Introducing our 2021 Solas Award Honoree, Dr. José Ramón Fernández-Peña

We are pleased to announce that on March 3, 2021, we will be honoring Dr. José Ramón Fernández-Peña with the 2021 Dennis Clark Solas Award.

José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, MPA is a visionary leader who has been at the forefront of immigrant inclusion in the United States for decades. As the current president of the American Public Health Association, the founder of the Welcome Back Initiative, a founding member of IMPRINT, and a friend and advisor to The Welcoming Center who helped us design and launch our International Professionals Program, Dr. Fernández-Peña is a highly esteemed, yet humble advocate for equitable policies and programs that respect and value the contributions of all people, regardless of where they were born.

Over the past year, as the pandemic has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, isolated millions of individuals, separated countless families, strained health care systems and shuttered businesses, immigrants have remained on the frontlines as essential healthcare workers. In this extraordinary time, we are delighted to honor an extraordinary person who built his career around making sure immigrants are protected, valued, respected, and included in meaningful ways to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare for everyone.

Dr. Fernández-Peña will be joining us virtually from his home in the Chicago area where he is the director of Health Professions Advising at Northwestern University and continues to advise the Welcome Back Initiative (WBI), a program he founded in 2001 to assist immigrant health professionals already living in the U.S. through the necessary steps to enter the U.S. health workforce. The WBI was recognized by the Maytree Foundation in 2010, as one of the world’s 15 most successful programs for immigrant integration and in 2011, the program received the E Pluribus Unum prize from the Migration Policy Institute.

Dr. Fernández-Peña has advised the White House Domestic Policy Council on the economic integration of foreign-trained professionals and has served as an expert panelist on this topic at national and international forums. In 2011, he received the “Champion of Change” award from the Obama White House for his work on immigrant integration, and “Champion of Health Professions Diversity” award from The California Wellness Foundation.

Dr. Fernández-Peña earned his medical degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and his masters’ degree in public administration from New York University.

Each year The Welcoming Center presents the Dennis Clark Solas Award to an individual or individuals whose vision, voice, and life illuminate the positive impact immigrants have on our region. We are proud to present this year’s Solas Award to Dr. José Ramón Fernández-Peña, someone who has made a significant impact on the lives of immigrants in our region and across the U.S.

We invite you to join us on March 3rd, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for the award presentation followed by a one-on-one conversation conducted by our friend and former colleague, Amanda Bergson-Shilcock! LEARN MORE ABOUT SOLAS 2021 AND REGISTER NOW >>

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