Aspen Institute Appoints Ruth J. Katz to Direct Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Initiative

June 3, 2013

Contact: Jeff Harris
Public Affairs Manager
The Aspen Institute


Aspen Institute Appoints Ruth J. Katz to Direct Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Initiative

Washington, DC, June 3, 2013 The Aspen Institute announced today that Ruth J. Katz has been appointed director of its Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Initiative. Katz, who is currently chief public health counsel for the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, will assume the role on November 1, 2013. The initiative serves as a venue for academic, government, and industry leaders to explore critical issues in health care and health policy and how they affect individual health and that of families, communities, nations, and the world.

In accepting this position, Katz said, “I am delighted to be joining the Aspen Institute. This organization’s hallmark is bringing thought leaders together to identify and help resolve some of the major public policy issues of the day. I expect this program will continue to make its mark in following that great tradition.”

Elliot Gerson, executive vice president for policy and public programs at the Institute, said, “The Institute stands to benefit from Ruth’s extensive knowledge of, and leadership in, the health field and her experience on the front lines of health care policymaking. She shares our commitment to forging bipartisan networks and other collaborations with the ultimate goal of improving human health.”  

In her role as chief public health counsel with the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Katz assumed a lead role in crafting the public health components of the health reform initiative passed by the US House of Representatives in 2009. Prior to that, Katz was both Walter G. Ross Professor of Health Policy and dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services at The George Washington University from 2003 to 2008. From 1997 to 2003, she was associate dean for administration at the Yale University School of Medicine where she also held appointments in the departments of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health as an Assistant Professor. From 1982 to 1995, she was counsel to the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Katz, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, holds a law degree from Emory University and a masters of public health from Harvard. Katz is a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars program and has been a member of the board of trustees of Emory University. She has also served as secretary and a member of the board of directors of the CDC Foundation. 

The Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Initiative was established in 2005 and led by Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, who now serves as associate director for Science at the Food and Drug Administration. Franmarie Kennedy, who has ably led the program since Dr. McMurry-Heath’s departure, will remain acting director in the interim.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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