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Julia Weis

Julia Weis joined Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, in September 2020. With a degree in Communication from Trinity University, Julia has previously worked in journalism, marketing, graphic design, and technical writing. She loves biking and hiking in the Central Texas outdoors and is passionate about environmental and social justice issues.

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Articles by Julia Weis

Addressing Vaccine Misinformation and Building Vaccine Confidence

Immunization Covid-19 prevention

As the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines continue to be distributed across the country, we’re getting closer to herd immunity and ending the pandemic. One obstacle on this path is vaccine skepticism. Vaccine skepticism is caused by a variety of sources, such as historical trauma from healthcare mistreatment and misinformation about vaccines that is circulated on social media. Misinformation about vaccines is especially dangerous as it will often target Latino and Black communities, which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and are communities that most need the vaccine. Let’s go over the most common questions about COVID-19 vaccines, who is causing the spread of misinformation, and how to address it and build trust in ...

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Patricia Chalela: A Team Player Involving Technology into Latino Health Promotion Research

Patricia Chalela latino health promotion research at ihpr san antonio ut health

Patricia Chalela has always loved working in public health and being a valuable member of a team. Chalela is an associate professor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio. Here she is an integral part of a team that studies how texting helps people quit smoking, trains students in research methods, and is learning the ins and outs of Latino cancer. Whatever the task, she is happy to help find ways to promote health in the Latino community, which suffers high rates of several diseases and cancer types. “I love what I do and I love to work with this team to make a difference for Latinos. It has been an amazing ride, really very rewarding,” Chalela said. A Colombian Immigrant Who Came to Texas Chalela was born in Colombia to a Lebanese ...

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How Can Public Art Aid Social Cohesion and Community Wellbeing?

public art social cohesion

How can art help a community? Art and cultural practices can help boost social cohesion and overall community wellbeing, according to a new report, WE-Making: How Arts & Culture Unite People to Work Toward Community Well-Being, which explores this concept. “A cohesive culture for health equity is one where everyone works individually and as a group to ensure that each person has a fair, just opportunity for health and wealth, as well as equitable access to basic resources required for these goals according to a Salud America! research review. The WE-Making report was developed by the National Endowment for Arts and the Kresge Foundation, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Bush Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Report on Arts ...

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Daniel Carlos Hughes: From Quitting Dow Chemical to Studying Holistic Health, Cancer Prevention

Dr.-Daniel-Carlos-Hughes-of-UT-Health-San-Antonio latino cancer

Daniel Carlos Hughes thought he wanted to be a chemical engineer. He worked at Dow Chemical for 23 years, moving up to a middle management position. But then he had a midlife crisis. Now he works as a kinesiologist focuses on sport and exercise psychology. He researches holistic interventions for cancer prevention and with an emphasis on exercise and stress in Latina breast cancer survivors as a faculty member of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio. While the career switch was risky and required many years of schooling, Hughes is glad to have found a calling where he can help cancer survivors live longer, fitter, better lives. Hughes, a First Generation Mexican American in His Second Career Hughes was born in Mexico City. His family ...

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Can Financial Literacy Help Close the Latino Wealth Gap?

Financial literacy can help us understand wealth and the economic opportunities available to us. Latinos face many barriers to economic opportunity, like systemic and historic discrimination, generations of inequity and wealth gaps, and a lack of access to resources on financial literacy. One business is stepping up to help teach younger Latinos about financial literacy. SUMA Wealth, a financial services company focused on Latinos, announced a multi-platform financial education initiative called SUMA Academy to empower Latino youth to break generations of wealth inequity. “Empowering young Latinos with financial knowledge is the key to reducing the wealth gap,” said Beatríz Acevedo, CEO and co-founder of SUMA Wealth, according to a press release. “They share their learning with ...

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Expanding Broadband Access Could Address the Latino Digital Divide

About 19 million Americans lack access to broadband services, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Of those 19 million, the majority are in low-income and rural communities and communities of color. This “digital divide” is problematic, especially as students and families have needed to rely on the internet for online learning and telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, businesses and the federal government are stepping up to help these areas by expanding broadband access. In his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, President Joe Biden proposed expanding broadband services to low income, rural areas. Comcast also recently announced their decision to invest in low-income areas to close the digital divide. Together, initiatives like ...

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Margarita Alegría: Engaging Minority Communities in Mental Health Research

Margarita Alegría: Engaging Minority Communities in Mental Health Research

With over 30 years of working in mental health and disparities research, Margarita Alegría is what you might call an expert in the field. Alegría is the Chief of the Disparities Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor in Harvard Medical School’s departments of medicine and psychiatry. Last summer, she was named Harry G. Lehnert, Jr. and Lucille F. Cyr Lehnert Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair. Alegría has decades worth of experience in studying public health, mental health, substance abuse, and the social determinants of health. She’s conducted countless studies on how to improve the lives of ethnic and racial minority groups and people with disabilities. Now she wants to make her research more accessible to the general public. Alegría ...

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5 Key Barriers to Health Opportunities for Latinos

5 barriers for latino health opportunities

Everyone should have a fair and just opportunity for the best possible health and well-being. That’s health equity. And that’s the mission of the Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative is led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and Texas Health Institute in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides funding. The HOPE Initiative tracks data on 27 indicators related to social and economic factors, community & safety, physical environment, access to healthcare, and health outcomes. “Our unique analyses use an opportunity framework to set aspirational but achievable goals to improve life outcomes—especially populations of color most affected ...

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