Jodi L. Jacobson is a long-time leader in the health and development community and an advocate with extensive experience in public health, gender equity, human rights, environment and demographic issues. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of RH Reality Check.
Previously, Ms. Jacobson was the Director of Advocacy at American Jewish World Service, where she is established a new department, leading the organization’s efforts to mobilize the American Jewish community toward ending the genocide in Darfur, fighting global AIDS, ensuring access to quality basic education worldwide, addressing the global food crisis, and promoting global debt relief and effective anti-poverty policies, among other issues.
Before joining AJWS, Jodi served as founder and Executive Director for 13 years of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) (est. 1994), an organization that monitors and seeks to promote accountability of US international policy to women’s reproductive and sexual health and rights. During Ms. Jacobson’s tenure, CHANGE grew into an internationally known advocacy organization on public health and human rights, produced cutting-edge research on international policies and programs, and became a leading source of information and advocacy for international and domestic movements, academics, program managers and the media. Under Ms. Jacobson’s leadership, CHANGE developed an outreach list of researchers, advocates, and policymakers throughout the world, and a media contact list of over 2,000 reporters representing every region of the world. As ED at CHANGE, Ms. Jacobson was an invited speaker at 3 consecutive global HIV/AIDS conferences and at numerous regional conferences, and was an advisor on US global AIDS and reproductive health policies to parliamentarians and government officials in the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Ms. Jacobson is frequently sought out by the media for comment on issues related to public health. She has been quoted extensively the Lancet, BMJ and The Economist and national daily news media including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. She has written numerous articles and papers, and is the co-author of 10 books, including 8 volumes of State of the World, and others such as Women's Empowerment and Demographic Processes: Moving Beyond Cairo (Edited by Harriet Presser and Gita Sen, 2000, Oxford University Press).
Prior to establishing CHANGE, Ms. Jacobson was a consultant to numerous organizations in the environmental and reproductive health and population fields, including the International Women's Health Coalition, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Population Council, and the Women's Environment and Development Organization. Her previous work experience includes a position as Senior Policy Analyst for Energy and Environment at the National Governor's Association (fellowship), and as a Senior Researcher at the WorldWatch Institute (1985 to 1994) where she did groundbreaking work on international environment and population issues.
Ms. Jacobson has testified before Congress on several occasions, has been a principal player in the 2006 and 2004 International AIDS Conferences (Toronto and Bangkok) and was a member of two United Nations Expert Groups on Population and Development leading up to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). She was active in both the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, and in U.S. preparations leading up to the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women. Ms. Jacobson has degrees in economics and environmental science and many years of practical and professional experience in public health.