The California Wellness Foundation is proud to present its 2011 Champions of Health Professions Diversity awardees. Each receives a cash award of $25,000 as an acknowledgment of their commitment to increasing California’s health care workforce and its diversity.
Alexander oversees Academic Advancement Programs (AAP), including academic advising, peer learning, mentoring, research opportunities and scholarships. Previously, Alexander was the associate dean for student affairs in the School of Dentistry at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He founded UCSF’s Dental Careers Program, which offered the nation’s first dental post-baccalaureate program. Prior to that, Alexander created and ran student diversity programs at Marquette University and Brandeis University.
After José Ramón Fernández-Peña immigrated to the United States, he discovered how complicated it was to relicense as a physician here. About 10 years later, Fernández-Peña founded the Welcome Back Initiative (WBI) to assist foreign-trained health professionals overcome barriers to licensure and employment in the U.S. health sector. He is currently the executive director of WBI, an associate professor of health education at San Francisco State University (SFSU), and co-director of Community Health Works of San Francisco, a partnership program of City College of San Francisco and SFSU. Fernández-Peña is also a senior fellow at the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
For nearly two decades, John Matsui has advocated for increasing access to higher education among all individuals, particularly those from underserved, underrepresented groups who historically have not participated. He co-founded and serves as director of the Biology Scholars Program (BSP) at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). BSP is a national model for supporting low-income and first-generation students in science and health careers. Matsui is also the assistant dean for biological sciences at UC Berkeley.