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Congratulations to Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio, on being selected for the Bluebonnet Award of the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!
This honor recognizes an individual who is not a dietitian, but who has contributed significantly to promote and advance nutrition in Texas and beyond.
Ramirez will be formally recognized during the annual conference of the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on April 11, 2019, in Arlington, Texas.
“I’m very thankful for this award from the Texas Academy, which is a recognition of our ongoing work to promote healthy food access for Latinos in Texas and across the nation,” Ramirez said.
Dr. Ramirez & Her Work to Advance Nutrition
Ramirez currently directs the Salud America! national multimedia program. The program fuels its network of 200,000 community and school leaders to drive healthy policy and system changes.
Dr. Ramirez led a Salud America! research review on healthy food access.
Latinos tend to live in neighborhoods with few supermarkets and other sources of healthy food, while facing an abundance of fast food and junk food marketing, according to the review.
The review recommended emerging solutions. These include adding more grocery stores and farmer’s markets, expanding healthy food options in corner stores, enhancing federal food aid programs, and more.
Salud America! also promotes healthy food action:
- Start a School Food Pantry! A School Food Pantry accepts, stores, and redistributes donated and leftover food to students.
- Add a Water Bottle Fountain at Your School! This gives kids much-needed access to safe drinking water throughout the school day. They help keep kids hydrated and healthy while saving families money from buying bottled water.
- Make a Public Comment to Save SNAP! The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program is facing cuts. This could affect 750,000 Latinos and other people.
Dr. Ramirez and her colleagues also are leading a scientific evaluation of San Antonio’s Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) program. This initiative teaches local children and families about basic nutrition and cooking skills in hospitals, schools, nonprofits.
“We must make it easier for Latino families to be able to choose affordable, healthy foods in their neighborhoods,” Ramirez said.
Dr. Ramirez & Her Healthy Equity Research
For more than 30 years, Ramirez gained experience developing research and communication models to improve Latino health locally and nationally.
Her studies have increased cancer screening and survivorship. Specifically, patient navigation reduced time to treatment and diagnosis for Latina breast cancer patients. This helped save their lives.
Ramirez also directs Quitxt, a smartphone quit smoking service for young adults in South Texas.
She has trained/mentored 250+ Latinos in health fields and leads Éxito! training. The education and leadership program helps master’s-level students and professionals pursue a doctoral degree and cancer research career.
Dr. Ramirez & Her Service
Ramirez is a Susan G. Komen Scholar and is on the scientific advisory board for LIVESTRONG. In Texas, she is on the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council and is Board President of the The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST).
- 2007: Election to the National Academy of Medicine
- 2011: White House Champion of Change
- 2014: APHA Everett M. Rogers Public Health Communication Award
- 2018: Icons in Healthcare Award from CentroMed
- 2019: Lifetime Achievement Award in Health Equity from the Society of Behavioral Medicine
Ramirez is a native of Laredo, Texas. She earned M.P.H. and Dr.P.H. degrees from UT Health Science Center at the Houston School of Public Health.