Kelly is Dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and is a professor of public policy. He also serves on the board of directors of the Duke Global Health Institute.
In 2006 Time magazine listed Brownell among “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” in its special Time 100 issue featuring those “.. whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” Brownell was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in 2006 and has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, Graduate Mentoring Award from Yale, the James McKeen Cattell Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Rutgers University, and the Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology from the American Psychological Association.
Prior to joining the faculty at Duke, Brownell was at Yale University where he was the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, professor of epidemiology and public health, and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. While at Yale he served as chair of the department of psychology and as master of Silliman College. Brownell has published 15 books and more than 350 scientific articles and chapters. He has served as president of several national organizations, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy and the Division of Health Psychology of the American Psychological Association.
Brownell has advised the White House, members of congress, governors, world health and nutrition organizations, and media leaders on issues of nutrition, obesity and public policy. He was cited as a “moral entrepreneur” with special influence on public discourse in a history of the obesity field and was cited by Time magazine as a leading “warrior” in the area of nutrition and public policy.