Ruger is a leading scholar of global and domestic health policy and public health. She conducts theoretical and empirical studies of health equity to address global and national health inequities with a focus on the most impoverished and vulnerable populations worldwide, especially women and children. 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. Ruger studies 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.
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 and the Institute of Medicine’s Committee to Evaluate The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. She has served on several international and national advisory and expert review committees. She is the past Chair and Program Chair of the Ethics Special Primary Interest Group 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.
In the News
Uses the COVID-19 pandemic to show the importance of a country’s implementing a justice framework for health and equality.
Focuses on two areas of substantial and growing importance to the human development and capability approach: health and disability. The research on disability, health and the capability approach has been diverse in the topics it covers, and the conceptual frameworks and methodologies it uses, beginning over a decade and a half ago in health and more than a decade ago in disability. Shares a set of contributions in these two areas: the first set of chapters focusing on disability; and the second set focusing on health and the health capability paradigm in particular.
Discusses some of the challenges of global health inequalities and the current global health policy system and some of the components of the provincial globalism and shared health governance frameworks.
Argues that the proper object of global health governance should be the common good, ensuring that all people have the opportunity to flourish.
Explores a more nuanced picture of language surrounding a right to healthcare in the US law.