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Jennifer Whittaker PhD, MUP

Research Scientist

Jennifer Whittaker (she/her) is a research scientist at PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as well as the staff lead for PolicyLab’s Family & Community Health Portfolio. She studies the role of place in health, with a focus on maternal and child health and rural communities. Working across multiple research teams at CHOP, she specializes in qualitative, spatial and mixed-method work.  

An alumnus of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars Leadership Development Program, she is trained in interdisciplinary, applied and policy-oriented scholarship. She is also a member of CHOP’s Qualitative Methods Research Affinity Group, a fellow at University at Pennsylvania’s Center for Public Health Initiatives and a board member for the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association. 

Dr. Whittaker completed her PhD in City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design, where her research used photovoice and story mapping to identify opportunities for the field of planning to improve maternal and child health in rural communities. She completed her master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo and her bachelor's degree in Geography at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Prior to coming to Philadelphia, Dr. Whittaker was a research associate at the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab where she conducted research on the role of local government policy and planning in facilitating healthy communities.