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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

How Coronavirus Is Crippling Rural Health Care, Especially for Latinos


rural latino hispanic farm worker health care coronavirus covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic is weakening the already-fragile rural health care safety net, and endangering health of rural residents, public health experts say. Here are a few ways this is happening. The Rural Health Care System and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rural hospitals are small businesses that their communities rely upon. But health staff is becoming sick. Cash-flow problems are at crisis levels, according to the National Rural Health Association. They list these troubles: Adequate number of supplies and tests EMS shortages, as many in rural communities are volunteers; Overall workforce shortages if rural providers get sick; Telehealth waivers and site flexibility for Rural Health Clinics; Critical Access Hospital waivers; and Need for loan ...

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Minnie Morales: From Cancer at Age 20 to Life as a Survivor


Minnie Morales breast cancer survivor2

By Minnie Morales San Antonio Cancer Survivor I've always felt there are many ways to view any situation and essentially make light of anything you are going through. I never imagined having to face such dark days as early as 20 years old, but that is what God asked me to do. When I graduated high school and started getting my prerequisites for nursing school, life was hard enough transitioning into adulthood! I fully trusted the doctors when I showed them a large lump in my right breast that I found while sitting in my college class. "It's just a cyst... you're too young to get breast cancer, don't worry about it." Because breast cancer doesn't run in my family and I had never encountered anything like that at 19, I believed what I was told. I finished my ...

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Coronavirus Care: Amazing Acts of Kindness during a Pandemic


coronavirus COVID-19 latino women helps neighbor with kindess buying her groceries

The coronavirus pandemic is causing fear and hoarding of groceries. But it's also inspiring beautiful acts of kindness around the nation. Kindness and equity can be rare during times of panic. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a serious condition that demands our attention. Smokers are uniquely susceptible. But, even amid an unusual disease outbreak, people and organizations are showing that kindness is instrumental in caring for people and promoting survival and health equity in tough times. "At a time of so much fear and uncertainty, these acts of kindness — for those committing and receiving them — are a desperately needed balm," says Latina writer Helen Ubiñas of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "A unifying act of humanity that reminds us that we are all in this ...

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‘Next-Level’ Patient Navigation Improves Quality of Life for Latino Cancer Survivors


patient navigation latino cancer patient survivor medical forms

Latino cancer survivors who have a "next-level" patient navigator—one who regularly calls to offer support and culturally tailored materials—have better health-related quality of life than survivors with a more passive navigator, according to a new study by UT Health San Antonio, University of Miami, and Northwestern University. The study, published in the journal Cancer, provided patient navigation services to 288 Latino breast, prostate, and colon cancer survivors in San Antonio and Chicago. Half of survivors got access to a typical navigator. They could reach out to their navigator for help with paperwork, transportation, appointment scheduling, translation, accompaniment, and more. The other half got access to a "next-level" patient navigator who offers the same ...

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Study: Since Trump, Latino Youth Anxiety Over Immigration Has Skyrocketed


hispanic boy teen youth child immigrant sad anxiety mental health

U.S.-born Latino youth with immigrant parents suffer "significantly increased" anxiety over immigration since the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, according to a recent study. Researchers in California and Arizona studied 397 U.S. citizen children of Latino immigrants. They compared children before the election at age 14 and after the election at age 16, to see if their concerns over immigration policy linked up to worse mental, physical health. Nearly half the youth worried "at least sometimes" about U.S. immigration policy. That included whether they'd be reported to immigration officials or their parents would be deported. Their health problems surged after the 2016 election, according to the study. "Fear and worry about the personal consequences of current U.S. ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 3/17: Strategies for Social Justice & Health Equity


social justice health equity protest group tweetchat

We want to see a United States that achieves health equity, where all people have a fair, just opportunity to live their healthiest lives. But so many people face social, environmental, and health injustices. So let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to discuss the state of social justice and offer strategies on how we can all work together to achieve health equity for all! WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: Strategies for Social Justice and Health Equity TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, March 17, 2020 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludAmerica CO-HOSTS:  The Association of American Medical Colleges (@AAMCtoday), Dr. Karey Sutton (@DR_KMSutton), Dr. Philip M. Alberti (@PM_Alberti) HASHTAG: #SaludTues OPTIONAL HASHTAGS: ...

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Amelie Ramirez Leads Push for Progress in Latino Cancer


Amelie Ramirez at the Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference 2020

We are in the “golden age” of cancer drug development with over 50 drugs approved for cancer treatment in the past three years. But things aren’t golden for everyone. In fact, of all the clinical trials for those 50 drug approvals, fewer than 10% of participants were Latino or other people of color. That is part of the reason why Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of UT Health San Antonio co-hosted the 2nd Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference Feb. 26-28, 2020, in San Antonio. The conference united nearly 300 researchers, oncologists, physicians, community leaders, policymakers and students. "We can’t ensure that cancer treatments—or intervention, prevention, and outreach methods—work for Latinos if they get left out of the picture," said Ramirez, who directs ...

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8 Big Questions for Latinos on the New Public Charge Rules and Immigration


Latino immigrant family boy public charge

A new Public Charge rule is part of U.S. immigration policy, as of Feb. 24, 2020. Supporters say it will protect taxpayers from overspending on welfare. They say it will help accept self-reliant, industrious immigrants. Detractors say it will inflame deportation fears among immigrants. They say it will cause immigrants to forgo needed food, housing vouchers, and health care—even if eligible. Here is what Latinos and all people should know about Public Charge. 1. What Is 'Public Charge'? The Public Charge rule has served as an immigration policy since the 1880s. The rule sets up "grounds of inadmissibility." That is, it spells out reasons that a person could be denied a green card, visa, or admission" to the U.S., according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. A ...

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Changing the Conversation on Latino Obesity for Obesity Care Week 2020


Obesity Care Week 2020 photo from the World Obesity Federation

Obesity Care Week 2020 (#OCW2020) is here! From March 1-7, 2020, Salud America!, our Latino health equity program at UT Health San Antonio, is happy to be an OCW2020 Champion to support this awareness week. Obesity Care Week has a global vision for a society that understands, respects, and accepts the complexities of obesity and values science and clinically-based care. Salud America! research shows that U.S. Latinos face inequities in many areas—from poverty and social support to access to affordable housing and transportation—that contribute to higher rates of obesity. Latino adults and children have higher obesity rates (47% and 25.8%, respectively) than whites (37.9% adults and 14% children). Addressing the root causes can help address obesity. #OCW2020 has different ...

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