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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

Dr. Amelie Ramirez to Chair New Department of Population Health Sciences at UT Health San Antonio


Amelie Ramirez Latino Health Champion 2018

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at the the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio and a leading health disparities researcher, has been named chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, announced Dr. Robert Hromas, dean of the Long School of Medicine. The appointment is effective June 1. Dr. Hromas also announced that the department will be renamed the Department of Population Health Sciences. The new department will continue to provide services in all biological and medical analytical areas. It will also focus on efforts to use analytical tools to enhance the health of the unique populations in San Antonio and South Texas. Dr. Ramirez will continue to serve as director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research, ...

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Erika Zamarripa: Learning to Live After Breast Cancer


Erika Zamarripa breast cancer survivor San Antonio

By Erika Zamarripa San Antonio Cancer Survivor There is that "C" word again. Cancer can be defined as a "disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body." Or it also can be defined as a "practice or phenomenon perceived to be evil or destructive and hard to contain or eradicate." Whatever you want to call it, it sucks. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 ER positive breast cancer at the age of 32 on Dec. 18, 2013. My twin boys were only 9 years old at the time and I was working at H-E-B Pharmacy. I remember one day taking a shower and I felt a lump on my breast. This lump hurt when I touched it and the longer, I felt it, the more I started to worry. I called my gynecologist and made an appointment. He felt it and sent me for a mammogram and an ...

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8 Unconventional Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo


diverse group volunteering for environmental clean up

What are you doing for Cinco de Mayo? Many will use it as an excuse to party with margaritas and tacos. We at Salud America! invite you to think outside the box and celebrate Cinco de Mayo in one of six unconventional ways. 1. Find Out What Cinco de Mayo Really Means Cinco de Mayo ("Fifth of May") does not celebrate Mexico's Independence Day. Mexico won independence on Sept. 16, 1810. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. Still, it has evolved into an observance of Mexican heritage. "In the 1950s, Chicano activists turned Cinco de Mayo into a commemorative holiday used to educate Mexican Americans about their cultural heritage," ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 4/16: Why Housing Matters for Our Health


Latino minority family moving into affordable housing for health equity

Did you know housing can influence your health? Inside our homes, we need an environment free of lead, mold, smoke, and other toxins. Outside our homes, we need access to quality medical care, transit, schools, jobs, and grocery stores. But certain communities lack access to these types of home environments. Others struggle to afford a home or steady housing. This undermines their opportunities for a healthy life. Let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, to share innovative strategies to improve access to safe, secure, affordable housing for Latino and all communities: WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Strong Foundations: Why Housing Matters for Our Health” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, April 16, 2019 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag ...

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Yvette Pavon: Living Life Better After Breast Cancer


Yvette Pavon breast cancer survivor 1

By Yvette Pavon San Antonio Cancer Survivor At the age of 42, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was found after my very first mammogram. Never did I think that a check up that I had scheduled only because it was something that women did when they got older, would discover I had cancer. I had no symptoms. When my gynecologist shared the news with me in her office, I think I was in complete denial. I mean I went for this mammogram on my own free will, not because of my doctor's concern. I remember going to dinner that night with my father, stepmother, and newly boyfriend. I wasn't scared when talking about it. I knew letting my mind run wild would not help, so I talked to God that night. "God, please give me the strength and courage that I need to get through ...

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How to Dismantle 5 Ugly Drivers of Health Inequity



Health equity is when everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live their healthiest life possible. Yet health inequity remains. Latinos, for example, face discriminatory policies and barriers to healthcare, social support, healthy food, and more. That's why we're proud to share A Blueprint for Changemakers: Achieving Health Equity Through Law & Policy, a new report from ChangeLab Solutions and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that can help communities advance a local agenda to ensure health equity for everyone. The Blueprint report offers key policies and legal strategies on five underlying realities behind health inequity: 1. Reduce Structural Discrimination Historic oppression, segregation, and bias create health inequity. Among Latinos, implicit bias impacts ...

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Why 2 Latino Cities Rank as the Least Healthy in U.S.



Two Texas cities—Laredo (95.4% Latino) and Brownsville (93.9% Latino)—rank as the least healthy U.S. cities, according to the 2019 Healthiest & Unhealthiest Cities in America by WalletHub. The ranking scores 174 large cities based on 42 health indicators. They look at cost of medical visits, and the number of dieticians and mental health counselors. They also factor in the amount of green space, trails, and healthy restaurants. Healthy food consumption and physical activity also has weight. "Some places promote wellness by expanding access to nutritious food and recreational facilities. Others strive to keep healthcare costs affordable for everyone or keep parks clean and well-maintained," according to WalletHub. "When a city doesn’t take care of these issues, it can ...

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The Sad Reason More Latino Kids Don’t Participate in School Sports, Activities



Nearly 21% of Latino parents said their middle- and high-school children would not participate in any school activities in 2018-19, a higher rate than parents overall (18%), according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan. These kids miss the boost in educational achievement and personal development that stem from school extracurricular activities, from sports to student council. So why aren't more kids participating? The Biggest Reason: Cost Most middle- and high-schoolers will participate in at least one school activity in 2018-19. This includes 52% in sports, 43% in arts, and 51% in clubs/other, according to the poll. But cost is the biggest reason keeping other kids from participating. Many school ...

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5 Pediatrician-Approved Policies to Limit Kids’ Sugary Drinks (Including Soda Taxes)


Latino toddler kid with sugury drink obesity

In a joint policy statement today, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) endorsed five public health measures—including excise taxes—to reduce kids’ consumption of sugary drinks. The statement appears in the April 2019 issue of Pediatrics. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and teens consume fewer than 10% of calories from added sugars. But data show that they now consume 17% of their calories from added sugars—half of which come from sports drinks, fruit-flavored drinks and sodas. Latino children consume more sugary drinks than their peers. "On average, children are consuming over 30 gallons of sugary drinks every year. This is enough to fill a bathtub, and it doesn’t even include added sugars ...

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