Chessa Lutter

Senior nutrition researcher

Chessa Lutter


  • PhD, Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University
  • MS, Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University
  • BS, Conservation of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley
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Chessa Lutter is an internationally recognized expert in maternal and child nutrition. With an academic background in nutrition and epidemiology, and a long career in global nutrition policy, she contributes to our growing practice in international food security and agriculture.

A major focus of Dr. Lutter’s work has been applying nutrition sciences and epidemiology to improve maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Lutter joined RTI in 2017 after 19 years with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization’s regional office for the Americas. At PAHO, she worked with Ministries of Health throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as well as with UNICEF, the World Food Program, and numerous nongovernmental organizations to implement programs and policies aimed at preventing obesity, promoting breastfeeding, and ensuring good nutrition for mothers, infants, and children.

Dr. Lutter’s background also includes positions with Wellstart International and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. She is a visiting research professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and is a member of the American Society of Nutrition, International Nutrition Council, and International Society of Research on Human Milk and Lactation.  She has published over 50 scholarly articles and book chapters.  A skilled communicator, Dr. Lutter has prepared television and radio briefings on maternal and child nutrition in English and Spanish, and frequently speaks at events worldwide.