Anthropology and Sociology

Dr. Catherine van de Ruit
Dr. Catherine van de Ruit

Catherine van de Ruit

Dr. Catherine van de Ruit is a medical sociologist focusing on medicine, health policy, and global health. She earned her PhD in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and performed postdoctoral research at the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins University. Her teaching and research spans health systems in both the United States and Southern Africa focusing on the ways in which health disparities are reproduced through health policy and health care systems. Cathy was selected as an AVDF Periclean Faculty Leader (PFL) in STEM and Social Sciences for 2021-2022, supported by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and The Eugene M. Lang Foundation. She is currently working on a book project titled Outsourcing obligation: The Organization of South African AIDS care.


Anthropology & Sociology


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • B.A., University of KwaZulu-Natal


  • Community health
  • Common Intellectual Experience II
  • Health in the City (Taught in the Philadelphia Experience)
  • Introduction to Health Studies
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Public Health

Recent Work

van de Ruit, C and Breckenridge, A. 2022 “South African Community health workers’ pursuit of workplace recognition” Special Issue on “Crises and the (Re)Organizing of Gender and Work” in Gender, Work & Organization

van de Ruit, C., & Bosk, C. L. 2021. Surgical Patient Safety Officers in the United States: Negotiating Contradictions Between Compliance and Workplace Transformation. Work and Occupations: 48(1):3-39. doi:10.1177/0730888420930345

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 doi: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2003.tb00087.x

Chapters in books/book reviews

van de Ruit, Catherine and Zhou, Amy. 2022“Chapter 8: The Problem of Insecure Community Health Workers in the Global South.” Pages 71-79. In Glenn W. Muschert, Kristen M. Budd, Heather Dillaway, David C. Lane, Manjusha Nair and Jason A. Smith (Eds) Society for Social Problem’s annual volume Global Agenda for Social Justice: Solutions 2022: Policy Press

van de Ruit, C. 2020. HIV/AIDS Politics and Policy in sub-Saharan Africa in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press. Oxford doi:

van de Ruit, C. 2020. “Politics in the Making of HIV/AIDS in South Africa”. Contemporary Sociology, 49(4), 337-338. Article republished

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. Invited review.



van de Ruit, C. 2020 “Covid 19: Lessons learned from the sociology of AIDS” Sectors: Spring 2020. Sociology of Development Newsletter.

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