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Cliff Despres

Cliff Despres, who has more than a decade of experience in journalism and public relations, is communications director for Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.


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Articles by Cliff Despres

11 Real Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month


Hispanic heritage month celebrate Latina Latino mom daughter hug

Hispanic Heritage Month is here! This annual U.S. observance, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. We at Salud America! invite you to think outside the box and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in these awesome ways. 1. Find Out How Hispanic Heritage Month Started U.S. Congressmen Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles and Henry B. Gonzales were among those who introduced legislation on the topic in 1968. President Lyndon Johnson implemented the observance as Hispanic Heritage Week that year. U.S. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of Pico Rivera proposed the observance be expanded to cover its current 30-day period. President Ronald Reagan ...

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U.S. Obesity Rates Hit Historic Highs, Especially for Latinos


Obesity Rates in U.S. Mapped rwjf

Nine U.S. states had adult obesity rates above 35% in 2018, up from seven states at that level in 2017, an historic level of obesity in the U.S., according to the new State of Obesity report by Trust for America's Health. In 2012, no state had obesity rates over 35%. This alarming rise is even worse among Latinos. Data indicate that 47% of Latino adults and 25.8% of Latino children had obesity—the highest combined obesity rate among all racial/ethnic groups. "These latest data shout that our national obesity crisis is getting worse,” said John Auerbach of Trust for America's Health. “They tell us that almost 50 years into the upward curve of obesity rates we haven’t yet found the right mix of programs to stop the epidemic." Alarming Rise in Obesity Rates The State of ...

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Report: Colleges Flunk in Enrolling, Graduating Latinos Due to Racism


Latino college enrollment student university graduation

When it comes to enrolling and graduating Latinos, public colleges and universities in most states are failing, according to new research by The Education Trust. Latinos are not getting their fair share of seats or degrees from public institutions of higher education in nearly every state when compared with state demographics and White peers. This, at a time when the U.S. Latino population is rising. Why is this inequity happening? It's not about a lack of talent or aspirations among Latinos—it's the result of "structural racism and injustices throughout the education pipeline" that make it harder to pursue high education, according to the report. “A college degree is the surest path to the middle class. The fact that Latinos don’t have equitable access to enrolling in ...

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How Hispanic Heritage Month Became a Thing


hispanic heritage month celebrate latino stamp proud americans

At Salud America!, we're excited to discuss Latino health during Hispanic Heritage Month! This annual U.S. observance, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. How did this observance start? U.S. Congressmen Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles and Henry B. Gonzales were among those who introduced legislation on the topic in 1968. President Lyndon Johnson implemented the observance as Hispanic Heritage Week that year. U.S. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of Pico Rivera proposed the observance be expanded to cover its current 30-day period. President Ronald Reagan implemented the expansion to Hispanic Heritage Month. It was enacted into law on ...

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Jennifer Thomas: ‘Breast Cancer Can’t Steal our Ability to Sparkle Radiantly’


Jennifer Thomas breast cancer survivor san antonio

By Jennifer Thomas San Antonio, Texas, Cancer Survivor I had just turned 39 when I reached over my shoulder to turn off a lamp, and in so doing, felt a funny “spot” on my breast. Having no history of cancer in my family, I can’t say that was my first thought. But since it WAS October—Breast Cancer Awareness Month—I did call my husband into the living room to see if he felt it as well. This was late January of 2006. Despite being told by everyone the spot was “probably nothing,” I got it checked out and was diagnosed with Stage 1 IDC, fast-growing (grade 3) by the first week of February. I don’t remember getting a second opinion, doing any research, or even asking what my options were. I just know that a week after being diagnosed, I was in surgery ...

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5 Heroes Who Use Bikes to Steer Kids toward Healthier Lives


salud heroes bike healthier for kids

Kids have fun when they ride bikes. They also get needed physical activity. But did you know that riding a bike can aid children's balance, reduce anxiety and stress, reduce their obesity risk, promote social interaction, and help acclimate to their surroundings? That’s why we at Salud America! are spotlighting Salud Heroes who are pushing for safe, bike-friendly environments for Latino and all kids! Dante Jones: A 'Roll Model' for Kids in San Antonio Growing up, Dante Jones always looked forward to weekend bike rides with his father. In those rides with his dad, Jones said he learned important life lessons and experienced the beauty of the outdoors, all while getting exercise. So when his daughter, Glory, was old enough to ride a bike, he decided to start a similar ...

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Anchor It: Protect Kids from Dangerous Furniture Tip-Overs


Anchor it furniture tv tip-overs dangerous child

Sadly, a parent's worst nightmare can happen. One child dies every 11 days on average when a TV or furniture falls onto him or her, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which created the Anchor It! safety campaign. But there are ways to prevent this tragedy from becoming a reality. Why Do Tip-Over Incident Happen? Unsecured TVs, furniture, and appliances lurk in every room. The biggest problem is balance. "When someone pulls a dresser drawer open ... the furniture's center of gravity shifts outward along with it," according to a report by Popular Science. "A weight hung on an open drawer versus one hung on a closed drawer could have significantly different effects—the open drawers make it much more likely to tip." Tall furniture is required to come ...

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Apply Now: $25,000 RWJF Culture of Health Prize


RWJF Culture of Health Prize 2020

A culture of health is where everyone has a fair, just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Is your community creating a Culture of Health? If so, apply for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize! The contest provides $25,000 to communities that unite neighborhood, school, and business partners to improve health for all residents. Read about 2018 Winners In 2018, two majority-Latino communities earned two of the four prize winners. RWJF chose San Antonio, Texas (63.6% Latino) and Cicero, Ill. (88.8% Latino) from about 200 applicants. Eatonville, Fla., and Klamath County, Ore., also won. Salud America!, our national network to promote Latino health equity and healthy change led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, is excited to be stationed at UT Health ...

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Award Finalist: Dr. Amelie Ramirez’s Latino Cancer Research Training Program


Exito Latino Cancer Collage

For the second year in a row, Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training has been named a finalist for Excelencia in Education’s “Examples of Excelencia” that spotlight evidence-based practices that support Latino students in higher education. Éxito! and 15 other finalists were chosen from 166 applications. Winning “Examples of Excelencia” in four categories—associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organizations—will be announced at Excelencia in Education’s annual Celebración de Excelencia on Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Excelencia in Education is a national group that promotes Latinos in higher education. Éxito! is led by Salud America! director Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health ...

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