Steven K. Ragsdale is a senior consultant and former administrator with more than 25 years building and managing hospital operations, developing health care innovations, and advancing pathways to better and safer care. His work in diversity, equity, and inclusion is guided by his steep understanding and desire to appreciate concepts that drive difference as a normal part of society and how it animates behavior and performance over time. His interpretation of systems is often paired with historical analysis that helps shape innovative models aimed at improving outcomes and efficiencies in disparate treatment. His strategic efforts have led to measurable cost saving improvements for many across the United States health care arena. He joined the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as associate faculty in 2020.
Nationally, Ragsdale developed and piloted a patient safety program in several states to determine the safety and consumer benefits to the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program effecting more than a half million American government employees. In 2002, Ragsdale shifted his interest to investigating and understanding how the historic social culture of the medical community impacts individual and systemic behaviors in education, research, and care efforts. Ragsdale received Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare training at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute learning to identify systemic defects in health care. In 2008, he received training in systems theory and design at the Ackoff Center for Advancement of Systems Approaches at the University of Pennsylvania-School of Organizational Dynamics. Ragsdale combined his understanding of history and systems dynamics to become a recognized leader in understanding how individual decision-making becomes systematized behaviors that concretize over time.
Today, Ragsdale provides expertise on standards of diversity, equity, and inclusion across medicine, education, environmental justice and the law. As a lecturer, he provides guidance to students and professionals seeking to understand the value of socio-ecological modeling in developing culturally competent systems. In graduate education crossing medicine, public health, nursing, education, engineering, social work, and the law, Ragsdale provides guidance on the intersection of social history, social determining factors, U.S. policy, and the professional cultures that often inhibit optimal outcomes.
Ragsdale has helped expand research, policy, and community efforts that help expand services to underrepresented and vulnerable populations since 1997. In 2011, he served on the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council’s Health Disparities Workgroup that developed legislation helping to expand the focus on health disparities while reducing barriers to equitable care. More recently, he served a Maryland legislative workgroup focused on a creating a Health in All Policy framework that can preemptively mitigate disparate health outcomes.
Ragsdale has a degree in history and cultural studies in Latin America and a Master of Science in Law from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. He serves on the board of directors of the Baltimore City Historical Society, where he is chairman of the Education Subcommittee, and of Blue Water Baltimore, where he is a member of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee. Ragsdale was born in Baltimore and continues to enjoy living in Maryland.