Tejal Patel, M.S. (she/her)
Director of Programs and Impact
Tejal leads the Programs and Impact Department at the What to Expect Project. She oversees several portfolios, including the Basics program, the Pregnancy Pandemic Preparedness Project, and other maternal health promotion initiatives in the U.S. and globally. Core to Tejal’s approach is utilizing monitoring and evaluation efforts to best serve WTEP’s expectant mothers and their families. As a former preschool teacher turned public health researcher, Tejal integrates intersectoral collaboration at all levels of research, practice, and policy to create actionable change.
Tejal’s prior work has primarily focused on parenting, parent-child relationships, and children’s mental and behavioral health. Tejal uses an interdisciplinary approach to address emerging issues in maternal and child health. Her previous experiences also include research and evaluation in juvenile delinquency and mentorship programming, school-based nutrition practices, biological bases of adolescent risky behaviors, environmental civic engagement and advocacy among students, primary care capacity, oral healthcare, comprehensive sex education in Louisiana, opioid use, healthcare engagement and retention among people living with HIV, safe sleep practices and infant mortality, telehealth utilization during COVID-19, and utilizing equity-centered design thinking in community engagement to inform research prioritization.
Tejal received her Master’s in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Virginia Tech. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Public Health at Tulane University.