Ruth Westra, DO, MPH

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Ruth Westra

Contact Info

Office Phone 218-726-8552

Office Address:
University of Minnesota Duluth
143 SMED
1035 University Dr
Duluth, MN 55812

Mt. Clemens General Hospital

DO, Des Moines University

MPH, Loma Linda University


Ruth Westra, DO, MPH, chairs the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health on the Duluth campus. She also serves as interim head of the Department of Biomedical Health and Population Sciences, directs the obstetrical longitudinal elective and Rural Academy of Leadership courses for first- and second-year medical students, and serves as Rural Physician Associate Program faculty and faculty advisor to the student-run HOPE Clinic.

Before joining the Duluth campus in 2001, she worked in OB private practice as a medical clinic coordinator at Iron Range VA Medical Center in Michigan and at Twin Ports VA Outpatient Clinic in Wisconsin.


Academic medicine, preventive health, health promotion and education, women’s health, rural medicine


Research Summary/Interests

OB Longitudinal Experiences; Rural Medicine; Medical School Curriculum Development

Research Funding Grants

2011-16, HRSA, PI, "Rural Medical Scholars Program"


Pearson J, Westra R. Early course in obstetrics increases likelihood of practice including obstetrics. Fam Med. 2016;48(9):720-724.

Carlson S, Dresow B, Murugappan M, ...Westra R, Christensen R, et al. Impact of crisis prevention training on student confidence in patient encounters. Journal of Student-Run Clinics. 2016 Sep 30 [last modified: 2016 Sep 30]. Edition 1.

Westra R, Pearson J. Obstetrics Longitudinal Course. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2016. Available at: Accessed October 25, 2016.

Zink T, Center B, Finstad D, Boulger JG, Repesh LA, Westra R, et al. Efforts to graduate more primary care physicians and physicians who will practice in rural areas: Examining outcomes from the University of Minnesota Duluth and Rural Physician Associate Program. Academic Medicine. 2010;85(4):599-604.

Westra R, Lange M, Vidor N. HOPE Clinic: Caring for the underserved. Minnesota Healthcare News. 2009;7(10):22-23.

Westra R, Lange M, Vidor N. HOPE Clinic: Caring for the underserved. Minnesota Physician. 2009;XXIII(3):1,12-13.

Elliott BA, Westra R. Reproductive health care in rural communities: Ethical considerations. In: Nelson WA, ed. Handbook for Rural Health Care Ethics: A Practical Guide for Professionals. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College; 2009.



Course Director for Introduction to Rural Primary Care Medicine Course 6420; Course Director for Family Connection Elective 6997; Course Director for Obstetrical Longitudinal Elective 6987; Director for Rural Academy of Leadership Grant Initiative; Faculty Instructor for Applied Anatomy/Physical Diagnosis Course 6505; Faculty Instructor for Clinical Rounds and Clerkship Course 6441/6442; Faculty Instructor for Year 3 and 4 Students Workshops