Shawn K. Baker

Chief Program Officer, Helen Keller Intl; Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, MNF

Based in Senegal, Baker leads Helen Keller’s efforts to reverse the growing hunger crisis, help millions of families living in poverty access critical healthcare and nutritious food, and strengthen food and health systems in the 20 countries where Helen Keller works across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. 

Baker has more than 30 years of experience in global public health and nutrition, including 19 years at Helen Keller Intl in previous roles and 25 years living in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Since February 2020, Baker has been the inaugural Chief Nutritionist for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where he oversaw the Agency’s vision and strategy to address malnutrition in low-income countries. Prior to joining USAID, Baker was the first director of nutrition at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In his new role at Helen Keller, Baker will continue to support our world’s most vulnerable communities through scientifically proven solutions that are feasible, scalable, and equitable. 

While at USAID, Baker chaired the Agency’s Nutrition Leadership Council, oversaw the vision and strategy of the Agency’s Center for Nutrition in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, and coordinated related efforts across USAID. Baker also guided investments and engagement with partners to address malnutrition in developing countries and chaired the Senior Nutrition Champions group that oversees the US Governments Global Nutrition Coordination Plan. During Baker’s 19-year tenure at Helen Keller Intl, Baker held roles including Niger Country Director, Bangladesh Country Director, and Vice President and Regional Director for Africa. He spent nine years with Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine working with the Niger Health Information System, Center for International Health and Development, Famine Early Warning System in Southern Africa and Niger, and Madagascar food and nutrition surveillance system. Baker started his career in international development as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Baker’s service on committees and advisory groups includes the Technical Review Panel for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, which he chaired until November 2014. He was chair of the Executive Committee of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement and then served as special advisor, supporting development of the 3.0 strategy. He was also on the board of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition from 2013-2016. He was awarded the Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite du Niger by the Presidency of the Republic in 2001. Baker has a master’s of public health from Tulane University, and a bachelor’s of science degree in biology from the University of Miami.