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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Let’s Close the Gap in School Achievement for Black and Latino Children


Child care class school teacher hispanic diverse students

U.S. school districts serving the largest populations of Black, Latino, or American Indian students get about $1,800 less per student in state and local funding than those serving the fewest students of color, according to Ivy Morgan and Ary Amerikaner of The Educational Trust. That means a district with 5,000 students faces a funding shortfall of $9 million per year. And it gets worse. This kind of funding shortfall creates an environment that doesn't support academic progress among students of color, Amerikaner said. For example, the 2019 Nation’s Report Cards for math and reading in grades 4 and 8 show achievement diverged from 2003-2009 and 2009-2019 for Latino and all students. Students scoring in the 10th percentile in 2019 are making fewer gains than they were in ...

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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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Apply Now: Latino Cancer Research Training and Internships!


Exito Research Leadership Training Group Shot 2019

Apply now for the 2020 Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program and optional $3,250 internships from the Institute for health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio! Each year, the Éxito! program recruits 25 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. At the next Éxito! summer institute, set for June 1-5, 2020 in San Antonio, participants will interact with Latino researchers, mentors, and doctoral experts to learn about Latino cancer, succeeding in a doctoral program, and the diversity of careers in cancer research. Ten optional internships also are available to program participants. Applications are ...

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The Rise in Youth Substance Misuse & Suicide (and What to Do about It)


youth substance misuse suicide rates report 2019

Youth suicides have spiked over the last decade, and substance misuse is exacting a heavy toll on teens, according to a new report. The report from Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust, Addressing a Crisis: Cross-Sector Strategies to Prevent Adolescent Substance Use and Suicide, indicates that trends are worse for racial/ethnic, gender, and other minority youth. The report also highlights emerging approaches to help put youth on healthy pathways into adulthood. "Adolescence is a challenging time when the impact of poverty, discrimination, bullying and isolation can be intense," said John Auerbach, head of Trust for America’s Health, in a statement. "Fortunately, there are policies and programs that can reduce some of these circumstances and the risks associated ...

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