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Alyssa Gonzales

Articles by Alyssa Gonzales

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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4 Essential Steps to Ensure Food Is Prepared Safely

When the holidays season is in full swing, families and friends gather to enjoy time together over warms meals and plenty of dessert.   But sometimes food spoils the party.  Every year, foodborne diseases sicken 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people), hospitalize 128,000 people, and kill 3,000 people, according to the CDC.   Let’s tackle how we can prepare food safely and keep the holidays healthy.  What Is Food Poisoning?  You can get sick with food poisoning after swallowing certain germs like salmonella.  Common symptoms include:   Diarrhea  Stomach pain or cramps  Nausea  Vomiting  Fever  “Most people have mild illnesses [from food poisoning], but some infections spread by food are serious or even life-threatening. Some people may need ...

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Latinos, Protect Yourself and Others During Flu Season

The winter holidays are nearing, which means a drop in temperatures and a rise in flu!  The CDC estimates that the flu caused up to 41 million illnesses, up to 710,000 hospitalizations, and up to 52,000 deaths every year between 2010 and 2020.  How does flu season impact Latinos? What preventive steps can you and your family take?   Latinos and Flu Rates  Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs, according to the CDC.  It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.  A 2021 study found that flu-associated hospitalization, ICU admission, and in-hospital death were prominent among ethnic minority groups, including Latinos.   The study also found that disparities ...

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Mental Health Resources for Latino Family Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM)!   NFCM is an opportunity to recognize family caregivers across the country and “raise awareness of caregiving issues, educate communities, and increase support for caregivers,” according to the Administration for Community Living.   This year, Mental Health America has shared new resources for both caregivers and employers.   “We know caregivers need support in balancing their personal and professional obligations, and employers need resources to better support their caregivers on staff,” according to Mental Health America.   Let’s dive deeper into these educational tools and find out how they can benefit Latino caregivers.   Latinos and Caregiving  41.8 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult ...

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“I Couldn’t Feel More Blessed”: How Amber Lopez Found Hope Through Her Cancer Journey

News of a cancer diagnosis is the last thing anyone wants to hear.   It can be especially devastating for a teenager with no family history of cancer.   That was reality for Amber Lopez.  Lopez, a San Antonio resident who began experiencing symptoms around age 14, was eventually diagnosed with cervical cancer a few years later at 18.   “When you hear that word cancer, you’re kind of like, 'Oh, my God. OK. So, does that mean like, I’m going to pass away? How does this work?'” Lopez said.  Since her diagnosis, Lopez has overcome many challenges in her cancer journey.   Now she’s sharing her story through the Avanzando Caminos study at UT Health San Antonio to give hope to other Latino cancer survivors.   Navigating Her Cancer Diagnosis   Latinas ...

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Speed the Search for Better Treatments by Joining the GO2 Lung Cancer Registry!

Researchers need your help as they seek to better understand how lung cancer impacts people differently and how to improve treatment and quality of life.  That’s why the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer started its Lung Cancer Registry.   The international Lung Cancer Registry, available to join now, aims to double the 5-year survival rate of lung cancer patients from 20% to 40% by 2025.   “By sharing your lung cancer story, contributing your experiences as a person with lung cancer or a caregiver of someone with lung cancer, you are helping the research community develop new treatments,” according to GO2.  Let’s dive into more about the registry, how you can join, and how it can help Latinos.   Joining the Lung Cancer Registry   Participants interested in ...

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