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Arely Perez

Perez received her Master’s degree in Health and Kinesiology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Currently, she is project coordinator for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT San Antonio, the team behind the Salud America! program. Éxito! aims to increase the number of Latinos who pursue doctoral degrees and cancer research. Since joining the IHPR in 2012, her research focus has been on cancer survivorship and cancer health disparities.


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Articles by Arely Perez

Joe Padilla: Bust Cultural Barriers to Improve Latino Men’s Health


PadillaJoe Exito 2018 participant

Joe Padilla saw both sides of the coin growing up. His grandmother’s love led her to feed passersby. His uncle never accepted success, and pushed him to do more and more. The result was a goal-driven, yet compassionate person who has a huge head start on his goal of busting cultural barriers and improving the health of Latino men. Padilla earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso, and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in public health with a concentration in community health education at New Mexico State University (NMSU). He is a graduate research assistant for the NMSU’S Cancer Outreach Program. He helps with program evaluation of the Culturally Adapted Colorectal Cancer Educational Program for Hispanics. He hopes to ...

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Nicole Serrant Ayes: Improving Access to Cancer Care Services


Ayes Nicole Exito 2018 participant

Nicole Serrant Ayes is always up for a challenge. In fact, she’s already proven this by taking the challenging trek up Machu Picchu. Serrant Ayes also spent two years as a biologist and a research assistant at a Veteran’s Affairs Hospital collaborating in different cancer projects. With two grandfathers who survived prostate cancer, she is now determined to help others at risk, by improving access to services. She is currently finishing up her master’s degree of public health in epidemiology at the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences Campus. To further her experience and education, Serrant Ayes applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio with support from ...

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Ileana Cepeda: Former Rugby Player Now Tackles Health Disparities


CepedaIleana exito participant 2018

Ileana Cepeda, a former rugby player, cares about tackling health disparities from many angles, the same type of caring she learned from her abuelita. Cepeda serves as a research associate for the JUNTOS Against Cancer initiative at the University of Kansas Cancer Center and JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health. She is also part of the new Health Equity Steering Committee for the Cancer Center. Additionally, she supports the PeRson EmPowered Asthma Relief (PREPARE) Study at the American Academy of Family Physicians as the bilingual research associate. Cepeda received her master’s degree of public health from Kansas State University in 2017 and her bachelor’s degree in biology from Newman University- Kansas Catholic College in 2015. To further her experience and ...

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Andrea Cruz: Studying Environmental Pollutants and Cancer


Cruz Andrea exito participant 2018

Andrea Cruz, raised in Los Angeles but now living in a Midwest U.S. city where she only knows a few Latinos, keeps a rosary to remind her of her culture and her family. Now she’s doing an excellent job representing Latinos by studying the sciences and actively learning how to apply that knowledge to public health issues like the correlation between environmental pollutants and cancer in women. Cruz recently graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a master’s degree in toxicology. She studied the mechanism in which phthalates can cause neural tube defects in rodent models and looked for correlations between copy number alterations and DNA methylation in colon cancer tissue. To further her experience and education, Cruz applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer ...

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Fatima Frausto: Working to Solve Latino Health Inequity


Frausto Fatima exito participant 2018

Fatima Frausto’s parents came from Zacatecas and worked very hard to give her a better future and instill in her a love for learning. This foundation helped propel her to excel in school while learning about public health. Frausto attended UT Austin where she found her calling in conducting research about reproductive health and the Latinx experience. She is now working on her master’s degree of public health in health promotion and behavioral sciences at the UT Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. She has personally seen and experienced health inequities. This is something she intends to address in her future research. To further her experience and education, Frausto applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The ...

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Edgar Muñoz: Generating Stats on Latino Health … with a Smile


MunozEdgar Exito 2018 participant

Edgar Muñoz has a passion for uncovering multilevel aspects of cancer and disease among the Latino population in the United States and in his native Colombia. And he’s always willing to lend a hand and a smile whenever needed. Muñoz offers plenty of smiles and epidemiological support as a senior-level statistician at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio. At the IHPR, Muñoz assists in developing research, conducting analyses, identifying and using available methodologies and databases, and preparing reports. He has a master’s degree in epidemiology, and he has participated in the design, conduction, analysis, and evaluation of complex public health interventions in Colombia and the U.S. His interests are design and evaluation of ...

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Jacquelin Cordero: Health is a Social Justice Issue


CorderoJacquelin exito participant 2018

Jacquelin Cordero grew up on the borderplex (Cd. Juárez, Chih., MX – El Paso, Texas, US). As such, she’s very conscious of the impact of economic and societal differences and how it increases the disparities in her community. Cordero views adequate, accessible, and available health services as a human right and social justice issue. With the support of her parents, encouragement from her sisters, and a little pinole to energize her, she wants to use public health to address important mental health issues such as suicide prevention and substance abuse. Even after dropping out of high school, she has always found a way to keep going, and that includes currently working on her graduate certificate of public health and master’s degree in social work at the University of Texas ...

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Rossmary Marquez: From Political Turmoil to Public Health Promotion


MarquezRossmary Exito 2018 participant

With a strong support network and a tenacious spirit built from escaping political turmoil in her native Venezuela and moving to the United States a decade ago, Rossmary Marquez is persistent in her efforts to improve people’s health. Marquez completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and graduated from Texas A&M with a master’s degree in public health. Her research interests include immigration, health disparities, and minority health. Before starting her master’s degree studies, Marquez worked for the CDC as an emergency risk communicator and was involved in the Ebola and Zika response. With the Venezuelan charm as a continual reminder of her roots and her path, Marquez goes the extra mile to talk with people about their experiences and how that ...

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Natalie Alfaro-Perez: Hard-working Advocate for Latino Health


PerezANatalia exito participant 2018

Natalie Alfaro-Perez wasn’t spoiled growing up. In fact, her parents already had her mowing the lawn at age 8, among other chores. This instilled in her a hard-working attitude and created in her a determination to achieve success. She has put those values to work as a public health student and health educator in a federally qualified health center, and she’s pushing for more progress as a health equity advocate. Alfaro-Perez received her bachelor’s degree in health science from California State University Sacramento, and is currently working on her master’s degree in public health from California State University, Northridge. In her work as a health educator, she is able to provide education to patients regarding chronic illnesses, and weight management. To further ...

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