The son of farmworkers, Dr. Ruiz grew up in Coachella and learned at an early age that the key to attaining the American Dream is hard work and a great education. In the summer of 1990, Raul walked from business to business in the Coachella Valley asking them to invest in their community – by contributing to his education. With each investment for college, he made a promise to come back home and serve the community as a physician.
During and after his education at Harvard, Rep. Ruiz also volunteered and worked abroad. He spent a year as a medical student with Partners in Health, bringing health care to the poor in Mexico. In El Salvador and Serbia, he served as consultant to the ministers of health on emergency healthcare reform.
As promised, after earning three graduate degrees from Harvard University, Dr. Ruiz returned to the Coachella Valley, where he utilized his education and experience to not only be a leader in his community but also to serve as an emergency care physician. As the founder and director of the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative, he brought together stakeholders to improve public health and healthcare access in the community.
In 2009, he received the Influential Latino of the Year Award from the Inland Empire Hispanic Image Awards. His early humanitarian response efforts for the victims of the Haiti earthquake as the founding medical director for the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization earned him the Commander’s Award for Public Service from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne. The Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce and San Gorgonio Pass Hispanic Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2010.
As a Member of Congress, he continues his commitment to addressing health equity and improving health care for his patients by serving on the Energy & Commerce Committee.