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Having witnessed how lack of health information harms Latinos’ quality of life, Alexis Smith wants to bridge the gap between researchers and marginalized communities.
Originally from Alabama, Smith is a first-year master’s-degree student in public health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
Her focus is in health promotion research and practice, because she is incredibly interested in advocating for quality healthcare for all people and empowering communities through interventions that are both innovative and evidence-based.
She already has served in various public health roles, from working in a community health center as a diabetes prevention coach in the Bronx, to managing social media and youth engagement for a mobile health clinic in Boston.
To further her experience and education, Smith applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program.
The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio with support from the National Cancer Institute, recruits 25 master’s-level students and professionals each year for a five-day summer institute, optional internships, and ongoing networking and support to promote doctoral degrees and careers in Latino cancer. A recent study found significant increases in summer institute participants’ confidence to apply to a doctoral program and academic self-efficacy.
“Before attending Éxito!, I was pretty sure that I would pursue a doctoral program; however, after attending Éxito!, I was very sure not only that I would pursue a doctoral program but that I *could* pursue one,” Smith said.
She has great potential to achieve a doctoral degree, thanks to her glass-always-full attitude and her passion for advocating for policy change for Latino health.
“The [Éxito!] Summer Institute provided me with the tools, encouragement, and empowerment to take the next steps and make the necessary moves to put me in a good position to apply and succeed in a doctoral program.”
For those considering applying for Éxito! next year, Smith has this advice:
“This week has the potential to be one of the most informative and empowering weeks of your academic life. Come to learn and share!”
Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2019 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program at UT Health San Antonio, the headquarters of the Salud America! program. Apply now for Èxito! 2020.