Ruth is a board-certified physician with training and experience in preventive medicine, health system change, public health, disease prevention, community engagement, partnership building, evaluation and epidemiology.
Ruth received her MD and MPH from UNC. After training in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Rochester NY, she returned to NC to complete the UNC Preventive Medicine Residency and a post-doctoral fellowship in health services research. Ruth has built her career as a leader in public health through experience in health settings, local and state public health, national advisory groups, university settings, business settings and global health. She has served as the Director of Women’s Preventive Health Research at the Center for Women’s Health Research at UNC, and as an Epidemiologist Consultant to CDC and IBM Global Well-being. Ruth has provided medical care to the underserved in health departments in New York and North Carolina, and served as faculty at UNC in both the School of Public Health and in the Ob/Gyn Department at the School of Medicine.
Dr. Ruth Petersen has served at the North Carolina (NC) Division of Public Health as the Section Chief for the Chronic Disease and Injury (CDI) Section since 2009. In this role, Ruth has oversight for programs in NC related to the prevention of asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and injury as well as the areas of physical activity, nutrition, tobacco prevention and control, and forensic tests for alcohol. Ruth manages approximately 160 staff with a variety of state, federal and local funding sources. In her current role as Section Chief, Ruth brings a passion for addressing health burden at a population level through statewide, data-driven approaches while using a visionary and collaborative approach to address critical health and public health issues.