John M. Ruiz, PhD

Cancer Prevention and Control Program


Dr. John M. Ruiz is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona,
where he is also director of diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

Dr. Ruiz’s program of research focuses on psychosocial influences on health. His NIH-funded
research examines relationships between individual level psychosocial factors, social behaviors,
and cardiovascular and cancer diseases with an emphasis on biobehavioral mechanisms. In
addition, Dr. Ruiz has recognized expertise in sociocultural aspects of racial/ethnic health
disparities, particularly the epidemiological phenomenon referred to as the Hispanic Health
Paradox. His current work focuses on sociocultural factors that may help explain paradoxical
survival differences in the context of lung cancer.

Dr. Ruiz is the current Editor-In-Chief of APA’s Health Psychology (2023-2028). He has active
leadership roles in multiple professional societies including as the immediate Past-President of
the Behavioral Medicine Research Council (BMRC) as well as roles in the Society for Health
Psychology, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Research. Dr. Ruiz serves on the editorial boards of several journals (Journal of Latina/o
Psychology, Health Psychology, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Behavioral
Medicine), is a recent associate editor for 4 journals (PLOS One, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic
Minority Psychology, Journal of Research in Personality) including Senior Associate Editor of
Annals of Behavioral Medicine, and has guest edited several special issues. Dr. Ruiz is also a
leader in the push for health equity as Past Chair for APA’s Committee on Socioeconomic Status
(CSES), member of the inaugural APA Health Equity Committee, and appointment to the 2021
APA Presidential Task Force on Health Equity for which he received a 2021 APA Presidential
Citation. He is a permanent member of the NIH Behavioral Medicine Interventions and
Outcomes (BMIO) study section, and he served on the external advisory board for NIH’s Science
of Behavior Change (SOBC) effort.

In 2022, Dr. Ruiz began a 4-year, federal appointment to serve on the 16-member, US Preventive
Services Task Force (USPSTF) which reviews evidence on preventive health guidelines. Dr.
Ruiz is an elected fellow of the American Psychosomatic Society, Association of Psychological
Science, Society for Health Psychology (APA, Division 38), and the Academy of Behavioral
Medicine Research.

At the University of Arizona, he is a member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, the
Sarver Heart Center, the Center on Health Disparities, Center on Aging, the Hispanic Center of
Excellence, and the BIO 5 Institute. He has additional adjunct appoints in Public Health, Family
Studies, and has served in a range of committees, task forces, and other university service roles.

Cancer Focus

Research Interests: 

  • Investigate how social lives constitute both risk and resilience for physical health.
  • Emphasis on racial/ethnic and cultural differences in the above effects.
  • Use of a variety of methods including community and hospital-based observational studies, surveys, ecological momentary assessment, ambulatory psychophysiology, and laboratory based paradigms.
  • The lab’s current foci include studies of stress and cardiovascular risk, as well as the Hispanic Health Paradox.