Renata Schiavo, PhD

  • Senior Lecturer, Sociomedical Sciences
Profile Headshot


A passionate advocate for health equity and a committed voice on the importance of addressing and removing barriers that prevent people from leading healthy and productive lives, Renata Schiavo, PhD, MA, CCL is a Senior Lecturer at the Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences. Over the last 25 years, Dr. Schiavo has worked at the intersection of public health, global health, health communication/social and behavioral change communication, healthcare, international development, and social innovation in the United States, and several countries in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Eastern Asia. At Mailman she has been teaching courses on Society, Health Equity and Health Communication; Health Communication; Global Trends in Child Health and Development Programs; and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). Dr. Schiavo is a leading proponent of a community-driven and interdisciplinary approach to address health, equity, and human rights issues and to provide local communities with ownership of the design, implementation, and evaluation of local interventions, communication strategies, and research efforts. Across projects, she has worked with many communities, including communities of color and immigrant communities in the United States, and people living in poverty, refugees, and patients from underserved areas in global settings. Dr. Schiavo has experience in 20+ health and development areas, including health equity/health inequities; maternal, newborn, infant, and child health; emerging disease outbreaks and epidemics; health systems strengthening; community health; vaccine hesitancy; misinformation in the era of social media; building community trust; chronic malnutrition; cultural humility; CME/CE programs; population health; program evaluation; child life/early childhood development; and immunization. Her capacity building and training experience include participants from 350+ organizations. Dr. Schiavo is the author of the internationally acclaimed book, Health Communication: From Theory to Practice, in its second edition, as well as 45+ publications and 150+ scientific presentations. In addition to her academic experience, Dr. Schiavo brings to her courses her experience as a public health/healthcare practitioner and entrepreneur and her passion for making a difference in people's lives. She serves as Founder and Board President of Health Equity Initiative, a member-driven nonprofit membership organization; the Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media, and Engagement in Global Health (JCIH,Taylor & Francis); and is a Principal at Strategies for Equity and Communication Impact (SECI), a global consultancy. Among other projects, she is currently spearheading a new initiative at JCIH in response to the global trust crisis at the community and population levels. Dr. Schiavo has served on advisory/expert panels for the World Health Organization, U.S. National Institute of Health, the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent, UNICEF, and the American Public Health Association. Her work has been supported by the Office of Minority Health Resource Center, HHS Office of Minority Health; UNICEF; FIOCRUZ-Brasilia; the World Health Organization, the Macy's Corporate Foundation; and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others. She has published in leading journals including Pathogens and Global Health; Global Health Promotion; Health Equity; and the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice. Her diverse background includes past academic positions at CUNY, New York University, Long Island University, and The College of New Jersey; Executive Vice President, Cooney Waters Group (now Health Unlimited); and Head, Corporate and Marketing Communications and Social Responsibility Programs, Rhodia Farma (now Sanofi Aventis), Brazil. Dr. Schiavo is fluent in English, Italian, and Portuguese.

Academic Appointments

  • Senior Lecturer, Sociomedical Sciences

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of Naples
  • MA, New York University

Committees, Societies, Councils

Faculty Member, Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion

Subject Matter Expert and Co-Investigator, Region 2 Public Health Training Center

Senior Advisor and Past Chair, Feature Sessions, American Public Health Association (APHA), Global Public Health Film Festival, 2014-present

Member, UNICEF Communication for Development (C4D) Global Web Roster, 2010-present

Member, World Health Organization, Strategic Partnership for International Health Regulations (IHR) and Health Security (SPH) expert database, 2018-present

Member, American Public Health Association (APHA), 2004-present

Thesis Defense Committee Member, University of Curitiba, Brazil, Graduate Program in Public Health

Founder and Board President, Health Equity Initiative - 2011-present

Editorial Boards

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media, and Engagement in Global Health (JCIH)Editorial Board Member, Health Equity

Honors & Awards

2018 Distinguished Career Award, American Public Health Association (APHA) PHEHP Section - for lifetime work to advance health communication and health equity2017 MEDICC Fellow, Health Equity Leaders Exchange Program2016 Presidential Citation, Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)Recognized as one of 300 Women Leaders in Global Health by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (2015)Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine, 2014-present


Research Interests

  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Child and Adolescent Health
  • Food Policy and Obesity
  • Global Health
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Mental Health
  • Public Health Education
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

Schiavo, R. (2020) Vaccine communication in the age of COVID-19: Getting ready for an information war. Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media, and Engagement in Global Health 2020; 13:2, 73-75, DOI:



, R., Basu-Roy, U., Faroul, L. and Solodounova, G. (2020). Grounding Evaluation Design in the Socio-Ecological Model of Health: A Logic Framework for the Assessment of a National Routine Immunization Communication Initiative in Kyrgyzstan. Global Health Promotion: 1-10. DOI:



A, Madison M, Schiavo R, Elk R, Prigerson HG. (2020). Responding to Healthcare Disparities and Challenges With Access to Care During COVID-19. Health Equity. 2020 ;4(1):117-128. DOI:



, R., Oledibe, N., Faroul, L. and Health Equity Initiative (2018). Engaging New Allies in the Health Equity Movement: Highlights and Recommendations from the 2018 Summit Innovation Think Tanks. June 2018. New York, NY: Health Equity Initiative. Available at:



, R., and Smith, K. Advancing Health Equity: Population Health and the Role of Multisectoral Collaborations. (2017) In: Bialek, R., Beitsch, and Moran, J. Solving Population Health Issues through Collaboration. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.Schiavo, R. (2016) Training the next generation of global health communication professionals: Opportunities and challenges. Journal of Communication in Healthcare: Strategies, Media, and Engagement in Global Health. 9:4, 233-237Schiavo, R., Hilyard K.M, and Skinner, E.C. (2016) Community-Based Risk Communication in Epidemics and Emerging Disease Settings. In R. S. Zimmerman, R. J. DiClemente, J. K. Andrus, E. Hosein & Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE) (Eds.), Introduction to global health promotion. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, an imprint of WileySchiavo, R., Estrada-Portales, I., Hoeppner, E., Ormazza, D., and Ramesh, R. (2016) Building Community-Campus Partnerships to Prevent Infant Mortality: Lessons Learned from Building Capacity in Four U.S. Cities. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Vol. 9: Iss. 3, Article 5. Available at:



, R., Leung, M.M., and Brown, M. (2014) Communicating Risk and Promoting Disease Mitigation Measures in Epidemics and Emerging Disease Settings. Pathogens and Global Health, 108:2, 76-94.Schiavo, R. Health Communication: From Theory to Practice. Second Edition, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, November, 2014.