Published: 05/02/2024

Jenna Forsyth Time 100

TIME named Stanford research scientist Jenna Forsyth, PhD, to the inaugural 2024 TIME100 Health, a new annual list of 100 individuals who most influenced global health this year. The full list and related tributes appear in the May 13, 2024 issue of TIME, available now at

The list recognizes the impact, innovation, and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals in health. 

Forsyth was recognized for her work with mentor Steve Luby, MD, Stanford Associate Dean of Global Health Research, Stanford colleagues, international health research institute icddr,b, and other global partners to identify and address a key source of lead contamination in Bangladesh — turmeric. They found that spice sellers had been adding lead chromate to the spice to enhance its yellow color. Their work was featured in detail in this spring 2023 Stanford Medicine Magazine article.

“Her discovery led to a massive effort by the government in Bangladesh to ban the use of lead chromate, increase food-safety oversight, and to educate farmers and consumers on the dangers of lead chromate in turmeric via news media and face-to-face outreach,” says the Time article highlighting her work. A follow-up study published last year found that the percentage of lead-contaminated turmeric samples in Bangladesh markets has declined from 47% to zero. Blood lead levels in turmeric-mill workers dropped by 30%.

It’s so gratifying to see your work have that kind of impact, especially when the interventions are cheap—less than a penny per person,” Forsyth told Time. “It’s really something when awareness can be a lever for change.”


This work was funded and supported by many organizations and centers, including: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment’s Environmental Venture Projects, Stanford E-IPER program, and King Center for Global Development.