Ruth Teseyem Tadesse is a Community Health Project Specialist in the Refugee Health Unit. Ruth uses data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies, and environments. Ruth supports various RHU led program evaluation efforts by creating community needs assessments, program pre and post surveys, and facilities focus group sessions. Ruth also provides technical assistance by providing training and workshops to further build capacity among ethnic based community partners serving refugee communities. Ruth played a role in creating and facilitating cultural competency workshops which are offered to organizations in the community who serve refugee communities.

Ruth contributes to community based participatory research by working with various stakeholders, such as the San Diego Refugees Communities Coalition (SDRCC), to support community led data collection and data desegregation efforts to improve barriers to understanding refugees’ behavioral health and health care needs. Under the RHU leadership, Ruth leads the Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) program, a successful initiative funded by the state of California, which supports underserved refugee communities facing significant challenges to gainful employment by removing some educational, lingual, and financial barriers to achieving their potential.

Ruth Earned her bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a Health minor, from Illinois Wesleyan University. At San Diego State University, Ruth earned a Master’s in Public Health Policy and Management from the School of Public Health, where she completed her thesis titled “Behavioral Health Prevalence, Services and Access to care Among Refugee Communities in San Diego”. As an Ethiopian, Ruth has a passion for advocacy and research with a global lens, she previously served as a Program Assistant for Engage Globally, an NGO working to provide environmental and educational community-led sustainable development in rural Northern Ghana.

Ruth joined the Center for Community Health in 2021.


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