Emily Groff
In College of Human Ecology, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Human Centered Design, Psychology
Headshot of Ruth Browne

Ruth Browne, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York.

The inaugural Flemmie Kittrell Visiting Scholar in the College of Human Ecology, Dr. Ruth C. Browne — president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York (RMH-NY) — will come to campus Oct. 4–6 for a series of events, including a public lecture. Her lecture, “Nourishing Innovation and Impact through Health Equity: Is Everyone at the Table?” will be from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the Human Ecology Commons. 

During her time on campus, Browne will also meet with Cornell Human Ecology students, faculty and staff; visit classes and host a workshop. The workshop, titled “Cultivating Community Leadership in Action Research: Moves that Matter” will take place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, in Room G219 of Martha Van Rensselaer Hall. Participants will share their current approach to community engaged research, and explore new ways to identify, recruit, and cultivate community leaders, including those whose perspectives may currently be excluded or missing.

The visiting scholar program honors Flemmie Kittrell (1904-1980), a global leader in home economics education and the first Black woman in the U.S. to receive a Ph.D. in nutrition (and the first in any subject at Cornell). As part of the College’s efforts to highlight the importance of science and technology to human flourishing, the program brings to campus notable experts who are tackling present-day challenges to the human experience. It expands on a previous initiative, the Flemmie Kittrell Lecture series, which brought expert speakers to campus between 1991 and the early 2000s to “address emerging issues of a multicultural society.”

Browne is an innovator in the field of urban health and education, with a focus on building consensus and engaging stakeholder communities. She has led RMH-NY, which provides a strong, caring and seamless circle of support for pediatric cancer and other serious illness patients and their families, since 2016. Before that, she was the founding CEO of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH), which aims to address health inequities and expand access to care for vulnerable urban populations. An associate professor at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Browne was the chief architect of the community-academic partnership between the university and AAIUH. She is also a founder and a past principal investigator and director of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, an NIH-funded Center of Excellence.

In recommending Browne, the anonymous nominator called her “an extraordinary individual” and “a trailblazer in her field,” writing, “Dr. Browne represents the values so poignantly embodied in Dr. Kittrell and would be a wonderful visiting scholar.”

For more information about the event, contact Cindy Thompson at or (607) 255-2138. 

About Ronald McDonald House: Ronald McDonald House New York provides families of children with cancer and other serious illnesses a strong, caring and seamless circle of support. During a difficult time, we’re devoted to easing the burden. Through our wide array of facilities, services and programs, we address social factors of health so that families can focus on what matters most: their child.