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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

Jennifer Valdivieso: True Grit for Improving Life for the Homeless

Jennifer Valdivieso has a lot of grit. In fact, she left a job she felt was morally wrong and did a complete 180. Today you will find Valdivieso speaking up for human rights, stable housing, and transportation to improve health among individuals experiencing homelessness. Valdivieso is currently pursuing a dual-master’s-degree in social work and public health at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She works as the program specialist for the homeless outreach program with the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health. Valdivieso hopes to blend her dual degree to help reduce health disparities for individual experiencing homelessness with chronic disease. To further her experience and education, Valdivieso applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training ...

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Jeslie Ramos Cartagena: Taking Aim at Latino Cancer, One Flat Tire at a Time

When many people get a flat tire, they call Triple-A for help. Well, Jeslie Ramos Cartagena can change her own flat tire, thanks to her single mom, who raised her and taught her many practical skills, none more important than “independence.” Ramos Cartagena, born and raised in Cayey, Puerto Rico, is turning her independent nature into perseverance as she works non-stop toward her goal to reduce cancer health disparities. In 2016, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Cayey. She earned her master’s in epidemiology from UPR’s Medical Science Campus in 2018. To further her experience and education, Ramos Cartagena applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, ...

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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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