About Jennifer Prah Ruger

Jennifer Prah Ruger is the Amartya Sen Professor of Health Equity, Economics, and Policy in the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) and the former Associate Dean for Global Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Prah Ruger is the founder and director of the Health Equity and Policy Lab (HEPL) that conducts quantitative and qualitative research on the equity implications of health and social policies.

Dr. Prah Ruger is a leading scholar of global and domestic health policy and public health. She conducts theoretical and empirical studies of health equity to reduce global and national health inequities with a focus on the most impoverished populations worldwide, especially women and children.  Dr. Prah Ruger draws on her training in political economy, health policy, international relations, comparative social research and law to cross disciplines and reexamine the principles and values that underlie health policy and public health and apply these principles empirically.  She created the health capability paradigm, challenging existing approaches and illuminating optimal health policies and she has developed an empirical approach to evaluate public health programs and health policies as they measure up to that paradigm.  Dr. Prah Ruger’s scholarship has critically scrutinized the existing global health architecture in order to identify more effective global health policy responses linking public policy and law to global health theory at the global and national levels.  Dr. Prah Ruger studies critical health policy and public health problems such as the equity and efficiency of health system access, financing, resource allocation, policy reform and the social determinants of health.  Her scholarship includes areas such as global health justice; global health governance; health and social justice; and shared health governance. Her research is conducted internationally and nationally, including work in Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Malaysia, Morocco, South Korea, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam. 

DFID via Flickr under Creative Commons license

DFID via Flickr under Creative Commons license

Dr. Prah Ruger was a member of the Institute of Medicine's Board on Global Health; the Ethics Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Institute of Medicine's Committee to Evaluate The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  She has served on several international and national advisory and expert review committees, including for the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, Fulbright Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and institutions in East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. She is the past Chair and Program Chair of the Ethics Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) of the American Public Health Association.  She was previously the Co-Director of the Yale-World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion, Policy and Research. She served previously at the World Bank as health economist and speechwriter to president James D. Wolfensohn and on the health and development satellite secretariat of WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland’s Transition Team. In 2014, she was elected as a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Prah Ruger has authored over 100 publications and is internationally recognized for her leadership and work, which has been cited by the United Nations, World Bank, World Health Organization and United States Government.  She has been Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on awards from the National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center, Hewlett Foundation, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete her forthcoming book, Global Health Justice and Governance (OUP, in press), which advances a theory of global health justice and governance called provincial globalism.  She received a Greenwall Faculty Scholar Award in Bioethics and a Donaghue Investigator Award in ethics and economics of health disparities.

Dr. Prah Ruger received a bachelor’s degree in the honors program in political economy from the University of California-Berkeley, master’s degrees from Oxford University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Yale University, a doctoral degree from Harvard University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard's Center for Population and Development.