As director of the Nutrition team, Shawn Baker leads the foundation’s efforts to ensure that women and children receive the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development.
Before joining the foundation in 2013, Shawn served as vice president and regional director for Africa for Helen Keller International. In that role, he oversaw an expansion from 4 to 13 country programs and an 80-fold increase in program funding. He shaped flagship programs including vitamin A supplementation through child health days (reaching more than 50 million children twice a year) and food fortification (reaching more than 130 million people). He led the development of strategic regional relationships, particularly with the 15-nation West African Health Organisation. Shawn also served as country director for Niger and Bangladesh.
During his 30-year career, Shawn has served as co-promoter of the Niger Health Information System, coordinator of the Tulane University Center for International Health and Development, and coordinator of the Famine Early Warning System in Southern Africa. Earlier, he was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Shawn received a master’s degree in public health from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, with concentrations in international health and nutritional epidemiology. He earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Miami. He is the author or co-author of more than 80 peer-reviewed publications, presentations at international conferences, and monographs. Shawn received the Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite du Niger from the president of the Republic of Niger and Niger’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He currently chairs the Technical Review Panel for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.