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Jordan McIlveen

Jordan McIlveen served as a digital content curator for Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio in the fall of 2017 as an intern. After working with a grassroots nonprofit in rural southern Colorado and teaching English to kindergartners in South Korea, Jordan recently returned to her hometown of San Antonio as a Master of Public Health candidate at UNT Health Science Center. She is passionate about working alongside others to build strong, equitable and healthy communities.

Articles by Jordan McIlveen

‘1 in 5 Minds’ Campaign Urges Sharing Stories to Bust Childhood Mental Health Stigma

"Will they think I’m crazy? Will they think my child is crazy?" Parents and kids worry what other people will think if they talk about childhood mental health issues. Negative stigma often keeps them from seeking help. This isn't news to Michele Brown, vice president of marketing and development at Clarity Children’s Guidance Center in San Antonio, Texas (63.7% Latino). Brown knows the shocking stats all too well: 1 in 5 kids suffer from mental illness. Of those, only 1 in 5 receives treatment. These stats spurred Clarity's "1 in 5 Minds" campaign to share stories, counter mental health stigma, and boost support, Brown said. The Problem of Mental Health Stigma Stigma is when someone, or even you yourself, views a person in a negative way just because they have a ...

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Texas Town Uses Free School Dinner to Energize Student Minds, Bodies

Tired. Unhappy. Unenergetic. Students were showing these emotions over the school day and into afterschool activities in Robstown ISD, a 97% Latino school district in this small gulf coast town in South Texas. Superintendent Maria Vidaurri wanted to find out why. Turns out, they were hungry. "Students needing to stay [after school for tutoring, sports, events] were tired, frustrated, and energy levels low," Vidaurri said. "The last time they ate was at lunch, which is usually at 10:15 a.m. to 12 p.m." Vidaurri wanted to give these students the energy they needed for the school day and after school. She also wanted to give support to local Latino families who often struggle to put food on the table. She also wanted to encourage school attendance, as two of every three ...

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Free Workshops Help Latino Immigrants Interact with Police

rural organizing project in oregon

"Know Your Role." "Know Your Rights." These are the two key phrases being taught to Oregon Latino immigrants in new free workshops, which offer bilingual help on interacting with police and understanding one’s rights whether they are documented or undocumented. The workshops, led by the Rural Organizing Project in Oregon (11% Latino), help Latinos integrate in the community and build resiliency. "Oregon has become our home, and as such, we need to learn how to protect it, starting with ourselves and our own families," according to a blog post by Jessica Campbell of the organization. "Let’s not allow fear to break us! We are resilient people that made the heartbreaking choice of leaving our home countries behind, searching for opportunities to rebuild ourselves and our ...

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How to Turn a Latino Food Desert into a Healthy Food Oasis

Eric Kornacki (left) and Joseph Teipel of Re:Vision in Denver.

Healthy food activists Erick Kornacki and Joseph Teipel have a phrase to call the 81% Latino neighborhood of Westwood in Denver. A "food desert." For decades, Westwood residents have struggled to access healthy food. There are no nearby grocery stores or farmers markets. People lack transportation to find healthy options elsewhere to bring back. Kornacki, Teipel, and Westwood neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands. They began to build backyard vegetable gardens. They talked about how to create a food cooperative. They wanted to build the first community-owned and -run grocer as an oasis in this food desert. Food Deserts Isolate Latinos from Healthy Food In 2007, Kornacki and Teipel co-founded Re:Vision, a nonprofit that works on social justice and food ...

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Researchers Get $2.7 Million to Study Stress in Latino Babies, Parents

Latina mom with baby stress frustrated despression

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, are investigating the unique, daily challenges and stresses that affect young Latino parents and babies in California, thanks to $2.7 million from the National Institutes of Health. The so-called "California Babies Project" aims to understand how difficult circumstances impact these families. Study leader Leah Hibel and her team will periodically assess stress hormones and chart the emotions of 250 families of Mexican origin in the Sacramento area, according to a news release. "We want to better understand how stress affects daily parent-child interactions," Hibel said, "and how that influences a child’s physical and mental health and school readiness." The Big Reason for This Study California is 39% Latino, mostly of ...

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How to Turn Latino Parents into Leaders in 12 Weeks

Students do better academically and socially with parents who are active in their schooling. However, low-income Latino parents have historically scored lower in reading to children, helping with homework, volunteering at school events, and parent-teacher communication, according to a recent research review by Salud America! That is why one Georgia middle school started a free, bilingual 12-class program to help Latino parents become school leaders! Georgia Steps Up for Latino Parents Latinos face many barriers to school engagement, such as language barriers, work schedules, poverty, and social discomfort. Many Latinos also believe in the concept of educación—parents teach moral education, schools teach academic education. Bottom line, when it comes to their children's ...

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New Mexico Schools Give Sleepy Students a High-Tech Nap

Nap clubs. Quiet rooms. Wellness centers with cozy couches and tea. Schools are trying new ways to give rest to sleepy students, including Latinos who are more sleep-deprived than their peers. That includes high-tech "nap pods" for students in two high schools in Las Cruces (59.6% Latino) and two in Sunland Park (95.2% Latino), N.M. Students sit in the pods, available in the nurse's office, under a sensory-reduction dome that plays relaxing music and soothing lights for 20 minutes before gently vibrating to wake the students. "[It is] great for kids who weren’t getting enough sleep at night—which teenagers don’t, for a variety of reasons," Sandy Peugh, health services director for the Las Cruces school district, told Las Cruces Sun-News. "They were coming to school ...

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Better Drink? Water vs. Milk in School Lunches

water bottle filling school latino girl

Many American kids eat two out of three meals at school. Schools must offer healthy food and drinks, especially for Latino students who are more likely than their peers to face an unhealthy weight, unhealthy neighborhood food options, and unhealthy early development. That's why schools should offer plain water with meals—not milk. So says a new study by University of Illinois researcher Ruopeng An, which encouraged children to drink plain water with their school lunches. This simple switch from milk to water at school could prevent more than a half-million kids from becoming overweight or obese, and trim the costs of obesity by more than $13 billion, An's study suggests. "The nutrition profile doesn't change much when people increase their plain-water intake, but we ...

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Talking to Puppets Brings Mental Health into Kid Conversations

child puppets for mental health in Vermont

We all remember filing into a school auditorium as first graders and trying to stay awake during a dull, lackluster presentation. Did we learn something? Maybe. Do we remember it today? Probably not. Well, the Vermont Family Network (VFN) discovered a fun way—puppets!—to engage young children in talking about mental health. The Vermont network formed an educational puppet troupe that brings messages of health and inclusion to more than 10,000 children and adults each year in Vermont (2% Latino) and beyond. The troupe, called the Puppets in Education (PiE) program, is celebrating their 36th year of teaching students through puppetry! The PiE program uses 3-and-a-half-foot puppets to empower kids to talk about important, difficult issues. From the stage in schools, ...

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