Cynthia Ortiz: Taking a Closer Look at the Causes of Disease


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Like the focus and dedication her grandmother put into delicately crafting her beautiful hand stitched napkin, Cynthia Ortiz has what it takes to excel as a researcher.

Ortiz, a Dallas native, is a population science research assistant at UT Southwestern Medical Center and an MPH candidate in the Department of Epidemiology at the UT Health Science Center School of Public Health in Dallas.

Having worked as a laboratory researcher and a high school biology teacher, this future epidemiologist is determined to find answers to the underlying causes of chronic disease. Ortiz has seen firsthand the effects that working night shifts can have on one’s health and hopes to study the relationship that this has to chronic disease.

To further her training and education, Ortiz applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The 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 to promote doctoral degrees and careers in Latino cancer.

“The [Éxito!]  summer institute has helped me better understand the benefits and challenges of pursuing a PhD program,” Ortiz said.

“The institute also allowed me to interact with individuals from other institutions who are in the same concentration as me,” she said. “These individuals have inspired me to develop skills I feel would help me excel academically and professionally. You can do it!”

Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2017 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. Apply now for 2018.

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