José Ramón Fernández Peña

Associate Professor
José Ramón Fernández Peña
Associate Professor (retired)
Emeritus since 2017

Contact Information


José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, MPA - is Emeritus Associate Professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University where his work focused on health workforce diversity and cross cultural communication in health. He has a degree in medicine from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a masters’ degree in public administration from New York University. He is the founder and director of the Welcome Back Initiative (WBI) a program developed to assist internationally trained health professionals through the necessary steps to enter the US health workforce. The WBI currently includes centers in California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, New York, Texas and Colorado. In 2010 the program was recognized by the Maytree Foundation as one of the world’s 15 most successful programs for immigrant integration. In 2011, it received the E Pluribus Unum prize from the Migration Policy Institute.

Previously, Dr. Fernández-Peña worked at Mission Neighborhood Health Center in San Francisco as director of Health Education. Before arriving in California, he was an associate director for quality management at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. He’s an active member in the American Public Health Association (APHA) where he has served on the Executive Board, the Action Board, the Joint Policy Committee, and the Latino Caucus.

He received the “Champion of Health Professions Diversity” award from The California Wellness Foundation in 2011. Also in 2011 he was recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for his work on immigrant integration. In 2012, he received the Henry J Montes President’s Award from the APHA Latino Caucus for his work with the Latino community.