Ruth first became interested in health care when she qualified as a nurse and midwife in 1970, and subsequently trained in the acute management of spinal injuries. She started her professional career as an acupuncturist in 1978, and as a herbalist and natural therapist in 1980. For the last 30 years Ruth has been the director of Melbourne Holistic Health Group (formally Clifton Hill Natural Therapies Centre), a multidisciplinary health care clinic dedicated to a collaborative model of health care. Her specific area of interest is in the treatment of gynaecological disorders, particularly the management of the mid-life woman, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), infertility, endometriosis and abnormalities of the menstrual cycle.
Ruth has played an integral role in the education of natural therapists in the area of gynaecology, and in the acceptance of herbal medicine as a valid component in the management of these complaints by the wider medical community. She has lectured widely on gynaecology and obstetric complaints, initially to undergraduates, and more recently to practicing professionals around Australia, New Zealand and further abroad. She is the author of the acclaimed text 'Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle' which is used in Australia and internationally as a textbook to aid the training of natural therapists.
In addition, Ruth is a Fellow of the National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA), and is adjunct senior lecturer at Southern Cross University. She has been actively involved with government bodies in the quest to gain formal recognition for medical herbalists in her role as Vice President of NHAA. Ruth and colleagues have also conducted a preliminary investigation into the value of herbal medicine in premature ovarian failure in conjunction with the Jean Hailes Foundation and Melbourne IVF. Currently she is a member of a National Health and Medical Research Council-funded reference group investigating the ways in which consumers decide between complementary and conventional health systems for the treatment of depression.