A New Partnership is Helping Get Latinos into College

In recent years, Latinos have made great strides in improving their overall “state” of education. The dropout rate for Latino high school students is at an all-time low (12% in 2014) and even more (35%) are finding their way into a two- or four-year college. Despite all of this headway into education, Latinos often face unique barriers that prevent many from attaining a quality education. To help overcome these barriers, groups and organizations around the country have often sought out unique innovations to encourage more Latino engagement in education. In Goshen, Indiana (29.12% Latino population), representatives for Goshen College developed a unique approach to encouraging Latino students to enroll and succeed at their university. Richard Aguirre, the director of corporate ...

Read More

South African Sugary Beverage Policies Effective For Rural Schools

In Vhembe-Mutale school district, sugary drinks have been banned since the beginning of the school year. The change has been successful and popular according to Health24, as parents like Tambulani Mbedzi explained that her child was suffering from headaches and found out that it was due to drinking a lot of sugary drinks at school being sold by hawkers. Children would buy two or three bottles of sugary drinks at a lower price from these hawkers that were selling sugary drinks to kids at school. The deputy principal at the school, Rendani Nemufulwi complained that because of these hawkers, that would even try to sell to kids secretly, kids were drinking tons of sugary drinks at the school and were less inclined to eat nutritious foods. Parents are happy about the changes, ...

Read More

Strategic Campaign Fund Incubator Opportunity

A new funding opportunity is rising from Voices for Healthy Kids, working to ensure that all children have access to healthy food and physical activity where they live, learn, and play. The purpose of the Strategic Campaign Fund Incubator opportunity is to support innovative advocacy approaches that align with Voices for Healthy Kids policy priorities. Funding requests may range from $15,000 to $30,000 and all grants awarded will be 100% non-lobbying funding and all applications must be submitted by the deadline on Friday, March 31, 2017, 5 pm EST. To learn more about the incubator opportunity email Shannon.Melluzzo@heart.org and/or register for the webinar on the Incubator Application 101 being held, Monday, March 6th from 2-3pm EST. The webinar will review the funding ...

Read More

Karen Aguirre: A Vow to Fight for Oppressed Latinos

Karen Aguirre

Nopales are strong, resilient plants that endure in any environment. The same characteristics apply to Karen Aguirre. Aguirre learned perseverance from her parents who crossed over from Mexico nearly a dozen times to bring her to a better life, and from her mentor who cared for undocumented Latinos. She has vowed to fight for the oppressed and engage Latinos in health policy. Aguirre, an MPH candidate in Health Policy and Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recently was awarded the Chicago Schweitzer Fellowship and will receive funding to carry out a yearlong project with Latino high school students in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The program is expected to become a pipeline system between an underserved community and neighboring ...

Read More

Gabrielle Castellanos: A Caring Attitude for Healthier Lifestyles

Exito cancer training

With the little “casita” (home) as a sentimental reminder of her childhood home and her late grandmother, Gabrielle Castellanos caring nature shines through. Castellanos truly cares about others through her desire to pursue a master’s degree and a PhD, and then apply what she learns to improve health in the community. She creates unique ways to help people live healthier lifestyles, whether it’s through a better diet, stress management, or cancer and chronic disease prevention—or a super-innovative way to integrate all of these elements. Castellanos, a native of San Antonio and a graduate of Health Careers High School, earned her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science at Texas A&M University. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in Allied Health Education ...

Read More

Kendra Cruz: Listening to Hear Community Health Needs

Kendra Cruz

Listening to community needs is critical to solving health disparities. Kendra Cruz embodies this goal, as she has displayed a willingness to listen intently and a passion for addressing any identified health concerns in the community. Cruz is already working on studies on smoking cessation and HPV, and she’s interested in working with rural Latinos to learn their needs and identify ways to best provide resources. Her desire to listen and respond to people’s health needs is just as beautiful, if not more so, than the amazing traditional dresses she keeps from her native Oaxaca, Mexico. Cruz came to the states at age 8 without speaking any English, but was fortunate to learn the language in a school year. At 14, she returned to Mexico to be closer to her family, but at 17 ...

Read More

Maria Alvarez: Perseverance Paves Way for Cancer Prevention

Maria Alvarez

Maria Alvarez, proudly waving her native country’s flag for “Dios, Patria, y Libertad,” (God, motherland, and freedom), draws inspiration from her Dominican heritage and perseverant family to help people live healthier lives. Alvarez learned hard-working ways from her truck-driving father and education-seeking mother. When her family struggled with asthma and lung cancer, she stepped up in a big way as a researcher on these very topics. Alvarez, who has a master’s degree in health education and health behaviors from Teachers College Columbia University, is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Hematology and Oncology Department at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). She has collaborated on studies and educational projects associated with cancer, prevention ...

Read More

Diana Diaz: Pushing for Cancer Prevention among Latinos

Diana Diaz

With a mother that instilled accountability, Colombia native Diana Diaz has taken responsibility to push hard for cancer control and prevention. Diaz, a research coordinator at Moffitt Cancer Center, is already helping conduct trials in tobacco research and lung cancer. She wants to demystify the stigma of terror and language barriers that patients face in cancer centers. Diaz applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program, which recruits 25 master’s-level students and professionals for a five-day Summer Institute to promote doctoral degrees and careers studying Latino cancer. Éxito! is led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio, with support from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). “[Éxito!] has provided me with a more narrow ...

Read More

Blanca Chavez: Health is a Basic Human Right

Blanca Chavez

In a world in need of optimism, Blanca Chavez is a shining beacon of positivity. Based on her upbeat grandfather’s legacy and her father’s goal-oriented example, Chavez believes that good health is a human right. She wants to reframe negative concepts into stigma-busting, health-boosting solutions. Before starting her master’s degree in public health, Chavez worked at community health centers throughout Washington to improve the quality of care among immigrant populations. Chavez, a proud bicultural and bilingual Chicana from Washington, said the accounts of cancer that she witnessed in the communities she has lived and served give her motivation to specifically focus on the elimination of cancer disparities. To further her goals, Chavez applied for the Éxito! Latino ...

Read More