Dr. Vanessa Coffman
Dr. Vanessa Coffman
STOP Foodborne Illness

STOP Foodborne Illness Welcomes Dr. Vanessa Coffman as Director of its Food Safety Alliance

The Alliance is an initiative between STOP and 15 leading food companies committed to strengthening food safety culture.

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September 14, 2021

CHICAGO — STOP Foodborne Illness, the national nonprofit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of illness and death from foodborne pathogens, announced today that Dr. Vanessa Coffman has joined the organization as director of the Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness. The Alliance is an initiative between STOP and 15 leading food companies committed to strengthening food safety culture. Alliance members include Walmart, Costco, Kellogg’s, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Conagra, among others.

Coffman joins STOP following her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois Chicago where she conducted research on the impact of nitrate-contaminated water on childhood health; her findings were published in Environmental Health Perspectives and Environment International. She previously worked at STOP as the senior policy coordinator where she routinely worked with policymakers in an array of government agencies and with congressional leaders. She earned her doctorate in environmental epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she led research on pork production and worker and community health. She also holds a masters degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Global Public Health and the Environment.  

“Vanessa’s proven ability to work with colleagues and collaborators makes her the ideal person to lead the STOP Alliance,” said Mitzi Baum, CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness. “Her commitment to public health and food safety is evident from her academic and professional work. We’re delighted to have her back at STOP.”

In addition to her work in the United States, Coffman has conducted research for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Sierra Leone and co-directed an outreach program in Bolivia. 

“I’m excited to use my scientific knowledge of food safety issues in combination with my policy experience to make actionable change,” Coffman said. “The Alliance is an exciting new venture that will make large and lasting impacts on the safety of our food system. I’m thrilled to be back at STOP and lead this unique and powerful collaboration."