I am honored to announce that the 2022 School of Social Policy & Practice Commencement address will be given by Dr. Barbara Ferrer. Dr. Ferrer currently leads the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which protects health, prevents disease, and promotes equity and well-being among LA County’s more than 10 million residents.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer is a nationally-recognized public health leader with over 40 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, educational leader, researcher, community advocate, and public health director. She has a proven track record of working collaboratively to improve population outcomes through efforts that build health, education, and racial equity.
As the Public Health Director, she oversees a budget of over $1.8 billion and directs a multidisciplinary workforce of nearly 6,000 staff. Under Dr. Ferrer’s leadership, Public Health works alongside the Departments of Health Services and Mental Health to integrate services across departments to best serve residents throughout the County’s 4,000 square miles. Dr. Ferrer guided the region’s COVID-19 pandemic response, in collaboration with a vast network of county and community-based partners. She leads the Department’s Incident Command System, established at the onset of the health crisis to facilitate informed decision-making and swift implementation of mitigation and response activities, including Health Officer Orders and safety protocols.
Previously, Dr. Ferrer served as the Chief Strategy Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she was responsible for developing the strategic direction and providing leadership to the foundation’s key program areas, including education & learning; family economic security; food, health & well-being; racial equity; community engagement; and leadership development. Prior to working at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Ferrer served as the Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, where she built innovative partnerships and led a range of health programs to address inequities in health outcomes and support healthy families and communities.
Dr. Ferrer received her PhD in Social Welfare from Brandeis University, a Master of Arts in Public Health from Boston University, a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
I am looking forward to celebrating the class of 2022 at the School of Social Policy & Practice Commencement in person at 6:30 PM on Saturday, May 14th. I also acknowledge that holding the commencement ceremony on a Saturday prevents some members of our SP2 community from attending due to religious reasons. While we worked to make this event inclusive, we regret this will not be the case for everyone. We continue to try to minimize such conflicts for all our events, including future commencement ceremonies. Additional information about Commencement can be found on the SP2 Commencement website and the University Commencement website.
Sara S. Bachman, Ph.D. Dean School of Social Policy & Practice University of Pennsylvania