Jonathan J. Rucks

Director of Advocacy


Jonathan J. Rucks is Pathfinder International's Director of Advocacy.

Jonathan is responsible for leading Pathfinder’s efforts to build public policy and legislative support for international sexual and reproductive health programs, laws and policies that advance the rights of women, men, youth, and adolescents around the world. Jonathan joined Pathfinder after working on Capitol Hill for eight years for Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Jim Oberstar. He has expertise in domestic and global health care, reproductive and sexual health, and domestic and international family planning. Jonathan holds a Master’s degree from the College of International Security Affairs at National Defense University where his research focused on foreign aid reform, global health, and family planning.


Areas of Expertise: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Advocacy, Contraception & Family Planning, US Foreign Aid Policy, Population, Global Policy

Education: MA from the College of International Security Affairs at National Defense University

Previously lived and/or worked in: South Africa

Joined Pathfinder in: May 2012

Do you have a personal connection to Pathfinder's work?
During my time in Representative Jim Oberstar's office, I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia. In country, we visited a mix of Pathfinder family planning and HIV and AIDS programs. But, it was a visit to a fistula clinic that touched me the most, and one young woman in particular. I have since forgotten her name, but not her story. She was married off very young and got pregnant before her body was developed enough to carry a child. She was in labor for days and as a result gave birth to a stillborn baby and suffered from fistula for six months, until she was among the very fortunate to receive treatment. Family planning could have saved her from this horrific experience. Whenever there is talk about cutting funding or access to family planning I see this young girl's face.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Most people are surprised to learn that I grew up on a sheep farm in Minnesota. I'm not sure if that says more about them or me!

What reading would you recommend to those interested in international reproductive health?
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. It's a beautifully written novel that exposes the health needs of individuals in the developing world, and is ultimately a story about healing.


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