Dr. Barbara Ferrer is a nationally-known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher, and community advocate. Currently, Barbara Ferrer leads the Los Angles County Department of Public Health. Public Health protects and promotes health and prevents disease among LA County’s more than 10 million residents across 4,000 square miles. She oversees a budget of $1 billion and directs a workforce of 4,100 public health practitioners. Under Dr. Ferrer’s leadership, Public Health works alongside the Departments of Health Services and Mental Health to comprise the LA County Health Agency. The Health Agency integrates services across the departments and builds health equity throughout the county.
Most recently, Dr. Ferrer served as the Chief Strategy Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she was responsible for developing the strategic direction for critical program-related work and providing leadership to the foundations key program area, including food, health, and well-being. Prior to working at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Ferrer served as the Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, where she led a range of public health programs and built innovative partnerships to address inequities in health outcomes and support healthy families and communities.
Dr. Ferrer has also served as Director of Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention and Director of the Division of Maternal & Child Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. As a headmaster at a district high school in Boston, she led efforts to significantly improve high school graduation rates and ensure that every graduating senior was accepted to college. Dr. Ferrer received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from Brandeis University, a Master of Arts in Public Health from Boston University, a Master of Arts in Education from University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.