Robert K. Ross, M.D., is president and chief executive officer for The California Endowment, a health foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians. Prior to his appointment in September 2000, Dr. Ross served as director of the Health and Human Services Agency for the County of San Diego from 1993 to 2000, and Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Philadelphia from 1990 to 1993.
Dr. Ross has an extensive background as a clinician and public health administrator. His service includes: medical director for LINK School-Based Clinic Program, Camden, New Jersey; instructor of clinical medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and faculty member at San Diego State University’s School of Public Health.
Dr. Ross has been actively involved in community and professional activities at both the local and national level. He served as a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and on the boards of the National Marrow Donor Program, San Diego United Way and Jackie Robinson YMCA. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatrics, served on the President’s Summit for America’s Future and as chairman of the national Boost for Kids Initiative. Dr. Ross received his undergraduate, masters in Public Administration and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
He has received numerous awards and honors including the Council on Foundations’ 2008 Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year Award, "Youth Advocacy Humanitarian of the Year" award; the "Outstanding Community Service Award" from the Volunteers of America; the "Leadership Award" from the Hospital Council of San Diego and Imperial Counties; and the National Association of Health Services Executives “Health Administrator of the Year Citation.” He was also a recipient of the national Public Officials of the Year Award presented by Governing Magazine in 1999. Other honors include awards from Planned Parenthood Southern Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and West Philadelphia Economic Development Corporation. He also was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from 1988 to 1990, focusing on urban child health issues.
During his tenure at The California Endowment, the foundation has focused on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, strengthening the capacity of community health centers, improving health services for farm worker and ex-offender populations, and strengthening the pipeline for bringing racial and ethnic diversity to the health professions. He was also named by Capitol Weekly as one of California’s most influential civic leaders in health policy in 2006.