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Angela R. Fernandez

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Angela R. Fernandez

Born and raised in the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin, Dr. Fernandez has built her research agenda on nearly two decades of combined national and international social work, and public health practice and service with Indigenous, Latinx and other minoritized communities in inpatient and outpatient health care settings, academic settings, non-profit organizations and the Peace Corps. As an Indigenous and Latinx prevention scientist, she examines whether participation in cultural practices that are dependent upon nature contact can be protective in the prevention of chronic, co-occurring, and syndemic diseases (e.g. mental health, substance abuse, diabetes) among Indigenous peoples.

She has 10 years of experience working on federally funded (NIH, SAMHSA), collaborative research projects, focused on prevention of mental health, substance use, sexual risk, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, from design through dissemination. Her long-term goals are to build on this knowledge and better define the role of engagement in Indigenous cultural practices that are dependent upon nature contact in prevention, and to respond to the significant gap in culturally informed measures that can be used to evaluate chronic, co-occurring and syndemic health outcomes within culturally-grounded health interventions.

As a second year postdoc, she is currently exploring internal funding opportunities to conduct a pilot study, and is also exploring external funding (i.e., National Institutes of Health). Results from this formative research will inform a future R01 application focused on developing and testing the efficacy of a cultural practice and nature contact-based prevention intervention for chronic, co-occurring and syndemic diseases among Indigenous communities.

Fernandez also has 15 years of combined experience teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in academic, professional and community contexts. As a doctoral teaching assistant and sole instructor, she received outstanding student evaluations and departmental and university-wide nominations for teaching awards. She continues to mentor, present and guest lecture for graduate students across the country.

Research Interests/Focus

Historical, social and environmental determinants of health; Indigenous and Latinx health; cultural protective factors; environmental health; community-based participatory research; decolonizing methodologies; mixed methods; public health social work; mental health, substance use, HIV, diabetes.


Year Degree   School
2019 PhD Social Work University of Washington, Seattle
2019 MPH Public Health University of Washington, Seattle
2007 MSW Social Work University of Washington, Seattle
2006 BSW Social Work University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Fernandez, A. R. (in press). The eagle, the condor, and who I am among all my relations. In H. N. Weaver (Ed.), Routledge Handbook on Indigenous Resilience. Routledge.

Fernandez, A. R., Evans-Campbell, T., Johnson-Jennings, M., Beltrán, R., Schultz, K., Stroud, S., & Walters, K. L. (2020). "Being on the walk put it somewhere in my body": The meaning of place in health for Indigenous women. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 30(1/2).

Cordova, D., Muñoz-Velázquez, J., Mendoza Lua, F., Fessler, K., Warner, S., Delva, J., Adelman, N., Youth Leadership Council, Fernandez, A. R., & Bauermeister, J. A. (2020). Pilot study of a multilevel mobile health app for substance use, sexual risk behaviors, and testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV among youth: Randomized controlled trial. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(3), e16251.

Fernandez, A. R. & Spencer, M. S. (2020). Diabetes, mental health, and utilization of mental health professionals among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander adults. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 30(1/2).

Beltran, R., Alvarez, A. R. G., Fernandez, A. R., Colon, L., & Alamillo, X. (2020). Salud, cultura, tradición: Findings from an alcohol and other drug and HIV needs assessment in urban “Mexican American Indian” communities. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 30(1/2).

Billiot, S., Beltran, R., Mitchell, F., Brown, D., & Fernandez, A. (2019). Indigenous perspectives for strengthening social responses to global environmental changes: A response to the social work grand challenge on environmental change. Journal of Community Practice, 27(3-4), 296-316.

Beltran, R., Schultz, K., Fernandez, A. R., Walters, K. L., Duran, B., & Evans-Campbell, T. (2018). From ambivalence to revitalization: Negotiating cardiovascular health behaviors related to environmental and historical trauma in a Northwest American Indian community. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 25(2), 103-128.

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