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Irma Ferrer Memorial Health Justice Fellowship

Impacting Health Outcomes through Service and Advocacy

The Irma Ferrer Memorial Health Justice Fellowship is a 10-month leadership opportunity for college, graduate-level, or gap-year students committed to creating just and equitable access to the healthcare system for the Latino community around issues of cancer.   


Throughout the fellowship year, each fellow will engage in community health work such as patient advocacy & navigation, community health education, cancer survivor support, research and community organizing.  In addition, each fellow will implement a portion of their Vision for Social Change. 


We are interested in hosting 4-5 additional fellows this year who live in or go to school in Santa Clara County, or nearby cities, and who is dedicated to serving their local communities. Each fellow must be committed to health justice and social change. Fellows should demonstrate critical thinking, initiative, discipline, and a passion for achieving health equity for the population we serve.   


We welcome and encourage students who are passionate about health justice to apply.  
We prioritize the involvement of Spanish-speakers who self-identify as women and Latine/x/a, who have already been involved in activities related to health. 

The Fellowship will run from March 1, 2023 to December, 2023 and includes: 

  1. 10-month immersion in grassroots community health programs serving the low-income Latino population, with an in-person component in the summer months 

  2. Training in HIPAA compliance, community health education curriculum and patient advocacy 

  3. Deepened understanding of health injustice in Santa Clara County and the impact of continued health inequity on the Latinx community 

  4. Monthly meeting featuring guest speakers who are Latinx leaders in medicine, health equity, and public health 

  5. Mentorship & Networking 

  6. $5,000 stipend 

The 2023 application cycle will open on January 9, 2023 at 8 AM and will close January 30th, 2023 at 11:59 PM. Click the button below to apply. Please email with any questions. 



The Irma Ferrer Memorial Health Justice Fellowship was started in honor of Irma Ferrer.


Born in San Francisco to Mexican immigrant parents, Irma Rose Ferrer grew up in the Mission District and later moved with her parents and three siblings to Santa Rosa where she worked in her family’s Mexican restaurant while completing school at Santa Rosa Junior College. She married Juan Ferrer, an immigrant from Mexico City, a Marine and self-made man. They moved to San Rafael where she raised her four children and ran a successful plumbing business.


In 1988, after a two-year battle, she died at the age of 54, of stomach cancer. Irma was the matriarch of her family. She loved to host holiday gatherings and opened her home to anyone who needed a place to stay. Irma was an indomitable spirit for her family and the community; a model of charity. Her volunteer work included leading the school parent group, fundraising for Catholic Charities, making candy for the church bazaar and serving on numerous non-profit boards.


Irma was also involved in every aspect of her children’s lives. She believed in getting things done. She was always a proponent of “charity beginning at home” or making sure you take care of family first and then your friends and community. She had a deep religious faith and lived by those principles in all aspects of her life. Her faith, family and resources sustained her as she battled cancer.


This fellowship supports her concern for those battling cancer who have less resources and therefore, it is dedicated to providing comprehensive support to other Latinas in their fight against cancer.

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