Policy Sciences, 2001-03 and 2017.

Associate Editor, Food Security, 2014-present.

President, Society for Implementation Science in Nutrition, 2016-18.



My public engagement goals are to develop, promote and apply improved methods for policy analysis, development and implementation, primarily in low and middle income countries.  I maintain an active portfolio of public engagement activities for this purpose, including interactions with institutions such as the Scaling Up Nutrition Secretariat (Geneva, Swtizerland), the nutrition units in international organizations such as The World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, USAID, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, The International Food Policy Research Institute, the National Information Platforms for Nutrition and the governments of countries where i have research collaborations. In addition, i pursue these goals through my role as current President of the Society for Implementation Science in Nutrition.


There is a saying that "the world has problems and universities have departments." (aka disciplines).  When it comes to food, nutrition and health problems we must go beyond disciplinary knowledge, indeed beyond the walls of the university, to find possible solutions.  This perspective underlies my approach to knowledge, teaching and advising: problem-oriented, transdisciplinary and contextual.   This not only prepares students to be more effective professionals and problem-oriented researchers, it also is a more interesting and engaging way to teach and learn.

NS4600: Explorations in Global and Public Health

NS4800: Implementation and Impact in Global and Public Health (through Cornell in Washington)

PhD, 1984 - Pennsylvania State University, Anthropology
MA, 1979 - Pennsylvania State University, Anthropology
BA, 1977 -  University of Arizona, Anthropology
BS, 1977 -  University of Arizona, Biology

Curriculum Committee, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Director, Cornell in Washington Program

Core Faculty Member, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

Member, Iscol Advisory Committee, College of Human Ecology