Biosketch: Robert K. Ross, MD
Dr. Ross was born in New York City, and attended undergraduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Biology. Attending medical school at Penn, he was active in community health activities in West Philadelphia, and received a National Health Service Corps Public Health Scholarship. After completing a pediatric residency at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, he joined a pediatric practice at a community health center in Camden, New Jersey, from 1983 to 1988.
In Camden, Dr. Ross took a keen interest in preventive health and inner city health delivery for children. He co-founded a school-based clinic program, at Camden High School in New Jersey, serving as its medical director. From 1988 to 1990, Dr. Ross was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied government and its role in urban child health, as well as school-based clinics and adolescent health. He received a Masters Degree in Government Administration in 1990.
In June of 1990, Dr. Ross joined the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, eventually named as Commissioner of the Department. He was responsible for creating the Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the department, including the Centers for Disease Control recognized Injury Prevention Program, and also created a public-private violence prevention collaborative effort. He was instrumental in developing the Infant Immunization Initiative, and received a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Community Partnership Award in 1992 for his efforts.
Dr. Robert K. Ross was named Director of San Diego County Department of Health Services in August of 1993. Upon his arrival to San Diego County, Dr. Ross has renewed his commitment to prevention activities, addressing childhood immunization, prenatal care, substance abuse and violence prevention, AIDS prevention, health promotion, and after-school programs for middle school youth.
In November 1996, Dr. Ross was appointed Director of San Diego County's newly established Health and Human Services Agency. The Agency combines three departments and two offices dealing with children and families and with the military veteran community. The Agency has 6,000 employees and a budget in excess of 1.1 billion dollars. Major current initiatives include the planning and implementation of the County's Welfare Reform Strategic Plan, integration of health and human service delivery for children and families, the implementation of a managed care delivery model for Medi-Cal recipients, and child abuse prevention through home visiting. Key to community-based prevention efforts is the forging of collaborative efforts with schools and the law enforcement community in, for example, expanding drug courts, and the cross-border teen drinking initiative. He is a board member of the California Endowment, California Children and Families First State.