Health and Exercise Physiology

  • Headshot of Dr. Catherine van de Ruit

Catherine van de Ruit

Dr. Catherine van de Ruit is a sociologist with expertise in medical sociology, public health, emergency medicine, patient safety, health disparities, and qualitative methods. She graduated with a PhD in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and completed undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, in South Africa with undergraduate degrees in Political Science, Drama and Performance Studies, and a graduate degree in Development Studies. Dr. van de Ruit went on to complete a postdoctoral teaching fellowship in the Critical Writing Program at the University Pennsylvania followed by a postdoctoral research experience at Johns Hopkins University’s Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety. Dr van de Ruit has previously taught courses on health policy, HIV/AIDS, health and society, research methods, qualitative data analysis, humanitarian disaster, and introduction to sociology.


Health and Exercise Physiology


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

M.A., University of KwaZulu-Natal

B.A., University of KwaZulu-Natal


Community health

Common Intellectual Experience II

Current Trends in Health

Health in the City (Taught in the Philadelphia Experience)

Sociology of Health and Illness

Public Health

Research Interests

Dr van de Ruit’s research interests include public health in Southern Africa and clinical settings including surgical and emergency medicine the United States and South Africa.  She is interested in understanding how frontline care-workers interpret and perform health guidelines. She directs an Ursinus student research project titled “Patient Safety in Medicine Work-Group” and is an Adjunct Fellow at the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives.

Recent Work

Peer reviewed articles

Van de Ruit, C, Lahiri, S, and Wallis, L. 2020. Clinical teams’ experiences of crowding in public emergency departments in Cape Town, South Africa. African Journal of Emergency Medicine 10(2): 52-57 doi: 10.1016/j.afjem.2019.12.004

van de Ruit, C. 2019. “Unintended consequences of community health worker programs in South Africa”. Qualitative Health Research: 29/11: 1535-1548  doi 10.1177/1049732319857059

van de Ruit, C. 2017. “Social Work Professionalism During and After Apartheid in South Africa” Sociology of Development 3(3): 273-294 doi: 10.1525/sod.2017.3.3.273

Gorbenko, K.; Veazey Brooks, J., van de Ruit, C.; Ju, M., Hobson, D., Holzmueller, K., Pronovost, P., Ko, C., Bosk, C., Wick, E. 2015. Engaging Perioperative Staff in Quality Improvement Projects with Data Lag: A Qualitative Study”. Perioperative Care and Operating Room Management 1(1-2): 2-8 doi: 10.1016/j.pcorm.2015.10.001

Pithouse-Morgan, K.; Masinga, L.; Khau, M.; and van de Ruit, C. 2012. “Letters to Those Who Dare Feel: Using Reflective Letter-Writing to Explore the Emotionality of Research.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 11(1): 40-56 doi: 10.1177/160940691201100104

Bignami-Van Assche, S.; Van Assche, A.; Anglewicz, P.; Fleming, P.; and van de Ruit, C. 2011. “The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Intra-household Time Allocation in Rural Malawi.” Demographic Research 24: 671-708 doi:  10.4054/DemRes.2011.24.27

van de Ruit, C.; and May, J. 2003. “Triangulating Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to the Measurement of Poverty: A Case Study in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.” IDS Bulletin 34(4): 21-33 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2003.tb00087.x


Non peer reviewed published articles

van de Ruit, C and Kuykendall, S. 2018. Health Policy. In S. Kuykendall (Ed.), Public Health Encyclopedia: Principles, People, and Programs. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, Greenwood Press.

van de Ruit, C. and Figueroa, L. 2018. The Affordable Care Act. In S. Kuykendall (Ed.), Public Health Encyclopedia: Principles, People, and Programs. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, Greenwood Press.

van de Ruit, C. 2017. “Politics in the Making of HIV/AIDS in South Africa”. Contemporary Sociology, 46(5), 587-589.

Brooks, J.; Gorbenko, K; van de Ruit, C.; and Bosk, C. 2014. “The Dangers of Quality Improvement Overload: Insights from the Field” Health Affairs Blog, March 7, 2014