Class of 2022

Jessica Bogard

Science Innovators

34 / Brisbane, Australia

The single-minded dietitian fighting for better global health and nutrition

Dr Jessica Bogard is on a mission to increase access to, and consumption of, healthy, sustainable food in communities around the world. As a dietitian and public health nutritionist, she carries out research to understand how to leverage agriculture and food systems to improve nutrition, particularly among vulnerable groups including women and young children in low- and middle-income countries. She works with scientists across different disciplines and scales from local to global food systems, improving access to healthy diets.

After graduating with a degree in health science in 2009, Jessica worked as a dietitian in a large hospital in Brisbane, helping people to change their eating patterns to overcome health problems. She soon realised that people were constantly surrounded by cheap, unhealthy foods, and she decided to focus on preventing them from getting sick in the first place. This led her to pursue a career in science research, travelling to Bangladesh, where she led the development of a database documenting the nutritional value of over 50 different local fish species at an international fisheries research agency. Realising the importance of nutrition expertise to improve the health of communities, she used her work there as a base to complete her PhD at the University of Queensland in 2017.

Now Jessica leads research in the Pacific region to understand and map regional and national food environments. Where in high-income countries, people often get their food from supermarkets and restaurants, in lower-income places, food is often harvested by the community. Through her work, Jessica develops scientific methods and tools to understand those food environments, allowing her to better identify opportunities to improve community nutrition and health. In an age of devastating malnutrition and climate change, her research and publications enable poorer communities around the world to envision a healthier future and turn it into reality.

“I hope to motivate and inspire other women and girls to pursue a career in science. The voice of women is so crucial in addressing the complex challenges the world faces.” – Jessica Bogard

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