I am intrigued by the role of law in human health. How can law be used to improve and protect human health – and reversely – what are the legal limits to public and medical establishment’s powers in the face of human vulnerability and the innate human desire for a long and healthy life?
In pursuing, supervising, and facilitating research in this respect, I work in an interdisciplinary manner. This has led me to initiate the newly established Law Center for Health & Life at the Amsterdam Law School, which I lead together with Katrina Perehudoff and Johan Legemaate.
My work has elaborated the pathways on which power in the field of health expands towards more central levels of governance, and its impact on health-related rights of citizens (OUP monograph, 2019). Particularly in the area of infectious disease I have studied the legal responses to the influenza AH1N1 outbreak, which led to the development of a research network and on studying the nexus in the EU on health-security policy and large-scale disease outbreaks in (Dijkstra & Ruijter 2017 and de Ruijter, 2018). This work was taken up in further work in 2018 together with others, studying the key norms, values and techniques of EU governance of health crisis and disaster management (Flear & de Ruijter, 2018). Since 2018 I am working on understanding the interaction of international, regional and national regimes for infectious disease control and responses to bioterrorist attacks, through legal comparative work and qualitative research. Here the question is, what constitutional principles can guide future EU responses to health emergencies (NWO Veni). In this regard first publications of this research focus on the principle of solidarity across borders in the face of a major disease outbreaks (Beetsma, Burgoon, Nicoli, de Ruijter & Vandenbroucke, 2020, Baute & de Ruijter 2021). Furthermore, I have worked with others on access to medicines and the role of the EU as a last author (Perehudoff et al. LANCET – RE, 2021) and on the role of the EU in responding to the coronavirus outbreak in a number of publications with e.g Eleanor Brooks and Scott Greer.
My current position is that of Professor of Health Law and Policy. I completed my law degrees (with honours) both at the University of Amsterdam and, on a Fulbright fellowship, at NYC Columbia University, School of Law. I was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Law School Petrie Flom Center for Health Law and Policy; Columbia University, School of Law, and at the Ecole de Droit de la Sorbonne, Pantheon, Paris1
I am a member of the board of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development and the co-lead in a Research Priority Area on Global Health and A.I. Health Decision-making of the University of Amsterdam. There are two Horizon 2020 consortia where I am leading research on global pandemic preparedness and on EU-India relations in access to vaccines. I am also a member of the Steering Committee of the Section on Public Health and Law of the European Public Health Association. I am on the editorial board of the European Journal Risk Regulation with Cambridge University Press and on the Editorial Advisory Board of The LANCET Regional Health Europe.
When it comes to teaching, as its Director, I co-founded the Amsterdam Law Practice with many others, which is a legal experiential and clinical programme for 17 masters at the Law School. For setting up this new educational programme we were recognized through the Higher Education Award programme of the Dutch Ministery of Education. As extracurricular societal engagement, I am Director of Bureau Clara Wichmann, an NGO in strategic litigation for gender equality.
My 2019 monograph EU Health Law & Policy: The Expansion on EU power in Public Health and Health Care with OUP was reviewed here and here.
"EU Health Law & Policy is a deeply researched book with an impressive marshalling of the literature; interestingly, de Ruijter couples her doctrinal legal analysis with qualitative research data relating the accounts of civil servants working on healthpolicy in the EU institutional context, which makes for a richer account of her findings ... EU Health Law & Policy is an excellently crafted monograph deserving of a wide-ranging audience." - Edward S. Dove, University of Edinburgh, SCRIPTed
"In any circumstances this book would be one of the best works on European Union health policy and law, and a notable contribution to research on law and society or the European Union in general. In the circumstances of COVID-19 it is also one of the most important ... this book is a fine piece of scholarship whose timeliness is a favor to all of us." - Scott L. Greer, University of Michigan, Journal of Health Politics and Law