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Tufts Public Health

Fernando Ona

Clinical Associate Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine
Department: Public Health & Community Medicine
Programs: Public Health

Fernando Ona

Clinical Associate Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine
Department: Public Health & Community Medicine
Programs: Public Health

Phone 617-636-0362
Campus: Boston


  • ‚ÄčTrauma: Survivors of Torture, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Vicarious Traumatization, Compassion Fatigue, Narrative Medicine
  • Environmental Health: Slum/Informal Settlements Health, Solid Waste Management, Food Safety and Sanitation, Global Disaster Management/Humanitarian Aid, Pesticide Exposure, Political Ecology, Environmental Health Social Movements
  • Epidemiology: Environmental Epidemiology, Spatial Epidemiology (CI/PPGIS)
  • Sociomedical Sciences: Embodiment, Social Exclusion/Inclusion, Institutions, Adultification, Mental Health, Resilience and Risk, Human Ecology, Systems Theory

Fernando trained as an environmental epidemiologist and medical anthropologist with interests in systems theory, phenomenology, Bayesian methods, complex humanitarian emergencies and spiritual-therapeutic interventions. His research interests are primarily with refugees, internally displaced populations, and asylum seekers who are survivors of torture. Fernando also works with ultra-poor populations living in informal settlements. Geographically, Fernando works in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and among refugee populations in Europe and North America. At Tufts, Fernando supports the dual-degree PA/MPH and BA/MPH programs.

Fernando holds faculty affiliations with the Department of Anthropology, Community Health, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and Race, Colonialism and Diaspora Studies. He currently is a part-time psychotherapist with the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights at Boston Medical Center. Fernando is also a Dean's Fellow in the M.Div. Chaplaincy program at Boston University, School of Theology where he is pursuing a certificate in Religion and Conflict Transformation. Fernando spends his time between Boston and his biodynamic farm in Vermont.


  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco
  • MPH, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
  • MSW, Boston University School of Social Work
  • LCSW
  • MDiv (cand.), Boston University, School of Theology


Cislaghi, B., Bukuluki, P, Chowdhury, M.; Espinosa Miranda, A., Kenny, L., Kohli, A., Kusumaningrm, S., Harouna Brah, B., Love, C., Mathpati, M., Nkwi, P., Ona, F. Porter, J., Ruiz-Casares, M., Saldanha, N., Sulaiman, M., Wessels, M. (2019) Global health is political; can it also be compassionate. Journal of Global Health  9(2): 1-4. doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.020306

Piwowarczyk, L., Flinton, K., Ona, F. (2019) Refugee Resilience and Spirituality: Harnessing Social and Cultural Coping Strategies in Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives, eds. Berthold, S. M. and Libal, K. R. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Press.

Sheats, J.L., de Leon, B., Ona, F. F. (2014) Where are the fresh fruits and vegetables?: A systematic exploration of access to food stores offering fresh fruits and vegetables as told by Mid-western African American women. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition.

Sheats, J. L., Middlestadt, S. E., Ona, F. F., Juarez, P. D., & Kolbe, L. J. (2013). Understanding African American Women's Decisions to Buy and Eat Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: An Application of the Reasoned Action Approach. Journal of nutrition education and behavior.