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Rafael Diaz

Rafael Diaz is the newest team member for Salud America!, joining as a digital content curator in Fall 2017. He is a Texas A&M University graduate who is passionate about holistic health promotion in Latino families. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, basketball, and loves to travel to Mexico with his family.

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Articles by Rafael Diaz

Fred Cardenas: Improving Mental Healthcare for Kids in San Antonio

"I hear demons telling me to be bad." "I need my medicine to calm down." "Mom has a new boyfriend, but that’s okay cause dad has a new girlfriend." Fred Cardenas has heard these statements from kids ages 6 and younger who suffer mental health issues. Cardenas, who has spent 30 years in early childhood services in San Antonio (68% Latino), said overwhelmed parents and stressed teachers struggle to deal with these kids. Health workers too often look for a psychiatric diagnosis to medicate. He wanted to help parents, teachers, and health workers look more at the context and relationships experienced by the kids. So Cardenas helped build a program—Early Childhood Well Being (ECWB) at Family Service Association of San Antonio. ECWB intervenes early for kids ages 0-8 ...

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Group Teaches Therapists ‘Latino Culture’ to Improve Mental Health Care

Liz Franklin made an important discovery about mental healthcare for the Latino population in her years as school therapist at Washburn Center for Children in Hennepin County (6.9% Latino), Minn. Speaking Spanish is good—but it's not enough to understand Latinos' thoughts and situations. "You won’t get everything right if you just translate things literally," Franklin told the MinnPost. "You have to understand the deeper meanings, and to do that takes time and a lot of communication." That's why Franklin decided to help. She created a consortium of more than 80 Spanish-speaking therapists, doctors, and other mental healthcare providers to share more about the Latino culture and the issues that this population faces. Latinos and Mental Health Latinos are less likely ...

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A Need for Diabetes Education for Migrant Farmworkers

Stawberry Harvest in Central California

The U.S. is home to more than three million migrant farmworkers, according to the National Center for Farmworker Health. Who are these migrant farmworkers? Most are Latino men—fathers, husbands, sons—who leave Mexico with dreams of making enough money to support their families back home, then ultimately returning to their homeland. The health challenges these farmworkers face, like diabetes, rarely get attention. A Nurse's Care for Farmworkers Elisabeth Almekinder, a registered nurse who has spent 22 years in public health in South Carolina, knows the health issues facing farmworkers. Almekinder has built up the diabetes self-management education program at her health department in the Coastal Region of North Carolina. Her favorite class to teach is one for ...

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Latino Parents Reporting ADHD Higher Than Ever

Frustrated Latino Son and Mother Study Homework School

More than 17 million U.S. kids and adults, including a rising number of Latinos, have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). So what exactly is ADHD? Who gets ADHD? How can you tell if your child has this mental condition? How is it treated? We at Salud America! are excited to share some answers during ADHD Awareness Month in October. What is ADHD? ADHD is a brain disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, according to the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). Yes, everybody can have difficulty sitting still or paying attention. We make rash, impulsive decisions on occasion. But for others, these behaviors are so pervasive and persistent that they interfere ...

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4 High-Tech Ways to Bring Good Nutrition to Low-Income Latinos

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Nutrition education—when it's accessible—can help low-income Latino and all families eat healthier. Four innovative projects used text messages, online programs, and other technologies to boost the reach and impact of nutrition education among participants in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) federal food assistance program. In each project, technology made nutrition education more accessible and useful. "Technology appears to have an impact on keeping our families in the program," said Dr. Shannon Whaley of UCLA, which led one of the studies. "This use of technology matters, and it is where WIC probably needs to go." Why Is Nutrition Education a Big Deal? Latinos tend to lack access to healthy food, according to a Salud America! Research Review. One big way ...

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Project UROK: Teens Combat Mental Illness via Social Media

What I if I told you there was an Internet community for Latino and all teens to tell their stories and empower other youth who are battling depression or anxiety? Well, it exists, and that's Project UROK—"You Are Okay" or "You Rock"—is all about! What is Project UROK? Project UROK, a nonprofit created by writer/comedian Jenny Jaffe in 2014 and now part of the Child Mind Institute, aims to help youth and reduce the stigma around mental health. On the program's website, teens can register for a free, anonymous, safe account. Then they can comment on and favorite videos, from comedy sketches to informational videos to podcasts and scripted web series, and access resources for dealing with abuse, suicidal thoughts, alcohol and drug abuse, etc. They can even make their ...

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