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


mom_daughter_teacher-hispanic-healthy-school-meeting

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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Sara Rubio Correa: Improving the Health of Latinx Immigrants



When Sara Rubio Correa’s family immigrated to the United States from Queretaro, Mexico, when she was 5 years old, they faced strenuous jobs and little healthcare. Then they were deported back to Mexico. At age 16, Rubio Correa returned to the United States and began living on her own, driven by a resilient nature to overcome the hurdles of her childhood and become a doctor. Her experiences shaped her passion for improving the health of Latinx immigrants. Rubio Correa, currently working on her master’s degree of public health in health behavior at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, wants to focus her career on using research to address cancer and heart health, engaging community workers for Latinos, and spurring policy changes and shaping equitable environments for ...

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Monica Villarruel: Making Strides for the Health of Latina Mothers



Monica Villarruel is concerned about the unmet health needs of Latina mothers. Seeing her own mother struggle with gestational diabetes while pregnant with her little brother fueled her interest in birth and health outcome disparities among Latinas. She learned how language and other barriers can hurt patient-provider relationships. Villarruel, who recently earned her master’s degree in public health at Washington University in St. Louis, is already on the right path to make a difference. Villarruel has spent nearly a decade in program implementation and evaluation, especially in community-based participatory research involving Latinos. She has worked as a research and program assistant for university- and community-based nonprofits in both Los Angeles and St. Louis. Her ...

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Comment Now: USDA to Roll Back School Food Nutrition Standards


latino kids in a school food lunch line

School food nutrition is at risk again. The USDA, which relaxed school nutrition standards in 2018, is proposing two rule changes it says will give schools and summer programs more flexibility to meet student meal preferences and reduce food waste. But health experts warn this will roll back progress on school food nutrition. Schools could, for instance, cut breakfast fruit by a half-cup. Fries and burgers could be served a la carte. Pasta could count as a vegetable. This is a longer-term health threat than the coronavirus pandemic, according to Healthy Eating Research. "This would create a huge loophole in school nutrition guidelines, paving the way for children to choose pizza, burgers, French fries, and other foods high in calories, saturated fat or sodium in place of ...

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Crystal Costa: Drawing on Her Upbringing to Promote Public Health for Latinos



Growing up around the borders of Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas, Crystal Costa was immersed in Mexican culture. She experienced good, like the red chili peppers for traditional meals. She experienced bad, like seeing how doctors didn’t explain health issues to her mother. Costa’s experience drove her keen interest in working with underserved populations and building capacity among community leaders to improve public health, especially when it comes to environmental justice and health advocacy. Today Costa is working on her master’s degree in public health at the University of Texas at El Paso. She also works with an interdisciplinary research team and provides support to pregnant and postpartum women recovering from substance use disorder and trauma. To further her ...

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Jaquelin Flores: Determined to Reduce Latino Health Inequities



Taking a cue from her energetic, hard-working, El Salvadoran mother, Jaquelin Flores is determined to reduce health inequities that grip the young Latino population. For instance, as she studies for her master’s degree at California State University, Long Beach, she also works as a clinical research coordinator. She leads research projects that focus on psychosocial factors and innovative clinical care models with adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes. Flores has a strong desire to shine a light on how different cultural backgrounds influence health behaviors and manifest in different health outcomes. To further her experience and education, Flores applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie ...

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Hilmaris Centeno Girona: Brewing Up a Passion for Coffee (and Latino Health)



Coffee is life for Hilmaris Centeno Girona. For many families in Puerto Rico, coffee is a childhood staple, and Centeno Girona has been an avid java drinker since childhood. Now she’s brewing up a passion for solving cancer health disparities and improving health knowledge among Latinos. Currently, Centeno-Girona is a master’s degree student and a clinical research coordinator at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Puerto Rico. Her research interest includes health disparities, cancer research, and social and behavioral sciences, in areas like colorectal cancer screening and liver cancer prevention. To further her experience and education, Centeno Girona applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led ...

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Corina Zamora: Using Storytelling to Solve Problems, Boost Health



Corina Zamora grew up playing bingo and telling stories with her family in South Texas. Storytelling even helped in solving problems and learning Spanish, by using loteria cards to tell stories in this language. As the only Latina in a small Texas school, it was important to be able to talk about all experiences, good and bad. Zamora, currently a graduate student at the UTHealth School of Public Health campus in San Antonio, can tell many stories of how she is improving Latino health. After getting interested in public health began as an undergrad at UT Rio Grande Valley, Zamora worked with the USDA to study local agriculture and entomology. She was asked to present this research at the 72nd annual Subtropical Agriculture and Environments Society’s 72nd annual ...

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