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Brownell Leaving Yale Rudd for Duke University


Influential food policy expert Kelly Brownell is leaving the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity to become the next dean of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Brownell will arrive at Duke on July 1, the university announced on its website. He will oversee the Sanford School’s programs on child and family policy, national security, international development and other issues facing society, according to the university.

"I am very excited about the opportunity at Duke and the potential to take what I’ve learned from obesity policy and apply it [to] other public policy fields. Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy deals with many areas, including climate change, poverty, and international development," Brownell tells the Inside Track. "It will be an honor for me to help the school create even more presence in these areas."

Brownell’s impending arrival is a big coup for Duke. Brownell is considered to be among the nation’s top experts on food policy and obesity issues — so much so that Time Magazine named him among the world’s most influential people in 2006.

Along with being director of the Rudd Center, Brownell serves as a professor of epidemiology and public health at the university.  He’s also advised countless government officials on food policy issues (including the White House) and has appeared on a number of media outlets, including the 2012 HBO documentary series Weight of the Nation. partnered with Brownell and his Yale Rudd colleague Jennifer Harris on an advocacy campaign in 2012 asking major cereal companies to market only their healthiest products to children. Nearly 17,000 people took part in the campaign, which was inspired by Yale Rudd’s Cereal FACTS report.

“Kelly has an extraordinary record as a researcher while also being deeply committed to translating his findings into meaningful public policy to improve the lives of people,” Duke Provost Peter Lange said on the school’s website. “He understands the deeply interdisciplinary nature of that effort and recognizes how Sanford can be positioned to expand its impact. Kelly’s combination of achievement, ambition for the school and great good nature promise a bright future.”