Ruth J. Katz is Director of the Health, Medicine and Society (HMS) Program at the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. The HMS Program draws on the expertise of a diverse group of leaders in health and heath policy to inform the national conversation on health, medicine, and biomedical research.
Ms. Katz joined the Aspen Institute after serving from 2009 to 2013 as Chief Public Health Counsel (Democratic Staff) with the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives). The Committee has legislative jurisdiction over virtually every domestic health program, including Medicare, Medicaid, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration, and national health reform efforts. Ms. Katz was the lead Democratic committee staff on the public health components of the health reform initiative passed by the House of Representatives in November 2009.
Prior to her work with the Committee, Ms. Katz was the Walter G. Ross Professor of Health Policy of the School of Public Health and Health Services at The George Washington University. She served as the dean of the School from 2003 to 2008. Ms. Katz was, from 1997 to 2003, Associate Dean for Administration at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she also held appointments in the departments of Internal Medicine (General Medicine) and Epidemiology and Public Health as an Assistant Professor.
Ms. 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. She served for over a decade, from 1982 to 1995, as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, Ms. Katz was, from 1995 to 1996, the Director of Public Health Programs at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; in 1996, the Democrat nominee for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District for the U.S. House of Representatives; and, in 1997, Counsel to the Advisory Committee on Tobacco Policy and Public Health, chaired by Drs. C. Everett Koop and David Kessler. She was engaged in the private practice of law from 1977 to 1979.
Ms. Katz has received several awards recognizing her efforts in the enactment of many major pieces of health-related legislation, including those from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Women’s Association, and the Association of Community Health Centers. Ms. Katz is also a recipient of Emory University Law School’s 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2010 Congressional Staff Achievement Award from Trust for America’s Health.
In addition to her duties with the Aspen Institute, Ms. Katz currently is a member of the CDC Foundation and has been a member of the board of trustees of Emory University and the board of directors of NARAL Pro-Choice America. She has also completed terms as a member of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health; the Advisory Committee to the Director of CDC; CDC’s National Vaccine Advisory Committee; the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program and the Finalist Selection Committee of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.