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Volunteering for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s helps other people. It gives the volunteer a nice emotional boost, too.
So why not volunteer your “voice” or “actions”?
We at Salud America! invite you to take or start these 11 actions to promote health equity for Latino and all families this holiday season!
1. Start a School Food Pantry!
About 1 in 6 children are food insecure. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Your school can help these kids!
Try the Salud America! “School Food Pantry Action Pack.” This is a free guide to help school personnel talk to decision-makers, work through logistics, and start a School Food Pantry to help hungry students and reduce local food insecurity.
A School Food Pantry accepts, stores, and redistributes donated and leftover food to students.
The Action Pack was created by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.
Dr. Ramirez had input from Jenny Arredondo, nutrition director at San Antonio ISD. Arredondo started school food pantries on 10 campuses in 2017-18, based on a Texas law change led by Diego Bernal.
2. Pledge to Take Infection Control Training for Healthcare Workers!
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted long-standing gaps in infection control knowledge and understanding among frontline healthcare workers.
Completing interactive, educational activities like those offered through CDC Project Firstline can help improve your infection control knowledge and provide valuable feedback in real time.
3. Help Your City Adopt Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing!
People who live in multifamily housing share air with their neighbors ─ including secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke contains over 70 cancer-causing chemicals, has killed over 2.5 million people, and can travel through doorways, halls, windows, ventilation systems, electrical outlets, and gaps around fixtures.
Download the free Salud America! Action Pack “Help Your City Adopt Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing” to help your city explore a smoke-free multifamily housing policy for common areas and individual units.
Experts say this can protect the health of tenants and staff of apartments, as well as save property owners money in unit maintenance, fire prevention, insurance, and reduced legal liability.
You can use model emails, graphics, and policies to explore a local smoke-free multifamily housing policy in your town.
4. Download a ‘Health Equity Report Card’ for Your City with Local Data on COVID, Social Vulnerability!
In August 2021, we updated our Health Equity Report Card to include place-based information on your county’s Social Vulnerability Index Score and COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations.
The Health Equity Report Card, first launched in 2017, auto-generates Latino-focused and local data with interactive maps and comparative gauges. This can help you visualize and explore inequities in housing, transit, poverty, health care, food, and education.
You will see how your county stacks up in these health equity issues — now including social vulnerability and COVID-19 — compared to your state and the nation.
Then you can share the Report Card with your local leaders to advocate for healthy change!
Get your Health Equity Report Card!
5. Find Out If You Have Implicit Bias and What to Do Next!
Many people think they harbor no bias toward other people, or they believe they know their biases and don’t act on them.
But everyone has implicit bias.
Implicit biases are stereotypes that affect our understanding and decisions about others beyond our conscious control, but fortunately can be “rewired” toward more compassion for others.
Download the free Salud America! Action Pack “Find Out If You Have Implicit Bias and What to Do Next” to see if you have implicit bias. You will also learn from others who have overcome their own implicit bias, and encourage others to learn about implicit bias.
6. Get Your City to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis!
Racism is a public health crisis.
Systemic racism makes it harder for Latinos and other people of color to get healthcare, housing, transportation, education, employment, healthy food, safe treatment by police, and more.
Download the free Salud America! “Get Your City to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis Action Pack“!
The Action Pack will help you gain feedback from local social justice groups and advocates of color.
It will also help you start a conversation with city leaders for a resolution to declare racism a public health issue along with a commitment to take action to change policies and practices. It will also help build local support.
7. Volunteer for a Clinical Trial for Your Familia!
Cancer and Alzheimer’s hurt many of our abuelos, moms, dads, and others we love.
Clinical trials help us fight for our familia.
Clinical trials are studies that help researchers learn more to help slow, manage, and treat Alzheimer’s and cancer for current and future family members. But without Latino volunteers for clinical trials, the benefits may miss this group.
Visit our clinical trials page to find a clinical trial, read about hero volunteers, and more!
“Latinos in clinical trials are not only helping themselves, but they’re also building a future with better treatments that can help their families in the future,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research and Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.
8. Start ‘Handle With Care’ So Police Alert Schools if Kids Are Exposed to Trauma (Even If School is Closed or Virtual)!
60% of U.S. children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse.
These kids still have to go to class, virtually or in person. They carry a burden of trauma that can interfere with their behavior and grades. And schools don’t know there’s an issue at home.
Download the free Salud America! “Handle With Care Action Pack” to start a Handle With Care program. In the program, police notify schools when they encounter children at a traumatic scene, so schools can provide support right away, even if operating virtually.
The Action Pack contains materials and technical assistance to start a conversation and plans for implementing a Handle With Care program. Over 65 U.S. cities have started such a program.
The Action Pack was created by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Salud America! Latino health equity program at UT Health San Antonio, with help from Andrea Darr, director of the West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice, which started the first Handle With Care program in 2013.
9. Share Stories of Latinos Who Changed Their Hearts and Got the COVID-19 Vaccine!
To help move Latinos from vaccine hesitancy to vaccine confidence, Salud America! is uplifting the stories of real Latinos who overcame misinformation, got the vaccine, reconnected with family, and are helping end the pandemic.
Share these “change of heart” heroes in English or Spanish!
- Rosa Herrera read on Facebook that the vaccine would inject her with a microchip. She learned that was a myth. See exactly what changed her heart and pushed her to get the vaccine! (en español)
- Jesus Larralde was nervous about the vaccine’s possible side effects. His wife got the vaccine and was fine. See exactly what changed his heart and pushed him to get the vaccine! (en español)
- Helen Cordova thought the vaccine was rushed. But she did her research and learned the vaccine’s safety, and volunteered to be the first person in California to get the vaccine! See exactly what changed her heart! (en español)
Find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you in English or Spanish!
10. Quit Smoking!
Ready to quit smoking, but need help?
Enroll in Quitxt, a free English or Spanish text-message service that turns your phone into a personal “quit smoking” coach from UT Health San Antonio.
To join Quitxt, text “iquit” (for English) or “lodejo” (for Spanish) to 844-332-2058.
“We’re excited to share Quitxt to provide real-time help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, handling stress, and much more, all on your phone,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Salud America! program at UT Health San Antonio, and also Quitxt, sponsored by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
“Quitting now can reduce your risk of chronic diseases, cancer, and a severe case of COVID-19. It can also improve air quality around you.”
11. Subscribe to the Only Latino Health Equity Podcast!
The “Salud Talks” podcast, from the team at Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio, is now live!
For each episode, listeners will hear from health equity experts—from grassroots movements to national organizations—on topics ranging from cultural representation, climate change, childhood trauma, mental health, and more.
Salud Talks episodes are released periodically.
Each episode is available wherever fine podcasts are downloaded, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and SoundCloud.
Our Salud America! team, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, is thankful for the opportunity to drive messages of health equity across the nation.
Thank you for visiting our website. Thank you for your strong interest in health equity.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Explore More:Overcoming Harmful Biases, Understanding & Reducing Poverty
By The Numbers
of Latino children are living in poverty