BBD 2019 Keynote

Ruth Ann Norton

photo of Ruth Ann Norton Ruth Ann Norton, president and CEO of Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), is a national expert on lead poisoning prevention; innovative financing; and healthy, safe, and energy-efficient housing. Norton has led GHHI’s innovative work to use housing as a platform for improved health, economic, and social outcomes for America’s children and seniors. She was the architect for Maryland’s 98% reduction in childhood lead poisoning and has authored 35 pieces of lead poisoning prevention and healthy housing legislation across the United States. She is the lead author of GHHI’s “Strategic Plan to End Lead Poisoning—A Blueprint for Action” and has written numerous City- and State-level plans. She designed and co-chaired the National Summit to End Lead Poisoning and has served on numerous national panels on lead poisoning prevention for the CDC, HUD, EPA, and the White House. In addition, she has crafted successful federal policy initiatives, and her groundbreaking work has advanced the role of Medicaid as well as the energy efficiency, education, and philanthropic sectors in supporting investments in healthy housing in our nation’s lowest-income neighborhoods. An economist by training, Norton is a sought-after speaker on the moral and business case for creating healthier housing to improve outcomes for children, seniors, and communities. Her work on healthy housing’s cost-benefit analysis led GHHI to establish its Pay for Success practice, helping to scale evidence-based interventions to create healthy, safe, and energy-efficient housing.

Norton has written numerous articles and publications. Most notably, she authored the groundbreaking report “Improving Health, Economic, and Social Outcomes through Integrated Housing Intervention” as well as three recent publications: “Achieving Health and Social Equity Through Housing,” the “New Jersey Lead Poisoning Prevention Action Plan,” and “Using Pay for Success to Invest in Social Determinants of Health.”

Norton served as an expert advisor to the Pew Charitable Trust Report “10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Poisoning” and serves as an advisor to the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Over the past three decades, she has served on numerous state commissions on lead poisoning, asthma, environmental health, and Medicaid. Previously, she served as a national trustee for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Board of Directors of Groundswell, Inc., and Live Baltimore. She was a founding advisor for NEWHAB and served as a healthy homes advisor for the National Environmental Health Association.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leader and Weinberg Foundation Fellow, Norton was awarded the 2016 Tony Woods Award by the Building Performance Institute and was named by NHS Staten Island as the 2016 Social Innovator of the Year. Named as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record and recognized for advocacy by the American Academy of Pediatrics, she received the Baltimore City Health Equity Leadership Award in 2017. In October 2018, her work was honored by WE ACT in New York City.

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