dr. Ruth Peters

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Dr. Ruth Peters is an assistant professor in Global Health at the Athena Institute, Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her current research is focused on 1) understanding and addressing complex problems in Global Health such as health-related stigma by taking a transdisciplinary approach, and 2) methodology development and in particular facilitating participation and inclusion in Global Health. She is the principle investigator and involved in research projects in multiple countries. Partners include WarChild, Universitas Indonesia, Soetomo Hospital, New York University, The Leprosy Mission India and CBM International. She supervises several PhD students.

Her training includes degrees in Public Health Research (MSc) and Development Studies (MA) from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University. In 2015 she defended her PhD thesis on leprosy-related stigma in Indonesia, for which she received the distinction cum laude. In 2018 and 2019 she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Ruth has been supported by a number of grants and fellowships, including from the Dutch Research Counsel (e.g., Rubicon Grant), Huygens scholarship programme, VSB Fonds and the Leprosy Research Initiative.

She has published research on stigma and leprosy, albinism, HIV/AIDS, mental illnesses and several non-communicable diseases; the design and implementation of stigma-reduction interventions (e.g., counselling, radio, theatre, contact); the effectiveness of stigma-reduction interventions; validation of scales and other tools; participatory video; reflective practice; intersectionality; and perceptions towards prophylaxis in leprosy. She often applies mixed methods and participatory action research approach. Several of her research projects took place in Indonesia through which she learnt to speak basic Bahasa Indonesia. She also worked or supervised work in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Congo, Uganda, Vietnam, India, Malaysia and Bangladesh. 

Ruth is co-author of more than 30 papers, as well as of more practical output such as textbook chapters and guidelines. Recent publications appeared among others in, International Journal for Equity in Health, Global Public Health, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, PLOS ONE and International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. She is associate editor of an international peer reviewed journal called Leprosy Review. She is an invited speaker for key notes at international conferences and seminars.

Ruth is also a lecturer. She has coordinated several courses including ‘Epidemiology’, ‘Disability and Development’, ‘Key Strategies in Disability and Neuropathy’, and taught in many more. She supervised over 75 master students with their thesis and internships. She is the coordinator of the specialisation International Public Health of the Master of Health Sciences, member of the Assessment Committee of the Faculty of Science and the chair of the examination board of the Royal Tropical Institute.

She lives in Amsterdam with her husband and two children.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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