Wednesday, June 22, 2022
To say Ruth Roman has been at the center of high-level decisions would be an understatement. In her role as the executive officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, her leadership produced positive outcomes that have rippled across the world, including orchestrating Phase II of the coordination of Human Health and Services’ federal Zika-related efforts and response in Puerto Rico.
Roman joins The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth July 6 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. She comes to the UNT enterprise with more than 30 years’ experience in public health with a focus on developing, implementing and leading public health programs at the local, national and federal levels.
At HSC, Roman will be responsible for overseeing the core functional areas, such as finance, campus security, operations, built environment and more, as well as developing and implementing the long-term goals for the university’s growth and improvement.
Her responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, duties currently managed by Gregory R. Anderson, executive vice president of finance and operations, as he transitions into a new role with the UNT System. Roman will report directly to Dr. Michael R. Williams, HSC president and UNT System chancellor.
“I am thrilled to welcome Ruth Roman to our HSC community as the new chief operating officer,” said Dr. Charles Taylor, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. “Her more than 30 years of experience in public health and extensive track record in program evaluation and development, policy creation and building partnerships at every level of government make her an exceptional choice. I look forward to working closely with her to advance our HSC Roadmap and enhance our operational excellence as we move ahead. Ruth is exactly the person HSC needs to lead the next phases of our growth.”
As an executive officer at HHS, Roman was responsible for the planning, development, coordination, allocation and use of operational resources. This included the administration of financial services, human resources, management information, travel, facilities, security and emergency management, administrative support, contracts, agreements and grants, and oversight on modifications necessary to carry out HHS operational policy changes.
Prior to becoming the executive officer, Roman served as the COO for Commissioned Corps Headquarters, Office of the Surgeon General. In this role, she managed all aspects of the operations. Her leadership and oversight were key in that department’s development and implementation of crucial organizational improvements. She fostered collaborations with all corps stakeholders and was responsible for the restructuring of the corps as it entered a new phase of expansion.
“I am extremely excited about joining HSC as part of the leadership team, working alongside such committed leadership and staff dedicated to improving the opportunities and lives of those in the community and those who are or have been disenfranchised,” Roman said. “I will bring my experience and leadership to bear in collaborating across HSC and providing guidance and direction in multiple operational areas to ensure we continue to effectively grow. I am committed to bolstering an atmosphere with positive working relationships built on trust, honesty and mutual respect.
“The health care landscape is changing, and HSC’s mission — to create solutions for a healthier community — positions us to provide expertise and leadership to empower our staff, providers, stakeholders and the community in this transformation,” she continued. “These are exciting times at the university, and I am looking forward to contributing to the overall mission, ensuring that the organization has the resources and structures it needs.”
Throughout her career, Roman has led on the frontlines of public health. She served as assistant director, communicable diseases, New York City Department of Health; administrator, Department of Infectious Diseases, Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn & Queens, N.Y.; director, HIV/STD, National Council of La Raza, Washington, D.C.; director, Office of Program Operations and deputy executive officer, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration; and senior advisor, HIV/AIDS Bureau, HRSA.
Her passion and dedication for advocating on behalf of people who are vulnerable, uninsured, underinsured and marginalized has driven her career. She has overseen programs addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, mental health and substance abuse within those populations.
“I was very impressed with Ruth when we first met during her interview,” Williams said. “She is a first-generation college graduate who has fought her whole life for the opportunities she needed to achieve success. I admire her spirit, dedication and her will to fight for the underserved and vulnerable populations in our communities. She told me she was looking for a place with a values-based culture, and HSC was the right place. I know the work she has done her whole career is aligned with HSC’s values, purpose and mission. I look forward to watching her achieve high levels of success here.”
Roman earned a Master of Public Health in health care administration from Columbia University in New York and her undergraduate degree from Brown University in Rhode Island.