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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

Latina Cancer Survivor Makes a Career of Helping Others with Cancer



A wave of shock swept over Olga Cardona as she listened to her doctor. “You have breast cancer.” Cardona knew nothing about cancer. She thought it was a death sentence. She was scared. She worried more when her insurance wouldn’t cover all chemotherapy. How could this be happening to me? A patient navigator calmed her fears. The navigator, a trained community health worker, taught Cardona what cancer is, got her in a breast cancer support group, and led her to resources to cover her treatment. Cardona, years later, now is in remission—and she became a promotora to promote health at the San Ysidro Health Center in California, where she was first diagnosed. “I wanted to pay it forward because I felt so grateful to everyone that had helped me through my battle,” Cardona ...

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Spanish Video: Why Get the HPV Vaccine?



The HPV vaccine can prevent certain cancer types. Watch a new video by Dr. Eduardo Azziz of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find out why it's important for Latinos to get the ...

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New Program to Bring Patient Navigators, Breast Cancer Screening and Education to South Texas Women



Minority women have low breast cancer screening rates. Even if they are screened, they delay confirmatory diagnosis and treatment because of costs, cultural and language issues, competing responsibilities, and more. That’s why Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, professor and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, is offering the Navegando Salud patient navigator program, which trains bilingual, bicultural community health workers to offer breast cancer screenings, education and other services to women in South Texas. Navegando Salud just received a one-year, $100,000 grant from the Avon Foundation. The grant was among 10 announced at the 12th Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Houston on April 13, 2014. “We’re ...

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Community Health Educators Give Helping Hand to Racial/Ethnic Cancer Survivors



The number of U.S. cancer survivors is rising. But the post-cancer journey can be tough, especially for Latinos and other minorities, who face worry about recurring disease, hard decisions regarding follow-up care, lack of emotional support and finances. That's why the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has a national outreach network of community health educators (CHEs) are stationed at NCI-funded agencies across the country to help patients and their families receive survivorship support, according to an NCI article. The NCI article showcases several examples of CHEs in action. The report includes Sandra San Miguel de Majors, a CHE with the NCI's Reden En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the University of ...

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How to Increase Latino Participation in Potentially Life-Saving Cancer Clinical Trials


latino doctor with patient

Only 5% percent of Latinos participate in federal clinical trials, giving researchers fewer chances to find new cancer treatments for this population. What can a health agency do to get more Latinos into clinical trials? A new guide, Clinical Trials Outreach for Latinos: Program Replication Manual, developed by researchers at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio, was created to help health agencies reach into Latino communities and increase their participation in cancer clinical trials. With the guide, a health agency can: Learn about cancer clinical trials; Learn about donation of biospecimens (human materials such as skin, hair, and bodily fluids); Learn the need for Latino-focused outreach to increase trial accrual and ...

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Only 58% of Latinas in South Texas Get the HPV Vaccine



Only 58% of Latinas in South Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley start the three-dose HPV vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer, compared to 65% across the U.S., studies show. That's why researchers are testing strategies to improve HPV vaccination rates. The Immunization Partnership recently brought together several experts for a community forum to offer some of the latest solutions. For example, one study is using promotoras (trained community health workers in the Latina community) and student peer educators to engage mothers and daughters in South Texas about the HPV vaccine. This project is directed by Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, professor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday. Watch this video for ...

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New Video/Audio ‘Lifelines’ to Help Reduce Cancer among Latino and Other Minority Populations



Hispanics suffer higher rates of certain cancers, including cervical cancer and childhood leukemia, than other groups. That is one of the reasons behind Lifelines, a series of cancer education articles, videos and audio files from the National Cancer Institute’s Multicultural Media Outreach (MMO) program. The Lifelines series, in both English and Spanish, addresses cancer prevention, treatment, survivorship, health disparities, clinical trials and other cancer-related topics for African-American, Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander and Native American populations. Lifelines Videos feature videos on a wide range of topics, including colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer, tobacco use and lung cancer, complementary and alternative medicine, and nutrition and cancer ...

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‘Breast Friends Forever’: A Unique Support Group for Young Women with Breast Cancer


BFFs breast cancer survivor suppport group

Amy Cleveland, fresh out of college and just starting a career in marketing, discovered a coarse lump in her breast while putting on some tanning oil. Only age 22, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was a struggle for me because I was young and there was no one my own age I could relate to or confide in about having cancer. People always say, ‘My mom had that,’ or, ‘My grandma had that.’ But it’s tough for young people,” Cleveland said. Fortunately, Cleveland—now age 28 and free of cancer—found some “Breast Friends Forever,” thanks to a unique support group for young breast cancer survivors developed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio and Susan G. Komen San Antonio. The BFF ...

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