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Diana Ballesteros-Gonzalez is motivated to work to prevent chronic disease among Latinos by her family’s health history, her work in the community, and her passion for public health.
In fact, with the support of her husband, Ballesteros-Gonzalez bravely packed up and moved from the West Coast of her native California to the East Coast of New York to study public health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in Epidemiology of Chronic Disease.
Ballesteros-Gonzalez’s ultimate career goal in public health is to not only become a professor, but also serve her hometown community to improve chronic disease outcomes.
To further her potential to reach her goal, Ballesteros-Gonzalez 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 and optional internships 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.
“I really enjoyed hearing from Latinx speakers in the field,” Ballesteros-Gonzalez said. “It motivated and made me feel like I too can make it.”
“I feel much more confident in applying to doctoral programs. I have decided to take a year off between my MPH and doctoral degree. Not because I don’t believe I will get in, but to get more experience to be able to gain more experience in research.”
Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2018 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program at UT Health San Antonio, the headquarters of the Salud America! program. Apply now for Èxito! 2019.