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Ruth M Parker, M.D.

Curriculum Vitae

Biographical Section

Name: Ruth M Parker
Degree(s): M.D.
Office Address:
Telephone: (404) 778-1639 (Office)
Email Address: (University)

Current Primary Academic Appointments

Hire Date: 12/1988 - Current Professor Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA
Hire Date: 01/2012 - Current Professor Pediatrics Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA

Current Joint & Secondary Appointments  

Current Clinical Appointments  

Current Administrative Appointments  

Previous Academic Appointments  

Previous Clinical Appointments  

Previous Administrative Appointments  

Licensure & Board Certifications  

Specialty Boards  


1981 M.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Postgraduate Training  

Military/Government Service  

National & International Committee Memberships  

State & Regional Committee Memberships  

Institutional Committee Memberships  


Editorships & Editorial Boards  

Manuscript Reviewer  

Honors & Awards  

Society Memberships  

Organization of National/International Conferences: Administrative Positions  

Organization of National/International Conferences: Sessions as Chair  

Research Focus  

Dr. Parker’s research has focused on medical education and on health services of underserved populations. For the last 15 years, she has focused predominantly on health literacy. She was Co-PI on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Literacy in Health study, which created a now widely used instrument for measuring health literacy and helped to define the prevalence of the problem. She subsequently collaborated with Prudential Health Services Researchers to define the prevalence and associations of limited health literacy among managed care seniors in 4 geographically diverse locations. She has collaborated extensively with various communities (local/national, private/public, small/large) to help define and advocate for improved health literacy in America, and has numerous peer-reviewed publications on the topic.. She co-edited the complete bibliography of medicine on health literacy for the National Library of Medicine. She chaired the expert panel for the Council of Scientific Affairs for the AMA that authored the frequently cited JAMA white paper on health literacy. For the last 5 years, Dr. Parker has done more health policy and advocacy for the issue, allowing her to work closely with multiple national organizations (including the IOM, AMA, and ACP and its Foundation); members of industry (pharmaceutical and health services providers); and members of government (including NLM, HRSA, NIH, AHRQ, CDC, FDA, VA, the Surgeon General’s office/ODPHP, and DOE). Her understanding of health literacy comes from listening to patients, those who have problems with understanding how to take care of their health and navigate an increasing complex health care system. Dr. Parker’s passion for advocacy to build a health literate America comes from first hand experience with underserved, vulnerable patients. In 2003, Dr. Parker began working with the American College of Physicians Foundation on their national initiative to improve health communications. Over the following year, their focus became health literacy. She initially chaired their Patient Literacy Advisory Board, and in 2005 became the Chair of their Programs Committee. In her current position, she oversees the Foundation’s programs, which include: Health Tips—What You Can Do, the Diabetes Self-Management Tool Kit, the Prescription Bottle Labeling Project, the Annual National Health Communication Conference (co-sponsored by the IOM), and the Information Rx Project. As Chair of the Programs committee, Dr. Parker serves on the Executive Board of the Foundation and is a Trustee of the Foundation.

Patents Issued

Patents Pending

Active Grant Support: Federally Funded  

Active Grant Support: Private Foundation Funded  

Active Grant Support: Contracts  

Active Grant Support: Other  

Previous Grant Support: Federally Funded  

Previous Grant Support: Private Foundation Funded  

Previous Grant Support: Contracts  

Previous Grant Support: Other  

Clinical Service Contributions  

Dr. Parker joined the Emory faculty in 1988 and was Co-Director of the Walk-In Clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital for several years. Her clinical interests are in general internal medicine, with special focus on the broader clinical and health issues most relevant to underserved populations. She has focused all her clinical work at Grady Memorial Hospital, an ideal setting for those with interest in the health of underserved patient populations. She was in-patient attending on the general medicine service for years, and has continuously served as a general medicine attending in the urgent care setting. As clinic co-director, she organized teaching conferences for residents and obtained grant funding for incorporating on-site services of a social worker into the urgent care setting. She also facilitated the funding and administrative work to obtain a nurse practitioner with expertise in out-patient gynecology for the walk-in clinic. Efforts to incorporate the services of these providers grew from her observations of the unique role of walk-in care for underserved patients. Efforts to provide preventive services at the point of contact led to on-site cervical and breast cancer screening in the walk-in setting, and an enhanced role for a social service provider that could link patients in need of housing, food, jobs, substance abuse counseling, and mental health counseling to community resources. Teaching of residents and medical students in the walk- in clinic setting included education about the role of these extended care providers.

Formal Teaching: Medical Student  

Formal Teaching: Graduate Student  

Formal Teaching: Residency/Training Program  

Formal Teaching: Other (Physician's Assistant, Physical Therapist, etc.)  

Supervisory Teaching: Ph.D. Students Directly Supervised  

Supervisory Teaching: Post-doctoral Fellows Directly Supervised  

Supervisory Teaching: Residency Program  

Supervisory Teaching: Other  

Lectureships, Seminar Invitations, Visiting Professorships  

Invitations to National/International Conferences  

Community Service  

Other Activities  

Bibliography: Research Articles  

Bibliography: Manuscripts  

Bibliography: Article Reviews  

Bibliography: Book Reviews  

Bibliography: Symposium Contributions  

Bibliography: Books Edited and Written  

Bibliography: Films and Training Videos  

Bibliography: Training Manuals  

Bibliography: Software and Computer Programs  

Bibliography: Published Abstracts  

Bibliography: Other Publications  

© 2015 Emory University
Last Update: 05/29/2015