Annie Guardado: Big, Optimistic Plans for Boosting Population Health


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Optimism has always kept Annie Guardado moving forward.

She kept her optimism even seeing her parents and family struggle as U.S. immigrants from Honduras and Nicaragua.

And Guardado continues to display optimism as she works as a research assistant in population health at UT Southwestern Medical Center, after earning her master’s degree in public health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Guardado also worked and volunteered in healthcare settings to better understand her local community needs and culture. She wants to research how to improve health literacy and communication between hospitals, health care providers, and Latino patients.

She even wants to one day start her own nonprofit.

To further her experience and education, Guardado 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.

Guardado said Éxito! was “very inspiring.”

“[Éxito!] switched my gears in how I’ll be using my resources towards my next degree,” Guardado said.

For those considering applying to Éxito!, she has this advice:

“The week is worth it,” she said. “There is enough valuable information to take from it towards your next health profession endeavor.”


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.

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

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