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Alyssa Gonzales

Articles by Alyssa Gonzales

Comment Now: Help Close the Digital Divide in Texas!

Having fast, affordable internet can improve lives with access to education, healthcare, and jobs, among other important opportunities.  But nearly 7 million Texans are being left behind, without high-speed internet.   With this in mind, the Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) is encouraging public comments on the proposed Texas Digital Opportunity Plan.   The digital opportunity plan focuses on “closing the digital divide in Texas and ensuring every Texan has the skills and abilities to fully and safely utilize broadband access.”   Submit a comment on the draft plan to address broadband access, affordability, and adoption in Texas by Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.   Comment NOW! Why Is the Digital Divide an Issue?  About 2.8 million Texas households are in the ...

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Protect Your Family from RSV

With the winter season in full swing, it’s peak time for flu, COVID-19, and RSV.   Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms.  Most people recover in a week or two. But RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. Latino children also face a “significantly higher burden.”  “[A recent study] found that 59% of the burden of respiratory infections [including RSV] was distributed among Blacks and Hispanics, despite these population groups being ethnic minorities in the US,” MD Newsline reports.  Let’s dive into how RSV can be transmitted, common symptoms, and how you can protect yourself and loved ones from getting infected.   What Are the Symptoms of RSV?  People infected with RSV ...

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Restoring Trustworthiness in the Healthcare System

The COVID-19 pandemic hurt public trust in healthcare and science. Trust is especially low among communities that experience health disparities and barriers to healthcare, according to Dr. David W. Baker of The Joint Commission in Illinois. “Black and Latino communities faced inadequate testing, financial barriers to care, and disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths, further threatening their trust in physicians, the health care system, public health, and science,” Baker wrote in his article, Trust in Health Care in the Time of COVID-19. Misinformation and a lack of trust in healthcare can spur a cycle of reduced care and ultimately contribute to worse health outcomes. But how can trust in healthcare be restored? Reasons for Latino Distrust in ...

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Are COVID-19 Vaccines Free for Children?

Latino and Black parents were less likely than White parents to say they felt their child was “very safe” from COVID-19 when they were at school, according to a recent study.  How can you protect your children?   Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your children against the worst outcomes of the virus – and COVID-19 vaccines are available and free for children!  Let’s explore how “You’re Covered” against COVID-19!  COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations for Children  As of Sept. 12, 2023, CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 and older get one dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against serious illness from COVID-19.  CDC recommends the 2023-2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax, to protect against ...

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How You Can “Come Home Covered” This Holiday Season

come home covered Multi-ethnic family exchanging presents during Christmas party at home. Young kid daughter receive gift from senior grandparent while having dinner to celebrate holiday Thanksgiving on dining table.

This holiday season, as many of us prepare to celebrate with friends and familia, it is important to do all we can to stay healthy and protect against COVID-19. To prevent severe illness, vaccines are still our best tool. The good news is: You’re covered! Updated COVID-19 vaccines are now available and remain free of cost to you! See how you can “Come Home Covered” against COVID-19 during the holidays! Should We Worry about COVID-19? COVID-19 has not gone away. U.S. Latinos continue to suffer a disproportionate share of cases. Also, CDC data shows that the percentages of positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths have increased from October 2023 to December 2023. With holiday celebrations upon us, it’s crucial that people and their loved ones are up to date ...

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You’re Covered: How to Get a Free COVID-19 Vaccine!

U.S. Latinos continue to suffer a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases.  This not only interrupts important parts of our daily lives, but also put people at risk of serious illness and death.  Staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your familia against the worst outcomes of COVID-19.  But who should get the vaccine? Are they free? Where?  Let’s explore how “You’re Covered” against COVID-19!  Are COVID-19 Vaccines Free?  Yes.  COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available to everyone in the United States free of cost, according to the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.  Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio is partner in the project’s “You’re Covered” campaign.  “You may have ...

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Explore the U.S. Playbook to Address Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)

Individual health is influenced by a variety of non-medical factors, like where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age.   These conditions are known as Social Determinants of Health (SDoH).  To help improve health and wellbeing through SDoH, the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released new resources, including the first-ever U.S. Playbook to Address Social Determinants of Health.  “It is clear that the health of our people does not exist in a vacuum, but it is affected by our access to stable housing, healthy food, and clean air to breathe,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “It is crucial for HHS to tackle health care and public health holistically by addressing patients’ social ...

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Dr. Veronica Ramirez: Keeping Her Community Healthy with Infection Control

Dr. Veronica Ramirez is the first physician in her family.   The youngest of four children, Ramirez grew up in Escondido, California, with an interest in service. She watched her parents generously help others and give back to the community.   So, when Ramirez’s aunt, who she was very close to, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in her late 30s, Ramirez was motivated to take her service orientation to a new level – medical school – to help those like her aunt.   “Seeing her go through that experience inspired me to want to go into medicine to help others,” Ramirez said.   Ramirez has done more than achieve her goal.   As an assistant clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, a hospitalist with UCLA Health, and a fellow ...

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3 Ways to Support Latino Men’s Health

Did you know 12.1% of men are in fair or poor health?  Similarly, the average life expectancy of men in the United States is almost 5 years less than women (76.2 compared to 81).   November is National Men’s Health Awareness Month, highlighting the importance of men’s physical and mental health while encouraging support for men facing prostate, testicular, and other cancers.  In November (and beyond), here are some ways you can support men’s health!   Latino Men’s Health  Latino men face many health disparities when it comes to physical and mental health.   For example, while national suicide rates decreased, the rates went up 6% for Latino men, according to a 2022 article from Texas Public Radio.   Machismo and other forms of stigma can play a large part ...

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