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Stacy Cantu-Pawlik

Stacy Cantu completed both her BS & MPH at Texas A&M University (gig ‘em!), and is passionate about all things public health. She curates content on Healthy Food and Healthy Minds.


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Articles by Stacy Cantu-Pawlik

Amanda Merck: Propelling Civic Engagement in San Antonio and Beyond


Amanda Merck

Amanda Merck isn’t only a content curator for Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio, a public health representative for the Active Living Council for a Healthier San Antonio, and a teacher of group classes for Fitness in the Park. She is a fighter for equitable transportation, equitable access to parks, and an advocate for children who experience trauma. Merck is a poster child for civic engagement for health equity─and she is dedicating her time and career to help countless others become civically engaged, too. ‘Never Any Talk about Civic Engagement’ Merck grew up in many different places including California, Texas, and Montana. As the daughter of a low-income, high-school dropout, working was meant to pay the bills. “There was never any talk about civic ...

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Alison Corcoran: Why We All Must Stand Up to Bias, Health Inequity



As a white woman living in Boston who grew up all around the world, privileged and well-educated, Alison Corcoran was a stranger to injustice and health inequity. “I’ve never been denied anything,” Corcoran told Salud America!. That all changed 11 years ago when she became a foster parent to her African American son. Experiencing Health Inequity and Bias First-Hand When Corcoran’s son joined the family, he was only in the first grade. During the family transition meetings, his social worker had told her: “Make sure you take him to the dentist soon – I don’t think he has ever gone.” So Corcoran took him to the family dentist for a cleaning and exam. During the appointment, it was no surprise that her son had multiple cavities. Then, it came time to visit ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 12/10: “A Guide to a Healthy Holiday”


healthy holiday apple christmas tree

In the United States, obesity rates have hit a historic high, especially for Latinos. Additionally, 40% of Latino kids are overweight or obese compared to 32% of all U.S. children. Let’s use #SaludTues on Dec. 10, 2019, to tweet information, resources, and tips that will help us all prevent or help the health dangers of stress, unhealthy eating and limited physical activity during the best time of the year. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “A Guide to a Healthy Holiday” TIME / DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, 12/10/19 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludAmerica CO-HOSTS: Public Health Maps (@PublicHealthMap) We’ll open the floor to your stories and experiences as we explore: Healthy Holiday snacks Fun physical activity ...

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Dr. Jabraan Pasha: Tearing Down Implicit Bias in the Doctor’s Office


Jabraan Pasha implicit bias training doctor and leader

In training, doctors and other healthcare providers are taught to disregard their own personal upbringings, and that of their patients, from clinical decisions. But doctors are susceptible to their unconscious bias. Dr. Jabraan Pasha is changing that. Pasha created a workshop to spread awareness of implicit bias─the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions unconsciously─in the healthcare system. “The workshop aims to make us realize we are not bad people because of [implicit bias],” Pasha said. “We have these biases that are there. Agree or not they are there, and this can help people take steps to correct it.” “It’s important to remove shame and guilt.” Pasha’s Discovery of Implicit Bias Pasha, a native of Tulsa, ...

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4 Latino Leaders Eliminating Food Insecurity in Texas



U.S. Latinos face high levels of poverty, food swamps, and food insecurity—living without reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. In Texas, the food insecurity rate is 14.3%. That’s why Texas State Representative Diego Bernal championed legislation that would allow schools to set up school food pantries. Because of this law, schools are helping those who are hungry and food insecure as well as reducing food waste. The law has also inspired others to create change and do good for the community, like Jenny Arredondo, Samantha Almaraz, and Pablo Ramirez. Diego Bernal & School Food Pantries Bernal was heartbroken after touring Texas schools and seeing students go hungry, even as "perfectly edible food" was being thrown away in cafeterias. He wanted to ...

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Dr. Rogelio Saenz: Using Data to Fight Racism, Push for Health Equity


Rogelio Saenz demographer and Latino health equity advocate at UTSA 2

Dr. Rogelio Sáenz is no stranger to health inequity. Growing up along the Texas-Mexico border, he saw Latino families ripped apart by poverty, plagued by systemic bias and racism, struggling to get the healthcare they needed—yet facing a mostly white leadership not ready for change. Sáenz' own grandfather worked as a janitor for a local electric co-op. He couldn't advance in the job due to extreme racism. He had to take side jobs to make extra money for his family. As a child, Sáenz himself experienced racism in the classroom. He continuously got in trouble for speaking Spanish. He also could not hang out with his white friend outside of class. “My white classmate invited me to his house. But then he [his classmate] came back and said, 'Never mind, my parents said no ...

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Kids Start School Food Pantry on Texas-Mexico Border



High-schoolers Samantha Almaraz and Pablo Ramirez see many classmates who struggle with hunger and poverty in the 85% Latino border town of McAllen, Texas. They wanted to help. So Samantha and Pablo, 10th-graders at Lamar Academy, started a school food pantry by working with their parents, school leaders, and using the Salud America! “School Food Pantry Action Pack” as a guide for their efforts. With their pantry, called the Energy Bar, they store leftover food from the cafeteria and distribute it to hungry students. "We're surrounded by people who are hungry and that don't get food,” said Samantha, who with Pablo is in the International Baccalaureate program at Lamar in McAllen ISD. "They tell us, ‘I don't have food waiting for me at home.’” The Energy Bar ...

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Comment to Protect SNAP for 1 Million School Children


kids in cafeteria eating food protect SNAP from cuts

Days after Salud America! members helped flood USDA with comments to protect the SNAP food assistance program, the comment period has reopened after a controversial new report. Comments now can be submitted until Nov. 1, 2019. The reopened comment period comes after a surprise release of USDA data that advocates say underscores the deep harm of its proposed rule to limit access to the SNAP. The change would eliminate food assistance for 3.1 million people and jeopardize free school meals for nearly 1 million kids, according to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). “Even for those who remain eligible, forcing low-income families to navigate the burdensome paperwork will inevitably lead to eligible children losing access to a critical source of daily nutrition,” said ...

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Study: Nashville Latinos are Four Times Less Likely to Have Health Insurance


Latina doctor and patient hospital

In Nashville (10.4% Latino), Latinos are one of the city’s largest minority groups. Yet, they are more than four times as likely to not have health insurance than their white or black neighbors, according to a survey by city officials and NashvilleHealth, a local nonprofit. “Doctor visits and health insurance are simply out of reach for many Latino families, who struggle with poverty, transportation and language barriers,” officials from two local Latino organizations told The Tennessean. This is even worse for immigrants who do not have proper documentation and do not qualify for TennCare, the state Medicaid. More on the Survey The Nashville Community Health + Well-being survey revealed that one-third of Latinos don’t have insurance and more than half do not have a ...

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