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 July 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 in health philanthropy, as a public health executive, and as a clinician. 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. 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. Dr. Ross was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from 1988 to 1990, focusing on urban child health issues.
Dr. Ross has been actively involved in community and professional activities at both the regional and national level. He serves as a Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, a Board member of the California Health Benefit Exchange Board, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Co‐Chair, Diversity in Philanthropy Coalition; Board member, USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy; and has served as a Board member of Grantmakers in Health , National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the National Marrow Donor Program, San Diego United Way and Jackie Robinson YMCA.
He has received numerous awards and honors including the 2011 Public Health Champion award from the UCLA School of Public Health, 2011 Latino Health Alliance Champion Award, 2011 California Association of Human Relations Organization Civil Rights Award, 2009 Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Access to Justice Award, and the Council on Foundations’ 2008 Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year Award. He has also been named by Capitol Weekly as one of California’s most influential civic leaders in health policy, and he was recently named by the NonProfit Times as one of the 50 Most Influential Non‐Profit Leaders in America. In 1999 he was named by Governing Magazine as a national Public Official of the Year for his leadership in innovative health and social services delivery.
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, reducing childhood obesity, 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. In the Los Angeles region, he has provided leadership to support the re‐opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center and the revitalization of Charles Drew University. In 2010, The California Endowment launched a 10‐year statewide commitment investing $1 billion to advance policies and forge partnerships to build healthy communities and a healthy California. Recently, he has helped bring greater philanthropic attention to the health and well‐being of young men of color across California and the nation. Dr. Ross and his wife Robin have four children, and he serves on the Vestry Board at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.