Patricia Dionicio: Forging a Path to Better Health for Latinos

Challenged by her sister to keep an open mind, Patricia Dionicio is taking that advice and forging her own path toward improving Latino health. Dionicio, who earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship in high school, is currently a master’s-degree student at California State University, Long Beach. She already is looking for new ways to address cancer and obesity. Whether it means using technology to overcome barriers to care for Latinos, or creating global-level telemedicine programs, all options are possible for her. Dionicio also recently collaborated on a study up for publication in the Journal of Telemedicine and E-Health. To further her experience and education, Dionicio applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led ...

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14 States Are Strengthening ‘Head Start’ for At-Risk Children, Families

Head Start helps at risk children and families

Communities are increasingly concerned about the rise of poverty, homelessness, trauma, and opioids among children and families. However, few states address these issues by investing money in Head Start programs, which are proven to strengthen families, promote school readiness, and improve child health. The good news is that lawmakers in 14 states are investing over $400 million each budget cycle for local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, according to a new analysis by the National Head Start Association and Voices for Healthy Kids. These investments will help serve more kids─but millions are still left out. Crisis of At-Risk Children and Families Many children and families face difficult situations: persistent childhood poverty the unrelenting opioid ...

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Cristian Garcia Alcaraz: From Picking Berries to Psychology Degrees

Donning a baseball cap, a holey shirt, and speaking mostly Spanish, Cristian Garcia Alcaraz spent his youth picking berries on California farms. At 8 years old, Garcia Alcaraz immigrated to Oxnard, California from Michoacán, Mexico. Garcia Alcaraz was not a very good student in middle and high school, because he had trouble with the English language. But none of that stopped him from pursuing his passion to fight for better health and more resources for farm workers like himself and his parents. Garcia Alcaraz is making strong progress in the English-language and he is excelling in higher education. In 2014, he transferred to Californian State University Channel Islands, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Now, he is working on his master’s in psychology at ...

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Latina Communicator Uses Expertise to Advocate for Her Community

NEW Latina Communicator Common Sense Latino one

Finding the right message has always been important to Maria Alvarez. That determination is what led her to become a Vice President of Common Sense Media — a national, nonprofit communications network that is "dedicated to helping kids thrive in a rapidly changing world. Independent data on media and technology use and its impact on children's physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development." Alvarez, founded, designed, and continues to lead Common Sense Latino, the Spanish-language-only program of that organization, which creates content for that community specifically. “I’ve been on the ground and in the trenches with these families for over 10 years,” Alvarez said. “So, I know how willing Latino families are in embracing technology, and you see that in the ...

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Norma Gonzalez: A Rising Social Justice Advocate for Latinos

Growing up as a “Southsider” in the 63% Latino city of San Antonio, Norma Gonzalez witnessed firsthand many socioeconomic and educational disparities. This gave her a clear passion for and sense of social justice. Now, fueled by her passion and resourcefulness, Gonzalez is a first-year master’s-degree student the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She also is working to address structural barriers while bringing great honor and pride to her community. She is already making a difference in health disparities programing, education, and public health, including research on support strategies for Mexican immigrant parents. To further her experience and education, Gonzalez applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The ...

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Lucero Silva: Standing Up for Latina Health Issues

Raised by a strong, single mom, Lucero Silva is a first-generation Mexican-American student who is dedicated to pushing for better health for Latinas. Silva, a candidate in the public health program that focuses on community health education at California State University, Long Beach, has already begun investigating why women fare worse for so many health issues. She interned at the Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training. She focused on health promotion through health education and community based participatory research. Now Silva is a graduate research assistant for Familias Saludables, a childhood obesity prevention research that focuses on Latinx youth and their families. To further her experience and education, Silva applied for the Éxito! ...

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Julissa Marin: Lending a Hand for Better Healthcare Systems

Just like her three-legged, good-luck Chilean pig that perhaps “gave up one of its legs to help others,” Julissa Marin is always looking to lend a hand wherever she goes. That includes lending a hand to improve healthcare systems. Marin, a full-time healthcare administration student in the Executive Program at California State University, Long Beach, wants to address inconsistencies in data information and review healthcare redesign. She also works full-time in the business officer of the Clinical and Pathology Laboratories at University of California, Los Angeles, where she rectified over $16 million by stabilizing the influx of lab charge errors in hospital billing work queues. To further her experience and education, Marin applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research ...

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CDC Expands Resources to Engage Spanish-Speaking Parents in Creating Healthier Schools


By CDC Healthy Schools Guest Blogger for Salud America! Research shows that parent engagement in schools is closely linked to healthier student behavior, higher academic achievement, and enhanced social skills. Everyone—school administrators and teachers, parents, and students—benefits from parents being involved in their children’s school. This can be a challenge, though, for some parents who do not speak English well. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) reports that 29.8% of Hispanics state they are not fluent in English. To reach this population of parents, CDC Healthy Schools has translated many of its Parents for Healthy Schools resources into Spanish. Schools, school groups, and school health ...

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Rosa Cobian Aguilar: Overcoming Adversity to Promote Health

Rosa Cobian Aguilar, like many Latinos, immigrated from Jalisco, Mexico, and grew up with no insurance and big struggles for healthcare access. But she overcame this adversity, with help from her hard-working, hyper-organized, Zumba-dancing Mom. Now Aguilar is a first-generation college grad who is working on her master’s degree in psychology at San Diego State University, working in the Cancer Disparities and Cancer Communication Research Lab. After college, she worked as a case manager and Spanish interpreter, at a community mental health clinic. She aspires to continue working in health disparities research and assure research findings reach underserved communities. To further her experience and education, Aguilar applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership ...

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