Dr. Ruth Petersen serves as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO). The Division provides national leadership on nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention through policy and guideline development, surveillance, epidemiological and behavioral research, and technical assistance to states and communities. Dr. Petersen has a breadth of experience and leadership from multiple settings including health care, local and state health departments, national advisory groups, academic settings, the private sector, and global health platforms. Her broad, deep and diverse experience with populations, partners and stakeholders are strong assets for leading DNPAO in its focused efforts that prevent chronic diseases and strengthen equity and well-being.
Dr. Petersen received her MD and MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After training in obstetrics and gynecology in Rochester, New York, she completed the UNC Preventive Medicine Residency and a post-doctoral fellowship in health services research. Throughout her career, she has drawn on her expertise in patient care, health system change, disease prevention and community engagement to develop and guide programs, research, and policy to improve health behaviors, reduce health disparities and reduce chronic disease.