Dominique G. Ruggieri, Ph.D.
Dr. Ruggieri earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication and Media Studies, and her Ph.D. in Public Health. This academic background, coupled with her professional experiences in public health research and interventions, fostered her passion for designing health messages for diverse cultural and low-literacy populations. She believes that tailored health messages are an important first step toward improved understanding and decision making about health behaviors. In addition to teaching a variety of classes at Temple University for 10 years, Dr. Ruggieri has had significant professional experiences at the Temple University Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE), the Risk Communication Laboratory (RCL) at Temple University, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Bioterrorism Unit, and the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Office of Health Communication and Health Disparities (OHCHD). As a researcher and health communication consultant, Dr. Ruggieri has applied her expertise to numerous health areas and populations, including but not limited to: type 2 diabetes prevention for youth, smoking cessation for college-aged females, colorectal cancer screening decision making for low-literacy urban African Americans, risk and bioterrorism communication for low-literacy populations, stress management and healthy eating training for police officers, and pediatric obesity prevention for school nurses and parents. While she enjoys working in all areas of health, her greatest passion is in designing messages to educate individuals about obesity, nutrition, and exercise. Dr. Ruggieri is well known for her “consumer and user friendly” approach to assist people in understanding sometimes complex dietary issues such as trans fats, fiber, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods and food enrichment. She has also conducted healthy eating workshops and trainings for corporations, organizations and governmental agencies on a local, regional and national level. Her current research focuses on parental perceptions of body mass index (BMI) report cards, as well as lifestyle factors affecting healthy eating and weight management.
Ph.D., Public Health (2011), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
M.A., Broadcasting, Telecommunications, and Mass Media (2004), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
B.A., Communication Studies (2002), West Chester University, West Chester, PA
2012 – Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services, Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA
2012: Health Communications Consultant, Office of Health Communications and Health Disparities, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
2008 – 2012: Adjunct Faculty, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2009: Research Assistant, Risk Communication Laboratory (RCL), Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2007 – 2008: Project Director, Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2005 – 2010: Nutrition Consultant, Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) Police Officer Education and Training Program, Police Departments of Philadelphia and Chester County, Philadelphia and West Chester, PA
2005 – 2009: Researcher, Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2005 – 2006: Research Assistant, Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2005 – 2006: Co-Director, Conference on Obesity for the Health Professional, Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) and Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2005 – 2006: Health and Risk Communication Consultant, Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Bioterrorism Unit, Philadelphia, PA
2005: Research Associate and Consultant, The Forum of Executive Women (FOEW) in coordination with the Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Mass Media Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2005: Adjunct Faculty, Strategic & Organizational Communication Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2003 – 2004: Adjunct Faculty, Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Mass Media Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
IHS 248: Health and the School-Aged Child
IHS 253: Nutrition: Health and Disease
IHS 343: Helping and Healing: Ethics, Community, and Personal Transformation
IHS 495: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Health Services
HED 574: Concepts of Nutrition and Health
HSV 700: Health Administration Integrated Capstone
Ruggieri, D.G. & Bass, S.B. (In Press). A Comprehensive Review of School-Based BMI Screening Programs and Their Implications for School Health: Do the Controversies Accurately Reflect the Research? Journal of School Health.
Fleisher, L., Ruggieri, D.G., Miller, S.M., Albrecht, T., Buzaglo, J., et al. (2014). Application of best practice approaches for designing decision support tools: The Preparatory Education About Clinical Trials (PRE-ACT) study. Patient Education and Counseling, 96, 1, 63-71.
Bass, S.B., Greener, J., Ruggieri, D.G., Parvanta, C., Mora, G., et al. (Submitted). Attitudes and perceptions of a “dirty bomb” radiological terror event in urban, minority residents with limited literacy: Results from a qualitative study and implications for effective risk communication. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.
Gordon, T.F., Bass, S.B., Ruzek, S.B., Wolak, C., Rovito, M.J., Ruggieri, D.G., et al. (2014). Developing a typology of African Americans with limited literacy based on preventive health practice orientation: Implications for colorectal cancer screening strategies. Journal of Health Communication, DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2013.872725.
Ruggieri, D.G., Bass, S.B., Rovito, M.J., Ward, S., Gordon, T.F., et al. (2013). Perceived colonoscopy barriers and facilitators among urban African American patients and their medical residents. Journal of Health Communication, 18, 4, 372-390.
Bass, S.B., Gordon, T.F., Ruzek, S.B., Wolak, C., Ruggieri, D.G., et al. (2013). Developing a Computer Touch-screen Interactive Colorectal Screening Decision Aid for a Low-Literacy African American Population: Lessons Learned. Health Promotion Practice, 14, 4, 589-598.
Bass, S.B., Gordon, T.F., Ruzek, S.B., Wolak, C., Ward, S., Paranjape, A., Lin, K., Meyer, B., and Ruggieri, D.G. (2010). Perceptions of Colorectal Cancer Screening in Urban African American Clinic Patients: Differences by Gender and Screening Status. Journal of Cancer Education, 26, 1, 121-128.
Dr. Ruggieri has two major areas of research: parental perceptions of body mass index (BMI) report cards and lifestyle factors affecting healthy eating and weight management.
BMI report cards are an important tool used by schools in Pennsylvania and other states across the country to communicate with parents about their child’s body mass index. While these report card messages have the potential to help families prevent, recognize, and initiate changes regarding an unhealthy weight status for their child(ren), these messages must be well-received, appreciated, and understood by parents/guardians. Using interviews, focus groups, surveys, and perceptual mapping methods to evaluate the BMI report card program in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), Dr. Ruggieri designed a newly tailored BMI report card for the SDP parent/guardian population.
Dr. Ruggieri’s work in the areas of healthy eating and weight management has fostered a strong interest in the numerous lifestyle factors that influence our health decisions. Although there are a variety of factors that are unique to everyone, some consistent lifestyle factors often appear to influence these choices: coping styles, time management skills, social interaction and assertiveness, exercise habits, nutrient density of one’s diet, and causes of stress. While most of these factors are not traditionally coupled with dietary interventions, Dr. Ruggieri believes that an initial assessment of these lifestyle factors can greatly improve the tailoring of a healthy eating program, as well as one’s likelihood to make healthy choices. She has collaborated on the development of a comprehensive lifestyle factor assessment instrument, and plans to expand her work in this area by analyzing whether such a tool can improve healthy eating and weight management programs.