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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

Stacy Cantu-Pawlik: Shining Brightly for Latino Health Equity



Like the bright velas (candles) her grandmother lit as a sign of her strong Catholic faith, Stacy Cantu-Pawlik is shining as a researcher and advocate for Latino health equity. Cantu-Pawlik is a senior research area specialist at the Institute of Health Promotion at UT Health San Antonio, where she serves as a digital content curator for the Salud America! program. She creates content that promotes healthy change, such as stories about mental health heroes and campaigns to improve healthcare. Read Cantu-Pawlik’s stories! Cantu-Pawlik, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, focused graduate research on environmental factors and elevated cancer incidence in South Texas. Her experiences growing up in the Rio ...

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Annie Guardado: Big, Optimistic Plans for Boosting Population Health



Optimism has always kept Annie Guardado moving forward. She kept her optimism even seeing her parents and family struggle as U.S. immigrants from Honduras and Nicaragua. And Guardado continues to display optimism as she works as a research assistant in population health at UT Southwestern Medical Center, after earning her master’s degree in public health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Guardado also worked and volunteered in healthcare settings to better understand her local community needs and culture. She wants to research how to improve health literacy and communication between hospitals, health care providers, and Latino patients. She even wants to one day start her own nonprofit. To further her experience and education, Guardado applied for ...

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Nelybeth Santiago Yance: Dedicated to Improving Health in Puerto Rico



Like her humble papi in Puerto Rico, Nelybeth Santiago Yance wants to help others. Legends are important in Santiago Yance’s community, but so is dedication. Staying dedicated is how she tackles her responsibilities and how she earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular cell biology and a master’s degree in science with a specialization in health evaluation research at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). Santiago Yance is currently a health system evaluator at UPR’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research. Santiago Yance is fiercely dedicated to study her people’s fears and misconceptions about HPV. Her thesis topic raised interest in topics such as health disparities in HPV vaccination, knowledge and awareness of HPV, and ...

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Clara Reyes: A Fearless Advocate for Latino Health



Like the beautiful turquoise bracelet and shawl gifted to her by her Colombian abuela, Clara Reyes is fearless when it comes to facing challenges and seeking solutions. That’s why it’s no surprise Reyes is blazing a path to better health for Latinos. Reyes, who has served on a Peace Corps mission to El Salvador, is currently a clinical trials program manager in the Department of Public Health Sciences at New Mexico State University (NMSU). She works with several NMSU faculty members to manage a randomized clinical trial in two U.S.-Mexico border counties. The trail is testing a culturally adapted program for Latina mothers diagnosed with cancer and their children. To further her experience and education, Reyes applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership ...

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Maria Rocio Torres: Pushing for Progress in Breast Cancer Research



Only a few years since immigrated from Tijuana with her brother after her mother passed from breast cancer, Maria Rocio Torres wants to help people fight cancer. Torres witnessed her mother and family suffered a lack of healthcare. Vowing to help make sure that no other families had to miss cancer screenings and other care, Torres moved to the United States at age 17 and worked multiple jobs while she earned a master’s degree in public health at the University of Arizona. Torres, who radiates love, respect, empathy, and compassion, wants to bridge medicine and public health to bring research and interventions to her people to prevent cancer. To further her experience and education, Torres applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The ...

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Meet the 2019 Exito! Latino Cancer Research Trainees


Exito Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training 2019 Cohort Group

Program leaders have selected 25 aspiring Latino researchers from across the nation to join the 2019 cohort of Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training at UT Health San Antonio. Each year, Éxito! recruits U.S. master’s level students and professionals to participate in a five-day, culturally tailored Éxito! summer institute to promote pursuit of a doctoral degree and cancer research. Applications were due in March 2019. The 25 new participants were selected from a deep pool of applicants. Each participant now will join the Éxito! summer institute on June 10-14, 2019 in San Antonio. They will interact with Latino researchers and doctoral experts to learn about Latino cancer, succeeding in a doctoral program, and the diversity of research careers. Here is the ...

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Diana Ballesteros-Gonzalez: Moving Cross-Country for Latino Public Health


GonzalezBDiana Exito 2018 participant

Diana Ballesteros-Gonzalez is motivated to work to prevent chronic disease among Latinos by her family’s health history, her work in the community, and her passion for public health. In fact, with the support of her husband, Ballesteros-Gonzalez bravely packed up and moved from the West Coast of her native California to the East Coast of New York to study public health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in Epidemiology of Chronic Disease. Ballesteros-Gonzalez’s ultimate career goal in public health is to not only become a professor, but also serve her hometown community to improve chronic disease outcomes. To further her potential to reach her goal, Ballesteros-Gonzalez applied for the ...

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Sandra Garcia Camacho: Taking Aim to Boost Latino Health


CamachoGSandra Exito 2018 participant

Thanks to her mother’s hard work, independence, and resilience, Sandra Garcia Camacho is poised to make an impact for Latino health. Garcia Camacho grew up in Yauco "The City of Coffee" in Puerto Rico. She completed her bachelor’s degree in natural sciences with a concentration in biomedicine at the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. She then pursued her master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in biostatistics at the Medical Sciences Campus in Puerto Rico. She wants to conduct research in chronic disease, and looks forward to addressing research gaps in the study of polycystic kidney disease. To further her experience and education, Garcia Camacho applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led by Dr. ...

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Erika Bonilla: Working to Help Latino Families Thrive


BonillaErika Exito 2018 participant

Like the beautiful photo of Erika Bonilla’s tia and father that serve as a reminder of her El Salvadorean roots, Bonilla is on a mission to see Latino families thrive. Bonilla holds bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s of public health degree from California State University, Long Beach. Bonilla is a Research Associate at the CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training. Her research focus includes: maternal and child health, adolescent health, women’s health, cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS prevention, childhood obesity prevention, community-based participatory research, education, and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students of multiple disciplines in health science and human services majors. Having already gained valuable ...

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