Fernando Ona

Fernando Ona

(617) 636-0362
136 Harrison Avenue
Research/Areas of Interest: Trauma-responsive interventions: Survivors of Torture, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Vicarious Traumatization, Compassion Fatigue, Narrative Medicine, Military Sciences/Medicine, Guided Affective Imagery/Katathym Imaginative Processes, EMDR, TR-CBT 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, Spatial (CI/PPGIS), Mental Health, Social Networks, Sociomedical Sciences and Anthropology: Embodiment, Social Exclusion/Inclusion, Institutions, Adultification, Mental Health, Risk, Human Ecology, Systems Theory Divinity: Process and Relational Theology, Theater of the Oppressed, Play Theology, Liberation Theology, Theopoetics, Conflict Transformation and Mediation, Mysticism, Contemplative Arts and Centering Prayer, Healing Resistance


  • D.Min., Boston University, Boston, United States
  • Ph.D./M.D., University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, Berkeley and San Francisco, United States, 2002
  • M.P.H., Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, United States, 1994
  • M.S.W., Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, United States, 2015
  • M.Div. (magna cum laude), Boston University School of Theology, United States, 2020
  • B.S., United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, United States, 1992


Fernando is an environmental epidemiologist and medical anthropologist with interests in systems theory and soft systems modeling, phenomenology, theology of the Powers, postcolonial theory, Bayesian methods, complex humanitarian emergencies and trauma-responsive 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 and South Asia, Southern and Western Africa and among refugee and overseas worker populations in Europe and North America. At Tufts, Fernando supports the dual-degree PA/MPH and BA/MPH programs, and teaches in the Tufts University Prison Initiative at Tisch College.

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 and in the process of seeking ordination. In Fall 2020, Fernando will start his D.Min. as the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Fellow at Boston University School of Theology.

Fernando spends his time between Boston, his biodynamic farm in Vermont and the Netherlands.

Fernando's ORCHID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9309-4231

Fernando's YA RYT-500 profile: https://www.yogaalliance.org/TeacherPublicProfile?tid=281606