Andrea Cruz: Studying Environmental Pollutants and Cancer

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Andrea Cruz, raised in Los Angeles but now living in a Midwest U.S. city where she only knows a few Latinos, keeps a rosary to remind her of her culture and her family.

Now she’s doing an excellent job representing Latinos by studying the sciences and actively learning how to apply that knowledge to public health issues like the correlation between environmental pollutants and cancer in women.

Cruz recently graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a master’s degree in toxicology. She studied the mechanism in which phthalates can cause neural tube defects in rodent models and looked for correlations between copy number alterations and DNA methylation in colon cancer tissue.

To further her experience and education, Cruz 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 and optional internships 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.

Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2018 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program at UT Health San Antonio, the headquarters of the Salud America! program. Apply now for Èxito! 2019.

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28

percent

of Latino kids suffer four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACES).

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