Dr. Fernander is a Professor of Integrated Medical Science in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. She also serves as Chief Officer for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.
She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of Miami, has a Master's Degree in the same and holds two Bachelor's degrees (one in Physical Education and the other in Psychology) from Oakwood College (now Oakwood University) an HBCU in Huntsville, Alabama. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Medical Psychology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Prior to arriving to Florida Atlantic University in June of 2021 she served on the Faculty in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky for almost 19 years. There she was engaged in leadership, teaching and training, and research in the area of health inequities, the political and social determinants of health, enhancing patient advocacy through the process of cultural humility as a de-biasing strategy, and community-based transformational interventions to address historical and contemporary racism that are embedded in the political and social determinants of health. Her primary areas of research and teaching focused on examining the impact of race-related stress on health disparities among African Americans. Previous theoretical research examined culturally relevant psychosocial constructs of stress and coping and their impact on physiological and behavioral risk factors for cardiovascular illness and cancer. She taught the following courses: "Race, Racism and Health Disparities among Blacks in the U.S.", "The History of Medicine among Blacks in the U.S.: Implications for Health Disparities" and "Introduction to Clinical Medicine". During her last year in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky she served as the Health Equity Thread Leader for UME curricula. She developed a mentorship pipeline program for Black males from Kindergarten thru Residency to increase the number of Black males applying to and successfully matriculating through medical school. She also served as Founder & Chair of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Disparities Coalition.
She has been recognized for her excellence in teaching and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as a faculty member. In May of 2021 she received the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Department of Behavioral Sciences inaugural Excellence in Diversity Faculty Award. In October of 2018 she received the University of Kentucky, College of Medicine’s inaugural Diversity Champion Award. In April 2016 she received the University of Kentucky Teacher Who Made a Difference award.
She has served on numerous NIH and private foundation grant review committees, journal editorial boards, a member of the federal MEDCAC review committee, and various NIH and foundation workshops and trainings related to diversity in biomedical research and academic medicine. In addition, she has served as a dissertation/thesis committee member, advisor, and mentor to numerous medical students and graduate students in the biomedical research and health professions. She has been a sought-after speaker for professional and has been interviewed by various media organizations, including National Public Radio (NPR).
- 1993: B.A. (Summa cum Laude) – Psychology, Oakwood College, Huntsville, AL
- 1994: B.A. (Summa cum Laude) – Physical Education with Food & Nutrition Minor, Oakwood College, Huntsville, AL
- 1998: M.S. – Clinical Health Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
- 1999-2000: Clinical Internship, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
- 2000: Ph.D. – Clinical Health Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
- 2000-2002: Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Mayo Clinic, Department of Psychiatry & Psychology, Rochester, MN
Chief Officer for Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (Senior Associate Dean) and Professor of Integrated Medical Science, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
As a Senior Associate Dean, and the inaugural Chief Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer I report directly to the Dean of the Schmidt College of Medicine and serve on the College’s Executive Leadership Team. I am the College’s senior leader responsible for fostering a diverse and inclusive culture and advancing inclusive excellence. I provide visionary and strategic leadership to ensure that justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are collaboratively infused throughout all aspects of the College’s missions, including education, research, clinical care, and community engagement. I also oversee the successful implementation and continual assessment of the College’s Diversity Action Plan.
Associate Professor with Tenure,
University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Department of Behavioral Science
June 2010 - May 2021
Engaged in leadership, teaching and training, and research in the area of health inequities, the political and social determinants of health, enhancing patient advocacy through the process of cultural humility as a de-biasing strategy, and community-based transformational interventions to address historical and contemporary racism that are embedded in the political and social determinants of health. Previous theoretical research examined culturally relevant psychosocial constructs of stress and coping and their impact on physiological and behavioral risk factors for cardiovascular illness and cancer. My intervention and translational research activities have included community-based methods to address health inequities within the African American community. I also taught health psychology, health inequities, cultural humility, and diversity-related courses to medical students and graduate students in health-related science programs.
Director of Diversity & Inclusion,
University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Department of Behavioral Science
2019 - 2021
Departmental Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors are charged by the College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion to spearhead initiatives within their local environment to create innovative strategies and support opportunities for advancing a culture of respect, inclusion, and equity. Responsibilities include: participating in training opportunities that includes foundational knowledge and skill building to address diversity; collaborating with the Department Chair and the Associate Dean for DEI to develop and maintain one- and five-year plans for advancing diversity and inclusion goals within the department; collaborate on implementing strategic planning and activities in support of the College of Medicine’s Diversity & Inclusion Pillar; and, maintain a catalog of activities related to DEI.
Health Equity Thread Leader,
University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Office of Medical Education
January 2021 - June 2021
Charge is to work with course directors, clerkship directors, curriculum deans, and others, as appropriate, to establish learning objectives, instructional strategies, and assessment methods in the development of a health equity thread for undergraduate medical students that integrates critical health equity content and topics that have not traditionally been the primary focus of a particular course or clerkship, but are fundamental to the practice of medicine. Concepts and constructs that impact health care delivery and outcomes will be thoughtfully, developmentally, and sequentially woven into the fabric of the entire UME curriculum from courses through clerkships.
Chair of Core Faculty, Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET)
2020 - 2021
CHET’s mission focuses on fostering innovative, transdisciplinary and impactful research and training to improve the health of the most vulnerable residents of Kentucky and beyond.
University of Kentucky, Center for Equality and Social Justice
(July 2020 - 2021)
University of Kentucky, College of Arts & Sciences, African American & Africana Studies
(August 2020 - 2021)
Founding Core Faculty Member, University of Kentucky, Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET)
(2018 - 2021)
Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Interim, University of Kentucky, College of Medicine (2016 - 2017)
Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky
(2012 - 2015)
Full Faculty Member University of Kentucky, Graduate School
(2008 - 2021)
Joint/Affiliate Faculty Appointment, University of Kentucky, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Psychology
(September 2007 - 2021)
Preceptor, University of Kentucky, College of Public Health
(2007 - 2021)
University of Kentucky, Graduate School, Associate Faculty Member
(2004 to 2008)
Visiting Research Professor and Mentor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Department of Behavioral Science
(September 2002 - June 2010)
Instructor of Psychology,
Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Medical School
(2001 - 2002)
Instructor, Careers in Psychology, Miami Dade Community College
(1998 - 1999)
Instructor, Introduction to Psychology, University of Miami
NON-UNIVERSITY RELATED POSITIONS
Founder & Chair, Lexington-Fayette County Health Disparities Coalition
Founder & Director, Black Boys and Men in Medicine (BBAMM)
- Vickers-Smith, R., Justice, A.C., Becker, W.C., Rentsch, C.T., Curtis, B., Fernander, A., Hartwell, E.E., Ighodaro, E.T., Kember, R.L., Tate, J. and Kranzler, H.R. “Racial inequalities in alcohol use disorder diagnosis in a sample of 700,000 veterans. British Medical Journal, 2021 July 18. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.14.21256113. EPub ahead of print.
- Williams, L.B., Fernander, A.F., Azam, T., Gomez, M.L., Kang, J., Moody, C.L., Bowman, H. and Schoenberg, N.E. “COVID-19 and the impact on rural and black church Congregants: Results of the C-M-C project”. 2021. Research in Nursing and Health, 2021 July 5. http://doi.org/10.1002/nur.22167. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34227136.
- Ighodaro, E.T., Nelson, P.T., Kukull, W.A., Schmitt, F.A., Abner, E.L., Caban-Holt, A., Bardach, S.H., Hord, D.C., Glover, C.M., Jicha, G.A., Van Eldik, L.J., Byrd, A.X., and Fernander, A. “Challenges and Considerations Related to Studying Dementia in Blacks/African Americans”. 2017. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 60(1), 1-10.
Fernander, A., Hahn, E., Rayens, M.K., and Adkins, S. “Local Smoke-free Laws, Quitline Call Rate, and Smoking Status in Kentucky”. 2014. American Journal of Health Promotion, 29(2), 123-126.
- Rayens, M.K. Fernander, A., Hahn, E., and Okoli, C. (2013). “Racially classified social group differences in cigarette smoking, nicotine dependence, and readiness to quit.” Journal of Addictions Nursing, 24(2), 71-81.
- Nasim, A., Fernander, A., Townsend, T.G., Corona, R. and Belgrave, F.Z. (2011). “Cultural Protective Factors for Community Risks and Substance Use Among Rural African American Adolescents”. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 10, 316-336.
Fernander, A., Resnicow, K., Viswanath, K. and Perez-Stable, E. (2011). “Cigarette smoking interventions among diverse populations”. American Journal of Health Promotion, 25(5), S1-S4.
Fernander, A., Rayens, M.K., Zhang, M. and Adkins, S. (2010). “Are age of smoking initiation and purchasing patterns associated with menthol smoking?” Addiction, 105 (Suppl. 1), 39-45.
Fernander, A., Rayens, M.K., Hahn, E., Zhang, M. and Adkins, S. (2010). “Menthol smoking, smoke-free policies, and cessation services”. Addiction, 105 (Suppl. 1), 105-114.
Fernander, A. Moorman, G., and Azuoru, M. (2010). “Race-related stress and smoking among pregnant African American women”. Acta Obstetricia et
Gynecologica, 89, 558-564.
Fernander, A., Bush, H., Goldsmith-Mason, S., White, P. and Obi, B. (2009). “End-of-Treatment Smoking Cessation among African-American Female Participants in the Breathe Free for Women Smoking Cessation Program: Results of a Pilot Study”. Journal of the National Medical Association, 101(10), 1034-1040.
- Hedgecock, S. and Fernander, A. (2009). A Review of smoking among rural African Americans: Recommendations for research and cessation interventions”. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 3(1), 115-132.
Fernander, A. and Schumacher, M. (2008). An examination of socio-culturally specific stress
- and coping factors on smoking status among African American women. Stress & Health. Published online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smi.1214. July 14, 2008.
Fernander, A., Schumacher, M., Wei, X., Crooks, P. and Wedlund, P. (2008). Smoking risk and the likelihood of quitting among African-American female light and heavy smokers. Journal of the National Medical Association, 100(10), 1199-1206.
Fernander, A., Schumacher, M. and Nasim, A. (2008). “Socio-cultural stress, smoking risk and cessation among African American women”. Journal of Black Psychology, 34(1), 49-69.
- Fagan, P., Moolchan, E.T., Lawrence, D., Fernander, A. and Ponder, P.K. (2007). “Identifying health disparities across the tobacco continuum.” Addiction, 102(Supplement 2), 5-29.
- Moolchan, E.T., Hayward, M.D., Fagan, P., Fernander, A., Velicer, W., King, G. and Clayton. (2007). “Addressing tobacco-related health disparities”. Addiction, 102(Supplement 2), 30-42.
Fernander, A., Shavers, V. L. and Hammons, G. (2007). “A biospsychosocial approach to examining tobacco-related health disparities among racially classified social groups”. Addiction, 102(Supplement 2), 43-57.
Fernander, A. (2007). “Racially classified social group tobacco related health disparities: What is the role of genetics?” Addiction, 102(Supplement 2), 58-54.
Fernander, A., Patten, C., Hurt, R., Croghan, I., Offord, K., Schroeder, D., and Eberman, K. (2006). “Characteristics of six-month tobacco use outcomes of black patients seeking smoking cessation intervention.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 17, 413-424.
- King, G., Polednak, A., Fagan, P., Gilreath, T., Humphrey, E., Fernander, A., Bendel, R. and Noubary. (2006). “Heterogeneity in the smoking behavior of African American women.” American Journal of Health Behavior, 30(6), 237-246.
Fernander, A., Price, M^. Flisher, A.J., Chalton, D., King, G. and Lombard, C. (2006). “Gender differences in depression and smoking among youth in Cape Town, South Africa. Ethnicity and Disease, 16, 41-50.
Fernander, A., Wilson, J., Staton, M. and Leukefeld, C. (2005). “Exploring the type-of-crime hypothesis, religiosity, and spirituality in an adult male prison population”. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 49(6), 682-695.
Fernander, A., Patten, C. Hurt, R., Croghan, I., Schroeder, D. and Eberman, K. (2005). “Exploring the association of John Henry Active Coping, Education and John Henryism on smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among Blacks. Social Science and
Medicine, 60(3), 491-500.
Fernander, A., Wilson, J., Staton, M. and Leukefeld, C. (2004). “An exploratory examination of the Spiritual Well-Being Scale among incarcerated Black and White Male Drug Users”. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 48(4), 403-413.
Fernander, A., Duran, R., Saab, P. and Schneiderman, N. (2004). “John Henry Active Coping, education, and blood pressure among urban blacks”. Journal of the National Medical Association, 96(2), 246-255.
Fernander, A., Durán, R., Saab, P., Llabre, M. and Schneiderman, N. (2003) “Assessing the reliability and validity of the John Henry Scale for Active Coping among an urban sample of African-Americans and white-Americans”. Ethnicity and Health, 8(2), 147-161.
- Saab, P., Llabre, M., Ma, M., DiLillo, V., McCalla, J., Fernander-Scott, A., Copen, R., Gellman, M., and Schneiderman, N. (2001). Cardiovascular responsivity to stress in adolescents with and without persistently elevated blood pressure. Journal of Hypertension, 19(1), 21-27.
Dr. Fernander has previously been funded by both NIH and private foundations and has numerous peer-reviewed published manuscripts in the area of health inequities among African Americans. Dr. Fernander’s current scholarly passion is focused on increasing the number of under-represented minorities in medicine, training and mentoring students and faculty regarding cultural humility, and promoting diversity, inclusivity, and equity in academic medicine and biomedical research.