Dr. José Portilla de Jesús García graduated as a doctor in medicine from the University of Havana. During post-graduate studies, he was a surgeon at Heroes del Baire Hospital and served as Deputy Director and Chief of General Surgery at Juan Paz Camejo General Hospital and Director and Chief of Surgery at Pedro Soto Alba Hospital.
He completed a general surgery residency at Salvador Allende Hospital in Havana, and earned a Master of International Health. Following post-graduate studies, Dr. Portilla de Jesús García worked as a surgeon at Salvador Allende Hospital in Havana, and as Director and Surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Manuel Fajardo Hospital in Havana. He also served as Chief of the Department of Health in the former Havana Province, responsible for monitoring health in the province. Later, Dr. Portilla de Jesús García served as the director of Health for the Plaza de la Revolution Municipality in Havana, and as Chief of the Bilateral Collaboration Department in the Foreign Affairs Division of the Ministry of Public Health. He also was an assistant professor of International Health at the National School of Public Health.