About the Author

Author Picture

Alyssa Gonzales

Articles by Alyssa Gonzales

“No Child Should Go to Bed Hungry”: White House Takes Action on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health


Collage of Conference

The Biden-Harris Administration announced its goal to eliminate hunger in America, improve diet and physical activity, and reduce diet-related disease by 2030 during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on Sept. 28, 2022 – the first such conference in over 50 years. The goal is based on five pillars of strategic action: Improve food access and affordability. Integrate nutrition and health. Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices. Support physical activity for all. Enhance nutrition and food security research. President Joe Biden also shared three foundational principles for the goal. “Help more Americans access the food that will keep their families nourished and healthy, lot of food deserts out there. Second, ...

Read More

Reframing Childhood Obesity Through a Cultural Lens


Latino family eating dinner.

In the last few years, childhood obesity has become a global epidemic. The effort to change individual choices – like diet and physical activity – hasn’t solved the problem, and also contributes to weight discrimination. That is why we need to use cultural insights, nutritional science, and a systemic focus to improve child health, according to a new report from the Vanderbilt University Cultural Context of Health and Wellbeing Initiative. “What we label ‘obesity’ is produced by interrelated systems in which human biology interacts with environments, social norms, economic structures, and historical legacies,” according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation blog post about the report, Reframing Childhood Obesity: Cultural Insights on Nutrition, Weight and Food ...

Read More

Leonel Rodriguez: Helpful Treatment Through a Cancer Clinical Trial


Leonel Rodriguez latino cancer survivor

Leonel Rodriguez got some terrible news in November 2019. Doctors diagnosed Rodriguez, a South Texas resident, with mantle cell lymphoma – an aggressive, rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After going through several treatment options, his disease persisted. He soon learned about a potentially beneficial clinical trial for lymphoma patients at the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio. Clinical trials help researchers learn how to better slow, manage, and treat diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. “[Clinical trials were] the best way because, you know, I feel good now with the treatment,” Rodriguez said. “Now I feel I've been feeling well, and well, well.” Rodriguez’s Decision to Participate in a Clinical Trial Rodriguez first experienced problems in ...

Read More

Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde: Latina Led Push for Diversity in Nursing


murillo rohde

During Hispanic Heritage Month, Salud America! is celebrating Latino trailblazers, historical figures, and inspirational stories. In this article spotlight, we will recognize Ildaura Murillo-Rohde, PhD, RN, FAAN. Dr. Murillo-Rhode was a nurse and professor who strived to serve underrepresented communities and create equal opportunities for Latinos within health professions. Early Life of Murillo-Rohde Dr. Murillo-Rhode was born in on Sept. 26, 1920, in Panama. She immigrated to San Antonio, Texas, in 1945. Born into a family of health physicians, Rohde studied to become a nurse. Dr. Murillo-Rohde earned a nursing diploma from the Medical and Surgical Hospital School of Nursing in San Antonio, Texas, according to the NYAM Center for History. Early on, she realized ...

Read More

Franklin Chang Diaz: The First Latino in Space



In childhood, many of us gazed into the night sky to glimpse a shooting star and make a wish. For Franklin Chang Diaz, he wished to explore the stars. Chang Diaz would go on to do just that after becoming the first Latino American to go to space after he was selected by NASA in 1980. Early Life of Chang Diaz Franklin Chang Diaz was born on April 5, 1950, in San José, Costa Rica. As a child he imagined himself being launched into space to explore the planets. “Growing up in Costa Rica, Franklin Chang Díaz and his friends would put chairs sideways inside a big cardboard box in his backyard and pretend it was a rocket ship. Sitting with their backs to the ground, they would go through the countdown, imitate the launch procedures they’d heard about and, in their minds, ...

Read More

Nearly 1 in 5 Latinos Don’t Have Access to Enough Food


Healthy food

Hunger declined in the U.S. from 2020 to 2021, but 1 in 10 households were still food insecure ─ with no reliable access to enough food – according to a new USDA report. Food insecurity disproportionately impacted people of color, too. A higher percentage of Latino (16.2%) and Black (19.8%) households experienced food insecurity than White households (7%), the report found. Still, the problem could have been worse. “We know that matters would be far worse if not for the federal nutrition programs and the critical additional investments that were made to combat hunger during the pandemic,” according to a news release from the Food Action & Research Center (FRAC) about the new USDA data. Let’s explore the state of food insecurity among Latinos and the importance ...

Read More

Help South Texas Researchers Learn About Aging


Compadre CART

By 2030, 40% of Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. will be Latino or Black. However, Latinos make up less than 1% of participants in National Institutes of Health clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies that help researchers learn more to help slow, manage, and treat Alzheimer’s and cancer for current and future family members. Without Latino volunteers for clinical trials, the benefits may miss this group. With Compadre CART at the Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio participants have the opportunity to help an underrepresented, high-risk group maintain independence with aging. To participate, contact Luis Serranorubio of the research team at 210-450-8447. Compadre CART Study Goals To learn more about why ...

Read More

Find Out Your Community’s Environmental Justice Score


Neighborhood

Wonder how much the environment is impacting health in your city? Use the CDC’s newest tool – the Environmental Justice Index (EJI) – to get a single environmental justice score for your community. The EJI measures the cumulative impacts of environmental burden through the lens of human health and health equity. It uses data from the CDC, U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. CDC officials hope public health officials use the EJI score to identify and map areas most at risk for the health impacts of environmental burden. “Social factors such as poverty, race, and ethnicity, along with pre-existing health conditions may increase these [environmental] impacts,” according to the CDC. “This ...

Read More

Sgt. Billy Killebrew: Helping Kids Who Deal with Trauma in Brownsville, Texas


billy killebrew of brownsville police handle with care

Brownsville Police Sgt. Billy Killebrew knows a lot of children experience divorce, witness domestic violence, and suffer other trauma at home or in the community. He wants to help those children. So he worked with advocates to start the Handle With Care Program at the newly opened Jubilee Leadership Academy campus in Brownsville, Texas. For the program, Brownsville police notify campus leaders when they encounter children at a traumatic scene, so school personnel can provide support the next day, as needed. “We never know what kids go through at home, they come to school, and sometimes they just don't feel like being there. They're in a bad mood, and just like us, as adults, you know, we have a bad day and not everybody knows a source of that bad day,” said Killebrew, the ...

Read More