Alexis Smith: Bridging the Gap between Researchers and Latino Communities



Having witnessed how lack of health information harms Latinos’ quality of life, Alexis Smith wants to bridge the gap between researchers and marginalized communities. Originally from Alabama, Smith is a first-year master’s-degree student in public health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her focus is in health promotion research and practice, because she is incredibly interested in advocating for quality healthcare for all people and empowering communities through interventions that are both innovative and evidence-based. She already has served in various public health roles, from working in a community health center as a diabetes prevention coach in the Bronx, to managing social media and youth engagement for a mobile health clinic in Boston. To ...

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Sophia Rodriguez: From Culture Clash to Latino Health Promotion



Growing up, Sophia Rodriguez experienced a clash of Peruvian-Mexican cultures, traditional values, and food in her home. This prepared her to confront uncomfortable health and social justice issues. Now Rodriguez is pushing for Latino health as a master’s-degree student in health promotion and behavioral science at San Diego State University, where she also works as part of a research team to boost colorectal cancer screening. Rodriguez also has coordinated programs for disadvantaged pre-med and pre-health students with the University of California, Riverside. One of the programs involved health coaches stationed at Riverside County clinics that focused on lifestyle modifications for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. To further her experience ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 1/14: How to Boost Health Equity in Schools


health equity in school classroom with Latino and diverse teacher and students kids

How important is healthy equity in schools? Amid the growing diversity among U.S. children, especially the rise of the Latino population, the future success of the nation depends on creating schools that are the healthiest─and most equitable─for all children. Let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, to tweet how schools can equitably improve the food, physical activity, and learning environment for all children!  WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: How to Boost Health Equity in Schools TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludAmerica CO-HOSTS: The Children’s Health Fund (@chfund), The Healthy and Ready to Learn program of the Children’s Health Fund (@HRLNYC), Action for Healthy ...

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Marissa Jauregui: Mexico Native Takes Aim at Latino Health Disparities



Mexico holds a special place in Marissa Jauregui’s heart. Jauregui has taught English to students in Yucatan as a Fulbright scholar, and she grew up traveling to visit her grandparents. Now she is keeping her roots in mind as a first-year student in the Community Oriented Public Health Practice program at the University of Washington, Seattle. She already is focusing on mental health, reproductive health, health disparities, and health policy. She has strong leadership qualities and desires to conduct research and advocate for mental health services outside of the clinic. To further her experience and education, Jauregui applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio ...

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Emily Reyes: Finding Ways to Reduce Latino Health Disparities



Having worked firsthand with promotoras de salud, Emily Reyes understands the important role community health workers play in addressing Latino health disparities. Reyes, who has a master’s degree in public health from California State University, Fullerton, specializes in health promotion and regularly works with underserved communities to bring health equity and sustainable change through education, services and civic participation. Her interests include improving rural health, public policy, and infectious diseases research─all done with the same resilience and grit as her mother, who earned a master’s degree while raising a family as a single mom. To further her experience and education, Reyes applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training ...

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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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