Richard J. Jackson

Dr. Richard Joseph Jackson is Professor emeritus at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. A pediatrician, he has served in many leadership positions with the California Health Department, including the highest as the State Health Officer. 

For nine years he was Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and received the Presidential Distinguished Service award. In October, 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Jackson was instrumental in establishing the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and in the creation of state and national laws to reduce risks from pesticides, especially to farm workers and to children. While at CDC he established major environmental public health programs and instituted the federal effort to “biomonitor” chemical levels in the US population. He has received its Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Public Health Law Association and the New Partners for Smart Growth, the John Heinz Award for national leadership in the Environment, and the Sedgwick Medal, the highest award of the American Public Health Association. In 2015 he received the Henry Hope Reed Award for his contributions to the field of Architecture. 

Dr. Dick Jackson lectures and speaks on many issues, particularly those related to built environment and health. He has co-authored the books: Urban Sprawl and Public Health, Making Healthy Places, and Designing Healthy Communities for which he hosted a four hour PBS series. He has served on many environmental and health boards, as well as the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects. He is an elected honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects as well as the American Institute of Architects. 

Center Affiliations


  • MD, Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • MPH, Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Areas of Interest

Environmental impacts on health ranging from toxicology, chemical body burderns, terrorism, sustainability, climate change, urban design and architecture. 

Selected Courses

  • EHS 208: Built Environment and Health 
  • EHS 200A: Foundations of Environmental Health Sciences 

Selected Publications

  • Jackson, Richard J Designing Healthy Communities-4 part series PBS Broadcast Listings. 
  • Jackson, Richard J America's Health Threat: Poor Urban Design Article in Chronicle of Higher Education, 2012. 
  • Jackson, Richard J Designing Healthy Communities: NewPublicHealth Q&A with Richard Jackson Jan 27, 2012
  • Rahman T, Cushing RA, Jackson RJ Contributions of built environment to childhood obesity The Mount Sinai journal of medicine, New York, 2011; 78(1): 49-57.  
  • Living on Earth Interview 
  • Richard J Jackson MD MPH with Stacy Sinclair Designing Healthy Communities. 2011; Companion Book to Public Broadcast series(ISBN 978-1-118-03366-1): 230 pages. Download 
  • Jackson RJ, Malloy TF Environmental public health law: three pillars.. The Journal of law, medicine & ethics : a journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 2011; 39 Suppl 1: 34-6. 
  • Rahman T,Cushing RA, Jackson RJ Contributions of built environment to childhood obesity.. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine, New York. 2011; 78(1): 49-57. 
  • Jackson RJ, Minjares R, Naumoff KS, Patel BS, Martin LK Agriculture Policy is Health Policy. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 2009; 4(3): 393-408. 
  • Botchwey ND, Hobson SE, Dannenberg AL, Mumford KG, Contant CK, McMillan TE, Jackson RJ, Lopez R, Winkle C A model curriculum for a course on the built environment and public health: training for an interdisciplinary workforce.. American journal of preventive medicine. 2009; 36(2 Suppl): S63-71. 
  • Jackson RJ, Tester J Environment shapes health, including children's mental health.. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2008; 47(2): 129-31. 
  • Jackson Richard J Environment meets health, again.. Science (New York, N.Y.). 2007; 315(5817): 1337. 
  • Jackson RJ Commentary on active living research.. American journal of preventive medicine. 2005; 28(2 Suppl 2): 218-9. 
  • Dannenberg AL, Jackson RJ, Frumkin H, Schieber RA, Pratt M, Kochtitzky C, Tilson HH The impact of community design and land-use choices on public health: a scientific research agenda.. American journal of public health. 2003; 93(9): 1500-8. 
  • Jackson RJ The impact of the built environment on health: an emerging field.. American journal of public health. 2003; 93(9): 1382-4.