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Class 21 (2022-2024)

Estefania Rodriguez, Mexico

Duke University – Master in International Development Policy

Food policy | Health policy | Social development | Policy analysis | Well-being

Estefania Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) and a certificate in international development cooperation. She started working in the health arena in 2015, as a Head of Department in the General Direction of International Relations of the Mexican Ministry of Health where she followed-up cooperation proposals between Mexico and North American countries, Africa, and PAHO.

In 2016, she joined the Nutrition and Health Research Center of the Mexican National Institute of Public Health (INSP) to participate in the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index project. As a result, she co-authored an article which assessed the level of implementation of food policies and gathered key recommendations for the Mexican government including: implementation of a front-of-pack labelling for foods and beverages, incentives to increase the offer of healthy food in stores, guidelines for restricting commercial influence and preventing conflicts of interest, enough budget to reduce obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and provision of healthy foods in schools. For the past four years, she managed the Food Policy research program aimed to transcend into policy actions.

Other work includes documenting how conflicts of interest in nutrition and health have hindered the progress of programs, regulations, laws and other efforts. She co-authored a book chapter on the matter and participated in elaborating the government's guidelines to prevent, identify, and manage conflicts of interest in obesity related-policies. More recently, she led the NutriCOI initiative to safeguard policy and research from conflicts of interest and has given presentations in universities and academic events on this topic.

With the training from the MIDP and the Rotary Peace Fellowship she expects to give better, more informed, well-supported recommendations and practical solutions to achieve a comprehensive healthy food policy in Mexico.

Future plans: To become a specialist within an international organization.