Principal, Food & Regenerative Agriculture


As the Principal for Food and Regenerative Agriculture on the US team, I collaboratively lead Forum’s food and agricultural systems work, with a focus on ensuring that Forum is enabling and enacting equitable, transformative change - not only in the US, but across our global food system. I work across several US-based projects and am looking forward to sharing knowledge and insights with other Forum teams across the world. 

I come to this role as a multidisciplinary leader with in-depth technical and research expertise. My work -- spanning academia, government, and consulting -- broadly examines the relationship between environmental degradation and human health. 

I have spent over a decade in evidence-based policymaking on the local, state, national and international scale. Throughout my most recent tenure establishing and growing an entirely new municipal department in local government, I have prioritized institutionalizing equitable, thoughtful processes (e.g. people-driven, community-led, grassroots policymaking) rather than relying on top-down, prescriptive, or reactive responses to our complex and unjust social, environmental, and economic systems. I seek to manifest community visions of a sustainable and just food system by dismantling municipal and systemic barriers, directly allocating resources, shifting power, and authentically collaborating with (disinvested) community members as well as local, state, regional, federal, and international actors.

I’m excited to work in much the same way at Forum - by focusing on relationship-building and equitable processes so that we can collectively reach our shared goals and realize our vision for a just and regenerative food system.

Prior to these roles, I was recruited to serve as the Senior Advisor to Dr. Ernesto Zedillo, the former President of Mexico and the Chair of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, where I focused on multilateralism, diplomacy, and local-to-global policies at the intersection of health, environment, and economics. Among my duties supporting the Chair, I provided technical guidance for convenings that brought together grassroots activists, scientists, economists, former Prime Ministers and Presidents, and CEOs of multinational companies, among others. 

Internationally, I have worked in Haiti, India, Nepal, and Indonesia to address the impacts of global environmental change at the intersection of health and agricultural systems. I remain an active leader and frequent invited speaker/participant in international processes that relate to multilevel governance and grassroots policymaking in the realms of food, agriculture, and planetary health.

I hold a B.S. in Cellular Biology from the University of Georgia, pursued an MD and PhD in systems neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and received a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from the Yale School of the Environment.

Dream project

My dream project would be to help institutionalize truly community-rooted, people-driven, trauma-informed, intentional policymaking processes at all levels of government.

What floats my boat outside work

I love learning about different culinary traditions and foodways, learning how to play musical instruments (specifically percussion) and about their related musical traditions (ethnomusicology), the joy of both watching and creating the art of animation (stop motion is a favorite!), dabbling in voice acting, growing culturally-important food and flowers, learning languages, and attempting to sew garments.

And most importantly, I adore and cherish my furry family members -- a Great Pyrenees - Pitbull mix pup, my senior tabby cat, and my recent foster fail of two adorable black cats.

Contact Latha