Maria Rincon: From a Single Book, to a Library of Skills to Boost Latino Health

Rincon Maria-Edit

When Maria Rincon moved with her family from Venezuela to the U.S., she owned one book. When Rincon started school here, many expected nothing from her. Little did they know that Rincon had the resilience to overcome the traumatic experience of acculturation, and she has surpassed expectations and excelled in academia. In fact, Rincon, earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at the University of South Florida in 2012 and then earned a master’s degree in epidemiology at Yale University in 2015. As an undergraduate in Florida, she contributed to diverse research, from molecular epidemiology at the Moffitt Cancer Center, to molecular mechanisms of disease in Methicillin-Resistant S. Aureus (MRSA). As a graduate student, Rincon has focused on infectious disease ...

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Erica Chavez Santos: Targeting Inequities among Rural Latinos

Santos Erica-Edit

Erica Chavez Santos grew up in the small rural town of Pateros, Wash., the daughter of diligent farmworkers from Mexico. She saw the many health inequities suffered by her parents and local Latinos. Chavez Santos wanted to help, and she became interested in understanding why these inequities occur and how to improve health outcomes. She is now a master’s-degree student in public health in sociomedical sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where she also is active in the Black and Latinx Student Caucus. She hopes to work with underserved Latino communities in hopes of boosting farmworker justice and creating equitable policies that set the stage for better health. Chavez Santos respect and empathy for other people makes her the perfect ...

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Choosing the Right College Could Mean $25K More a Year for Latinos

Getting a college education is linked to better employment, better health, and active volunteerism and voting. In fact, people with a bachelor’s degree earn $25,000 more than those without. Unfortunately, even as Latinos are enrolling in college at an all-time high, they earn four-year degrees at a far less rate (18%) than their white peers (44%). A new report offers a solution: Latinos should enroll at the right school. The report, published by The Education Trust, found that closing the educational gap can in part happen by changing where Latino students enroll. Nearly 25% of all Latino freshmen enroll in the “most selective” institutions where most freshmen graduate. Nearly 30% enroll at more accessible institutions where a few complete degrees. In contrast, ...

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Shocking Reasons Why 100,000 San Antonio Adults Haven’t Passed 9th Grade

San Antonio is the nation's seventh-largest city, a dynamic modern powerhouse steeped in Latino culture and history. Yet more than 100,000 adults here haven't passed ninth grade. An in-depth article by Lily Casura of HuffPost recently took a deep dive into the state of education in the city, which noted "exceptionally low" high-school graduation rates in certain parts of the city. Casura's article notes that 300,000 San Antonio adults overall (20% of the city's population) are not high-school graduates. Four San Antonio ZIP Codes (two on its east side and two on its west side) have emerged as “the highest-hardship areas of the city,” she wrote. About 110,000 people live in these four ZIP Codes (78202, 78203, 78207, and 78237) and more than half have not completed ninth ...

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Oriana Perez: Providing Support to Help Latino Children and Families

Perez Oriana-Edit

Oriana Perez strives to make others feel welcome and supported. Perez, who grew up along the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, hopes to improve Latino health and provide mentorship for others, just like her mother always did. She puts this outlook into practice as a research coordinator at the Children’s Nutrition and Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, with an interest in adapting healthy lifestyle programs for use among Latinos. She also has served as a consultant for the Pan American Health Organization, a health educator and screener at Interactive Health, Inc., a health educator at Methodist Health System, and a research coordinator for tobacco prevention projects for youth at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. A few years after completing ...

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Luis Baez: Fueled by Compassion and Public Health

Baez Luis

Luis Baez learned about true compassion from his Puerto Rican grandfather, who fought for Latino social justice all the way to the White House. He also got interested in science and math at an early age. So it’s no surprise that Baez, a native of Glendale, Wisc., is putting both his childhood interests and his compassionate nature together to study how to improve public health. He is currently a master’s-degree student in public health, specializing in epidemiology, at Loyola University Chicago. He is studying biostatistics in hopes of finding new ways to reduce cancer and HIV and improve the health of Latino and all people. To further his training and education, Baez applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The program, led by Dr. ...

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Apply Now: Latino Cancer Research Training and Internships

Participants gather for a group photo at a past Exito Summer Institute.

You can apply now for the 2018 Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program and optional $3,250 internships at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health San Antonio. Éxito! (English: Success!) recruits trainees annually for a culturally tailored curriculum to promote pursuit of a doctoral degree and cancer research career. This year, program leaders will select 25 master’s level students and professionals from across the country to take part in a five-day Éxito! summer institute June 4-8, 2017, in San Antonio. The summer institute features Latino researchers, mentors, and doctoral candidacy experts to inform about the latest in Latino cancer, enhance career development, and provide motivation to take the next step in education and ...

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Nation’s Largest ‘Zoo School’ to Open in San Antonio

Imagine you're 4 years old. How would you feel going to preschool with crocodiles, elephants, and butterflies? What about learning letters while on nature walks? That childhood fantasy is reality for kids at the Will Smith Zoo School in San Antonio (68% Latino). The Zoo School, which opened in 2004 and became licensed in 2014 at the San Antonio Zoo, will expand its capacity from about 50 to more than 200 students in 2018 and become the largest nature-based preschool in the nation, SA Current reports. Zoo officials believe that learning can be as much of a serious hands-on experience as it is messy fun. "Children will spend time in nature exploring and discovering the wonders of nature," according to the Zoo School Parent Handbook. "Basic preschool concepts will be ...

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Teacher Plants a SEED to Help Latinos Learn English, Engage in Schools

Growing up in Texas, Cameron Allen knew he wanted to be a teacher. How could Allen be the best teacher possible in Texas? Where could he make the most impact? He got a higher education in both English and Spanish—an effort that planted a “seed” for his desire to help Spanish-speakers of all ages gain a path to better, healthier lives. Growing the seeds of knowledge Allen began his collegiate career studying early childhood education at UT Austin in 2002. He also minored in Spanish, and did student teaching and studying in Mexico and in Ecuador. This strongly influenced his life and career. “It exposed me to another part of the world, to another culture, to another way of life,” Allen said. “It opened my eyes to other possibilities and to what could really be ...

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