Health and Exercise Physiology

All Majors & Minors

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.


Assistant Professor, Health and Exercise Physiology


Health and Exercise Physiology


PhD 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)

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. van de Ruit, C. 2017. “Social Work Professionalism During and After Apartheid in South Africa” Sociology of Development3(3): 273-294
  4. van de Ruit, C. 2017. “Politics in the Making of HIV/AIDS in South Africa”. Contemporary Sociology,46(5): 587-589