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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

Dr. Martha Bernal: The First Latina with a PhD in Psychology


Dr. Martha Bernal: The First Latina with a PhD in Psychology

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor Dr. Martha Bernal, the first Latina to receive a PhD in psychology in the U.S. Bernal contributed greatly to the field of ethnic minority psychology and inspired many generations to follow her. “Dr. Martha Bernal demonstrated outstanding initiative and dedication to promoting the presence of ethnic minority psychologists in the profession. She provided guidance and inspiration to a wide range and large number of psychologists of color, men and women,” according to Society for the Psychology of Women. In addition to her contributions to the field, Bernal was a fierce advocate for justice and equity. “She was passionate about her ideas, she spoke out effectively against injustice, she maintained high standards of scholarship ...

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Jim Morris: A Watchdog for Environmental Health


Jim Morris

Having been in the industry for over 40 years, Jim Morris is no newcomer to journalism. He’s worked at several news organizations across Texas and spent two decades at the Center for Public Integrity, a news nonprofit in Washington, D.C. In August 2021, he started Public Health Watch, a nonprofit investigative news organization that seeks to hold systems accountable and expose threats to the safety and wellbeing of the country. As the Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of a virtual news organization, Morris faces some challenges. But in the end, it’s worth it to be able to help advocate for workers’ health and expose people to the human stories in public and environmental health. “I'm attracted to those kinds of stories. You can almost always tell a really ...

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Ángela Gutiérrez: What Éxito! Means to Me, a Latina PhD and Researcher


Ángela Gutiérrez: What Éxito! Means to Me, a Latina PhD and Researcher

Dr. Ángela Gutiérrez has always been passionate about health disparities research. “I had previously worked on health disparities research focusing on diabetes, fibromyalgia among Latinx communities, and I've done a lot of community-based research,” Gutiérrez said. So when the opportunity arose to apply to Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training at UT Health San Antonio, Gutiérrez was thrilled to learn more. “It was through Éxito! that I realized the prevalence and importance of focusing on cancer disparities as well, not just focusing on diabetes and fibromyalgia,” Gutiérrez said. Participating in Éxito! helped Gutiérrez apply and get accepted to a PhD program in Community Health Sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health of the University of ...

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A Teacher’s Guide to Hispanic Heritage Month


A Teacher’s Guide to Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is a time to celebrate and remember Latin American history and culture. For teachers, it’s an excellent opportunity to bring fun cultural activities into the classroom. Here are some suggestions to incorporate history, art, literature, and more on Hispanic Heritage Month for your classroom. Start by Recruiting Latino Parents & Students to Help for Hispanic Heritage Month If you have Latino students in your classroom, they may be interested in sharing their culture with the class. Having parents or students come in and share their personal stories and cultural traditions can be an enriching way for your class to learn. You can email students and parents asking if anyone is interested in collaborating on the ...

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Hispanic, Latino, Latinx: What’s the Difference?


Photo of folklore dancers dancing in Mexico. Mexican culture and traditions.

Hispanic? Latino? Latinx? People often debate the best term to use when describing the ethnicity of those who trace their heritage from Latin America and Spain, who comprise 18.5% of the U.S. population. “There’s no correct term to use, and appropriateness varies when using Latino, Hispanic, Latinx, or country of origin,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. Let’s talk about the origins of these terms, who uses them, and what the data says about this population’s own preferences. The Origin of “Latino” The term we use at Salud America! to describe this group is “Latino.” “Latino,” or the feminine “Latina,” is used to describe people with ancestry from Latin American countries. Unlike “Hispanic,” the ...

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Gilberto Lopez: Combatting Vaccine Misinformation through Art


gilberto_lopez covid-19 art hero

When Gilberto Lopez was visiting his family in California at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he realized his community wasn’t getting the information they needed about safety precautions. “Information that was coming through to my academic bubble, I call it ‘The Harvard Bubble,’ was completely different than the information about COVID that was coming down to the immigrant community,” said Lopez, who comes from a farm-working community in the Central Valley. He wanted to do something to make sure Latino communities learned about COVID-19 and vaccines in culturally relevant ways, like art. Lopez is an assistant professor at Arizona State University's School of Transborder Studies, where he focuses on the health and wellbeing of immigrant, Mexican communities in the ...

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Pregnant Latinas Have Low COVID-19 Vaccination Rates


Doctor giving COVID -19 coronavirus vaccine injection to pregnant woman. Doctor Wearing Blue Gloves Vaccinating Young Pregnant Woman In Clinic. People vaccination concept.

Pregnant Latinas have some of the lowest vaccination rates against COVID-19 compared to other ethnic/racial groups, according to a report from the CDC. The disparity is likely due to less culturally competent and accessible healthcare in communities of color, as well as vaccine misinformation about fertility and pregnancy. The CDC encourages all people who are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and that pregnancy should not be a barrier. “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future,” according to the CDC’s website. With more culturally relevant resources regarding vaccine safety for fertility and pregnancy, vaccine ...

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The Roots of Racial Disparities: A New Framework on the Social Determinants of Health


The Roots of Racial Disparities: A New Framework on the Social Determinants of Health

Where we live and the conditions that we live in impact our health and life outcomes. This concept is widely called the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). Unfortunately, when people live in and experience negative conditions, it can lead to poor health outcomes and disparities, particularly among Latinos and other marginalized communities. In their new SDOH framework, the Praxis Project highlights the root systems of oppression that have led to health disparities for communities of color. “Many traditional SDOH frameworks lack the explicit naming of systems of oppression that cause disparities in health determinants. In an effort to incorporate these systems of oppression and to highlight the root causes of these determinants from a justice and community power ...

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Study: Language Isolation Affects Latino Health


Language isolation

Older Latinos who live in neighborhoods where little English is spoken are at a higher risk of poor health and early death, according to a new study from the University of Georgia. “If you are linguistically isolated, you’re very likely to be isolated socially, and we know social isolation contributes to mortality,” said Kerstin Emerson, a co-author of the study. The study has implications for how language barriers and social cohesion in a community can affect health, particularly among elderly Latinos. What Does the Study Say about Language Isolation? Researchers at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health conducted the study to determine if neighborhoods that are linguistically isolated impact health. The study analyzed data from a survey of over 1,100 ...

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