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Josh McCormack

Digital Content Curator, Salud America! Josh McCormack joined Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health​ San Antonio, in February 2019. Graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in English Literature, he has previously worked in journalism and publishing. Josh enjoys reading; some of his favorite authors include Stephen King, Omar El Akkad and J.R.R. Tolkien.​

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Articles by Josh McCormack

‘Forever Chemicals’ and How Researchers are Destroying Them

Forever Chemicals Researchers Destroying

Some chemicals cause serious harm and just don’t quit. These substances, known as perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), can be found in water, cosmetics, food packaging, fire-fighting foam, furniture, and other things that many come into contact with on a regular basis. For years, researchers classified PFAS as permanent, undestroyable. Recent research shows, however, that might not be the case. A study, published in the Journal of Environmental Engineering shows that a technique using water heat and pressure can annihilate 99% of PFAS in water. How does this impact Latinos? Well, one recent National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences study showed that PFAS exposure can increase risk of type 2 diabetes in Latina girls. Therefore, this ...

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Project Firstline Releases New Infection Control Resources in Spanish for Healthcare Workers 

New Infection Control Resources in Spanish

Project Firstline, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) infection control training and education collaborative for healthcare workers, is now offering resources in Spanish.   Project Firstline materials are designed so that healthcare workers — regardless of their prior training or education — can confidently understand and apply the infection control principles and protocols necessary to protect themselves and their facility, family, and community from the threats of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.   The following are some of the new Spanish-language materials.   Project Firstline Facilitator Toolkit in Spanish. The facilitator toolkit is designed to work with the learning styles and busy schedules of a healthcare worker’s team. Whether ...

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CDC Updates Guidelines for Healthcare Workers amid COVID-19 

CDC Updated Guidelines

The number of COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant continues to rise.  Consistent with current understanding of the disease trajectory, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing updated guidance for isolation and quarantine for healthcare workers, decreasing their isolation time after infection with COVID-19.   Additionally, CDC is releasing an update to guidance for contingency and crisis management in the setting of significant healthcare worker shortages.   These updates provide healthcare facilities with strategies to limit the effects of staff shortages caused by COVID-19 on patient care and note that:  Healthcare workers with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic can return to work after 7 days with a negative test, and that isolation time ...

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After 2 Years, How Is Seattle’s Soda Tax Working?


Two years ago, Seattle city leaders passed a 1.75-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, aiming to reduce consumption of these unhealthy products that contribute to obesity. The tax accomplished its goal – and then some – experts say. Sales of soda, juice, and other sugary drinks dropped by 22% since the soda tax, according to a new study led by Dr. Lisa Powell of the University of Illinois at Chicago. A second study from Powell also found that total sales of added-sugar foods and drinks fell almost 20%, driven largely by the decline in sugary drink purchases. "Our studies show that even after accounting for potential substitution behaviors, like cross-border shopping or selection of other items with added sugars, these taxes have a large, sustained impact on reducing volume ...

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Project Firstline: What’s a Virus?


Viruses are a type of germ that can infect a host body and cause illness, like a cold or COVID-19.    A virus uses living things, like animals and people, to make copies of themselves. Then they keep spreading from one living thing to another.   Viruses can lead to numerous illnesses, including: bronchitis, the flu, the common cold, and COVID-19.  Fortunately, if you know a little bit about viruses, then it’s easier to understand why the things we do for infection control work to stop them from spreading and making people sick.  CDC’s Project Firstline, an initiative to inform and train healthcare workers about infection prevention and control, helps us explore the three main parts of viruses:   1. The Genes of Viruses Genes are the first main part of a ...

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Student Loan Debt and Forgiveness: How It Impacts Latino Students

Student Loan Forgiveness Latino

Latino students take out more student loans to pay for their education than their White peers, adding to a racial/ethnic wage gap and harming upward mobility. In fact, even 12 years after graduation, Latino students still maintained over 83% of their loan debt, compared to only 65% for White borrowers, according to a recent report from the nonprofit Student Borrower Protection Center. “Borrowers in majority-Black and majority-Latinx neighborhoods shoulder greater debt burdens and struggle disproportionately when repaying their loans,” according to the Borrower report. “The more racially segregated a neighborhood grows, the larger the student loan disparities become, with borrowers in the most segregated areas being up to five times more likely to fall behind on their loans ...

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What is Project Firstline?

Project Firstline SaludFirstline

COVID-19 worsened the many health disparities already facing people of color. The pandemic revealed long-standing gaps in infection control knowledge and understanding among the frontline healthcare workforce. This is why CDC launched Project Firstline, a training and education collaborative designed to ensure all healthcare workers, no matter their role or educational background, have the infection control knowledge and understanding they need and deserve to protect themselves, their patients, and their coworkers. Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio is now working with the National Hispanic Medical Association to bring Project Firstline content to frontline healthcare workers to protect themselves, their facilities, and their patients (from Latino and all communities) from ...

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Lack of Latino Registered Dietitians Impacts Latino Health

Impacts Health Latino Dietitians

A healthy diet is critical for the wellness of Latinos and all people. Yet we know that fast-food options outnumber healthier options like supermarkets and farmers’ markets in many Latino neighborhoods. This lack of healthy food access results in overconsumption of unhealthy foods and higher obesity risk. Now the lack of diversity among registered dieticians is making it harder for Latinos to get knowledge and resources for a healthy diet, according to The New York Times. In fact, Latinos make up only 12.7% of registered dieticians, according to Zippia. That is less than the 18.5% Latino share of the U.S. population. “It’s really a no-brainer that we need to consider the communities we serve,” said Doug Greenaway, president of the National WIC Association, according to ...

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Join a Bladder Cancer Clinical Trial to Help Reduce the Risk of Recurrence!

Clinical Trial Graphics

Cancer survivors face the possibility that cancer will come back after treatment. Clinical trials are studies that help researchers learn more to help slow, manage, and treat cancer, as well as prevent cancer recurrence. If you have had bladder cancer, you can volunteer for a bladder cancer prevention clinical trial that is studying encapsulated rapamycin (eRapa) and its ability to reduce the risk of bladder cancer recurrence. This trial is led by researchers across Texas, including UT Health San Antonio, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and South Texas Veterans Health Care System, to explore new ways to prevent bladder cancer from coming back. “Unfortunately, people who’ve had bladder cancer have a high risk of developing a second bladder cancer,” said Dr. Amelie ...

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