PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announces the appointment of Dr. Megan Todd as their new Chief Epidemiologist. Dr. Todd is a demographer and social epidemiologist who most recently served as the Director of the Data Lab for the Health Department’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention.
Dr. Todd’s work focuses on population health, health policy, and translating scientific findings for policy and general audiences. She strives to better understand the biological, social, and economic factors that influence health and mortality, with the ultimate goal of eliminating racial and other sociodemographic disparities in health in Philadelphia. She holds a PhD in Demography and Public Affairs from Princeton University and an AB in economics from Harvard University.
Prior to her current role, Dr. Todd led the CDIP Data Lab in the creation of PhilaStats, an innovative dashboard displaying trends in population, mortality and natality in Philadelphia. PhilaStats presents vital statistics in social context, highlighting the disparities by race/ethnicity, poverty status, and education that exist in our city. With other Health Department collaborators, she also shifted the department’s annual report on lead poisoning to a public dashboardthat, for the first time, described disparities by race/ethnicity in lead poisoning and screening.
Dr. Todd states that, “In prior roles, I have worked to understand how social disadvantage gets under the skin to cause health disadvantage. I am excited to take on the new challenges of the Chief Epidemiologist position and to build on the Health Department’s efforts to communicate public health data in a clear, accessible, and interactive way.” She believes, “understanding these data is essential to the Health Department’s efforts to improve health and reduce disparities across the city.”
Health Commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole says, “I am grateful to have Dr. Todd leading our epidemiological work, which is so critical to taking a data-driven approach to public health in Philadelphia. Her collaborative approach, focus on the accessibility of our data to policy makers, community members, and academics, and the work she has done to mentor and support our epidemiologists will help to build this crucial area of our work for the future.”