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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

7 Tips for Latinos to Start a Mental Health Journey



People these days are talking about mental health more than ever before, from real mothers to nonprofit groups to NBA stars to entire TV shows. But it's not always clear how to start your own mental health journey. This is especially unclear among Latinos, who face higher rates of depressive symptoms than many of their peers. And fewer Latinos (8%) than whites (14%) reported that their child had ever used mental health care services, according to a Salud America! research review. "If you’re just embarking on your mental health journey, it’s a scary and stressful time," writes Joe Rodriguez of remezcla.com. 6 Big Tips Rodriguez talked with Latina mental health activist Dior Vargas (formerly of Project UROK) and therapist Omar Torres to create a six-step guide to "help you ...

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How Hispanic Heritage Month Became a Thing


latino kid mariachis

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. Rep. Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles introduced legislation on the topic. President Lyndon Johnson implemented the observance as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. 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. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. Why is the date of this observance important? Sept. 15 is significant ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 9/18: Let’s Improve Immigrant Health


latino boy outside

Latinos immigrants face a big lack of access to support for economic stability, education, and health. To best support Latino immigrant and all families, research shows a need to develop and support high-quality early care and education programs, home environments free of chronic stress, and poverty-reducing programs and policies. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, to tweet about innovative ways to improve health equity and well-being for immigrant and all families! WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat─Let's Improve Immigrant Health! TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludAmerica CO-HOSTS: The Society of Behavioral Medicine ...

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San Antonio Docs to Prescribe Smartphone Quit-Smoking Service


doctor and nurse

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at the UT Health San Antonio, has received a new $1.3 million prevention grant to enable local doctors to guide patients who smoke to join a smartphone-based quit smoking service. The grant is from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) The funding will enhance tobacco screening and treatment for two groups. One is primary care patients at the UT Health Physicians medical practice. The other is oncology care patients at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center. During routine patient visits, doctors will assess and track if a patient smokes. They will then counsel and prompt patients to use their smartphones to join Quitxt. Quitxt encourages quitting smoking via bilingual text or Facebook ...

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Minerva Perez’s Free Ride Program Helps Latinos Overcome ‘Transportation Bullies’


Minerva Perez of Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island (New York)

Minerva Perez hates bullies. In elementary school, Perez did not like when bullies picked on her friends. She became their bodyguard. Today, Perez is standing up to a modern bully—transportation barriers. Limited access to public transportation is bullying Latino families into skipping medical appointments, instilling big fears of deportation, and jeopardizing health in Suffolk County, N.Y. (19.5% Latino). Perez is taking action as leader of Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island. She helped create a unique free van ride program that bridges transportation gaps. It also gives her an advocacy platform to improve public transportation at the local level. How did Perez do it? Is it working? A 3-Hour Bus Ride Getting around in Suffolk County isn't ...

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New Action Pack: How to Start a School Food Pantry



About 1 in 6 children are food insecure. They don't know where their next meal is coming from. Fortunately, your school can help these students! The new Salud America! "School Food Pantry Action Pack" 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 donated and leftover food to students. The Action Pack was created by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Ramirez had input from Jenny Arredondo, nutrition director at San Antonio ISD, who started school food pantries on 10 campuses in 2017-18, based on a Texas law change led by Diego Bernal. Get the ...

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Prepare Your Kids’ Ears for Back to School


noisy planet back to school combined image

Parents and teachers, back-to-school bells are ringing. Have you taken steps to protect the ears and hearing of your children and students? Noise-induced hearing loss—sounds of packed hallways and cafeterias, band practices and concerts, and sporting events—can permanently damage hearing. Thankfully, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has an awesome bilingual campaign: El mundo es ruidoso. Proteja la audición de sus hijos. (It’s a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing.). The campaign helps parents and teachers promote healthy hearing habits: Noisy Planet’s Teacher Toolkit. This toolkit helps teachers instruct preteens about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. It provides easy-to-use resources and step-by-step ...

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


San Pablo, a winner of the 2017 RWJF Culture of Health Prize.

A culture of health is where everyone has a fair and 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 honor communities that bring neighborhood, school, and business partners together to improve health for all residents! In 2017, two majority-Latino communities were among eight prize winners. Chelsea, MA (62% Latino) and San Pablo, CA (55% Latino) were chosen from 200 applicants. Chelsea opened the city’s waterfront, served vulnerable populations, and engaged youth in food justice projects. San Pablo created job training programs, built a community center, and established a youth commission. “San Pablo has ...

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Infographics: Why Your Town Need a Farmers Market


farmers market sales

Does your town have a farmers market? If not, you might miss out on healthy fresh produce. Farmers may fail to engage in the local economy. To celebrate the Farmers Market Coalition's National Farmers Market Week on Aug. 5-11, 2018, we at Salud America! are showcasing the benefits of farmers markets as a way to increase access to fruits and vegetables among Latino and all populations! Farmers Markets Can Help Latinos Latinos frequently live in food swamps. In these swamps, Latinos have no easy access to supermarkets and farmers’ markets, while abundant access to fast food and corner stores. This results in overconsumption of unhealthy foods, according to a Salud America! research review. The number of U.S. farmers’ markets has more than doubled. But many of these markets ...

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