About the event:

There is a robust pipeline of international health professionals eager to contribute their lifesaving skills to the health care workforce of the United States. The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that there are 263,000 immigrants and refugees with health-related degrees in the U.S. who are currently underemployed or unemployed. Of those, more than six in ten are internationally educated. Join us to learn more about how your organization can support long-term solutions to address disparities in access to licensure.

Gain insights into:

  • Addressing licensing policy barriers affecting internationally trained health workers
  • Collecting data to inform advocacy efforts
  • Identifying key decision makers and building support among diverse stakeholders
  • Engaging your community members


José Ramón Fernández-Peña

Moderator, Founder and Executive Director of the Welcome Back Initiative

José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, MPA is the founder and executive director of the Welcome Back Initiative (WBI), a program that assists immigrant health professionals living in the U.S. through the steps required to enter the U.S. health workforce. Over the past 20 years, the WBI has worked with over 20,000 participants from 168 countries, and thousands have returned to the health workforce. The WBI’s 11 centers are in 9 states with two more centers opening later this year in Oregon and Illinois. A founding member of the steering committee of the IMPRINT coalition, José Ramón is also director of Health Professions Advising at Northwestern University where he leads the university’s efforts to support students interested in health careers. He is also president of the American Public Health Association (APHA). José Ramón earned a medical degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a master’s degree from New York University.

Mohamed Khalif

Executive Director of the Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates

Mohamed Khalif is the Executive Director of the Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates. He graduated from medical school in China and immigrated to the United States from Somalia, where he also practiced primary care. Through his work at the Academy, Mohamed successfully advocated for licensing reform to help integrate immigrant physicians into the state health care system. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee also appointed Mohamed to serve on the State International Medical Graduate work group.

Ana Mejia

Workforce Development Coordinator for the Welcome Back Center of Suburban Maryland

Ana Mejia serves as Workforce Development Coordinator for the Welcome Back Center of Suburban Maryland, one of 11 Centers across the U.S. that assist internationally trained health professionals to reincorporate into the health field. In this role, Ana leads the WBC’s strategies to create and maintain critical partnerships with local and state government, the academic sector, and health care employers. She also assists diverse internationally trained health professionals at the Center in their efforts to obtain health-related licenses and certifications to re-enter the health workforce in Maryland. Ana also supports the WBC’s advocacy efforts with the Maryland Boards of Nursing and Professional Counselors and Therapists to reduce barriers to licensing for internationally educated nurses and behavioral health professionals. Ana has a passion for assisting immigrants and keeping Center participants engaged, motivated, and empowered. She received a bachelor’s degree with a major in law from the University of Medellin, Colombia.

Carrie Miller

Program Manager for Colorado Welcome Back

Carrie is the Program Manager for Colorado Welcome Back, a program of Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning located in Denver that is designed to help internationally trained health care professionals reclaim their medical careers. Carrie joined Spring Institute in 2015 and has managed the Colorado Welcome Back program since 2017. She guides participants to understand the steps of re-licensure, conducts short- and long-term planning, navigates resources, and assists in job readiness skills. She closely partners with health care providers throughout Greater Denver and advocates in favor of hiring immigrant and refugee professionals, in addition to creating alternative credentialing pathways to help providers fill open positions and expand the cultural and linguistic diversity of their staff. Carrie holds an M.A. in International and Intercultural Communication from the University of Denver and a B.S. in Organizational Communication from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She also holds two certifications in the career development field.

Jina Krause-Vilmar

President and CEO, Upwardly Global

Jina Krause-Vilmar is the President and CEO of Upwardly Global, where she oversees the agency’s workforce operations in four regions. Under Jina’s leadership, the organization is implementing an ambitious strategy to bring clear outcomes, strong evidence, innovation through collaborative partnership with public and private sectors. Jina brings 15-years working in conflict zones and fragile states to create pathways and policies that advance women and refugees’ safety and economic inclusion. She works at the intersection of gender, migration and poverty. Her research and advocacy has reshaped the way humanitarian assistance centers and serves women in conflict. Jina has worked alongside governments, the United Nations and corporations, to craft and implement solutions to enable refugees and immigrants to integrate into local economies. Jina earned her MSc in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.