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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 Holiday Actions for Health Equity


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Volunteering for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s helps other people. It gives the volunteer a nice emotional boost, too. So why not volunteer your "voice" or "actions"? We at Salud America! invite you to take or start these 11 actions to promote health equity for Latino and all families this holiday season! 1. Start a School Food Pantry! About 1 in 6 children are food insecure. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Your school can help these kids! Try the Salud America! “School Food Pantry Action Pack.” This is a free guide to help school personnel talk to decision-makers, work through logistics, and start a School Food Pantry to help hungry students and reduce local food insecurity. A School Food Pantry accepts, stores, and redistributes ...

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Get Help Quitting Smoking for the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17!


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You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with Day 1. On Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, you can join thousands of people who will begin their smoke-free journey with the Great American Smokeout. This annual event from the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to make a plan to stop smoking. Need help? Enroll in Quitxt, a free English or Spanish text-message service that turns your phone into a personal “quit smoking” coach from UT Health San Antonio. To join Quitxt, text “iquit” (for English) or “lodejo” (for Spanish) to 844-332-2058. “For the Great American Smokeout, we’re excited to share Quitxt to provide real-time help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, handling stress, and much more, all on your phone,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, ...

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Update: Coronavirus Case Rates and Death Rates for Latinos in the United States


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The coronavirus, COVID-19, can affect anyone. But reports show Latinos and other people of color are disproportionately affected, amid worsening historical inequities. What are the data really showing? UPDATE 12/1/22: New U.S., state, and city data! COVID-19 Case Rates for Latinos The U.S. population recently rose to 18.9% Latino. Coronavirus is disproportionately sickening Latinos. Variants like Delta and Omicron sparked case surges, too. Latinos currently comprise 24.6% of COVID-19 cases in the United States, second only to Whites (53.4%), according to CDC data on health equity and cases on Nov. 24, 2022. Race/ethnicity data is available for 65% of the nation's cases. COVID-19-associated hospitalizations also have been higher among Latinos. Several states are also ...

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Honoring Latino Military Heroes on Veteran’s Day


Lt. Evita Salles, a Latino Military Personnel for Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is on Nov. 11, 2022. We at Salud America! are excited to honor all U.S. military personnel, including the Latinos, who have served our country. Latinos in the Military: History Latinos have a “proud and indeed enviable” record of military service that dates back to the Civil War, according to a U.S. Army historical website. About 20,000 Latino serviceman and women participated in Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, 80,000 in the Vietnam War in 1959-1973, and more than 400,000 in World War II in 1939-1945. Latinos have received more than 40 Medals of Honor, according to the Department of Defense. “Whether their heritage can be traced to Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, or one of dozens of other Spanish-speaking countries or cultures, they’ve ...

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Oprah Chooses Dr. Amelie Ramirez as a ‘Cycle Breaker’ for Latino Health



TV personality Oprah Winfrey has selected Dr. Amelie Ramirez of UT Health San Antonio as a "Cycle Breaker" for her groundbreaking work to build health equity in the Latino community. Cycle Breakers is a video series from the Smithsonian Channel that spotlights leaders who are solving health disparities in marginalized communities. Each Cycle Breaker is chosen by Oprah to augment her documentary, The Color of Care, which chronicles how people of color suffer from systemically substandard US healthcare and how COVID-19 exposed the tragic consequences of this inequity. Ramirez's episode, released Oct. 3, 2022, features her life's work to break the cycles of inequities that worsen health for Latinos. "Cycles are tough to break. Amelie Ramirez is the driving force behind an ...

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What Makes Health Promotion Programs Successful?


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Cancer health disparities. COVID-19. Climate change. These challenges require public health leaders to create programs and policy solutions that address a complex web of factors that influence health status, from biology to social determinants and systemic inequities. In a new book, Health Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation, public health education specialist Dr. Lawrence W. Green and his team of editors and chapter authors combine their expertise to offer a high-level guide to public health promotion and programming. The book has a chapter, "Applications in Community Settings," written by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez and Dr. Patricia Chalela of UT Health San Antonio. "Program and policy solutions to population health challenges require systematic planning, ...

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Advancing Health Equity for Latinos Through WIC


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By Deputy Under Secretary Stacy Dean, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Amelie Ramirez, DrPH, MPH, Director, Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio is excited to partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to discuss the importance of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for the Hispanic/Latino Community. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the important contributions the Hispanic/Latino community has made across the country. We also acknowledge the vital food and nutrition programs that impact the community every day at school, at home, and in the community, including WIC. More than 6.2 million women, infants, and ...

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Hispanic Heritage Month—Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation


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By Dr. Fátima Coronado CDC, Salud America! Guest Blogger Every year, the United States recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) from September 15 to October 15, to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of generations of Hispanic Americans born in and outside the U.S., who have helped to shape this diverse country. The theme for this year’s NHHM is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. In Hispanic culture, unidos (in unity, with inclusivity) is associated with positive outcomes. Being unidos is necessary for getting through tough times, for meeting goals and getting things done together. NHHM provides an opportunity to acknowledge that while many health indicators have improved for most people in the U.S., significant disparities in health and ...

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Watch Webinar: Ladies, Why Should You Get Screened for Cancer?



Latinas have lower cancer screening rates than their peers in South Texas and the nation. To find out why, we conducted a Zoom webinar — “Ladies, Why Should You Get Screened for Cancer?” — at 1 p.m. CT on Oct. 4, 2022. This webinar featured guest speakers and patient advocates to help health care professionals and the Latino public to help health care professionals and the Latino public understand the cultural and other barriers to cancer screening and demystify screening tests. Speakers also shared testimonials of their cancer journey and why they get screened. This is the sixth and final webinar of a series, “Let’s Address Health Equity Together.” The series is a collaboration of the Salud America! program at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT ...

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