Clara Reyes: A Fearless Advocate for Latino Health


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Like the beautiful turquoise bracelet and shawl gifted to her by her Colombian abuela, Clara Reyes is fearless when it comes to facing challenges and seeking solutions.

That’s why it’s no surprise Reyes is blazing a path to better health for Latinos.

Reyes, who has served on a Peace Corps mission to El Salvador, is currently a clinical trials program manager in the Department of Public Health Sciences at New Mexico State University (NMSU).

She works with several NMSU faculty members to manage a randomized clinical trial in two U.S.-Mexico border counties. The trail is testing a culturally adapted program for Latina mothers diagnosed with cancer and their children.

To further her experience and education, Reyes applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program.

The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio with support from the National Cancer Institute, recruits 25 master’s-level students and professionals each year for a five-day summer institute, optional internships, and ongoing networking and support to promote doctoral degrees and careers in Latino cancer. A recent study found significant increases in summer institute participants’ confidence to apply to a doctoral program and academic self-efficacy.

“The [Éxito!] Summer Institute gave me the confidence, tools, and motivation I need to start narrowing down my research topic, potential mentors and schools, and take on the doctoral application process,” Reyes said.

For those considering applying for Éxito! next year, Reyes has this advice:

“You are about to embark on an amazing journey that will help you reflect, connect, and feel empowered to pursue a doctoral degree,” she said. “I am eternally grateful I was able to participate in this [Éxito!] Summer Institute. It was a true privilege.”

Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2019 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program at UT Health San Antonio, the headquarters of the Salud America! program. Apply now for Èxito! 2020.

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