John Ruiz named associate director of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility

Sept. 28, 2023


John M. Ruiz, PhD, has been appointed the new associate director of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) for the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

“IDEA is an integral part of the Cancer Center, and I am excited to have Dr. Ruiz’s expertise and enthusiasm in this area,” said Cancer Center Director Joann Sweasy, PhD.

The IDEA Office was created less than a year ago to implement the Cancer Center’s plans for recruitment and retention in building a diverse team of faculty, staff and educating the next generation of cancer center leaders.

"I'm looking forward to working with the UACC community to achieve the breakthroughs in research and practice that will be a model for the nation and to fulfill our mission of optimal health for all," Dr. Ruiz said.

Dr. Ruiz joined the Cancer Center as a member last June. He is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona where he is the current Director for DEI.

He is a successful national leader in health equity. Dr. Ruiz is the past chair for APA’s Committee on Socioeconomic Status, member of the inaugural APA Health Equity Committee, and was appointed to the 2021 APA Presidential Task Force on Health Equity for which he received a 2021 APA Presidential Citation.

Dr. Ruiz is a permanent member of the NIH Behavioral Medicine Interventions and Outcomes study section and served on the external advisory board for NIH’s Science of Behavior Change effort. Last year, he began a four-year federal appointment to serve on the 16-member, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which reviews evidence on preventive health guidelines.

Dr. Ruiz’s NIH-funded research examines relationships between individual level psychosocial factors, social behaviors, and cardiovascular and cancer diseases with an emphasis on biobehavioral mechanisms.

He also specializes in sociocultural aspects of racial/ethnic health disparities, particularly the epidemiological phenomenon referred to as the Hispanic Health Paradox. Dr. Ruiz is the editor-in-chief of the American Psychological Association’s Health Psychology and serves on the editorial boards of several journals.

“I know that Dr. Ruiz’s appointment will help us create a workforce and group of researchers that reflects the diversity seen in our catchment area, and that he shares the vision of having that diverse team produce stronger science to address disparities and the burden of cancer as it exists in our diverse population,” Dr. Sweasy said.

Dr. Ruiz will begin his position on Nov. 1.