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Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio and a leading health disparities researcher, will serve as the 2021-2022 chair of the the Women in Cancer Research Council of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
The council organizes the activities of the members of the Women in Cancer Research group. This includes fostering career development, recognizing scientific achievements, and advising AACR leadership.
Ramirez is currently serving a three-year term on the council through December 2022.
“It is a great honor to serve as Chair of the Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council for the 2021-2022 term. Despite the challenges we have seen during the pandemic, I am proud to say women in science are still making strides and progressing in the field of cancer research,” Ramirez said. “I want to thank Dr. Margaret Foti and the staff at AACR for continuing to keep the importance of research in the forefront.”
“With over 21,000 members, WICR has built a tremendous community of inspiring, accomplished women investigators who have contributed greatly to the advancement of cancer research. Our goal is to continue this support of women through our programs and activities in our institutions and through our programs within the AACR. The contributions of women researchers to the field-at-large are immeasurable. And it is without a doubt that WICR has played a role in those triumphs.”
Dr. Ramirez & Her Healthy Equity Research
Ramirez is an internationally recognized health disparities researcher at UT Health San Antonio.
Here, she is professor and chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio. She also is associate director of cancer outreach and engagement at the Mays Cancer Center.
For more than 30 years, Ramirez gained experience developing research and communication models to improve Latino health locally and nationally.
She currently directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Salud America! national multimedia program to empower its vast network of over 400,000 community leaders to drive healthy policy and system changes to promote health equity and support for Latino families.
“Our mission is to inspire people to drive community change for health equity for Latino and all families,” Ramirez said.
Dr. Ramirez & Her Latino Cancer Research
Ramirez also conducts breast cancer disparities research on quality of life and survivorship issues, and directs Quitxt, a bilingual tobacco-cessation service for young Latino adults using mobile-phone text messages, funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
One of her aims is to improve Latino participation in clinical trials.
“Latinos in clinical trials are not only helping themselves, but they are also building a future with better treatments that can help their families and communities in the future,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez also leads the South Texas site of the Avanzando Caminos study.
Avanzando Caminos aims to enroll 1,500 Latino cancer survivors in South Texas and 1,500 more in Miami to help unpack the social, cultural, behavioral, mental, biological, and medical influences on post-cancer life.
“With the help of Latino cancer survivors, we can help future Latino cancer survivors heal, recover, and reduce the chance for cancer to come back,” said Ramirez of the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Ramirez also has trained/mentored more than 250 Latinos in health fields.
She leads the National Cancer Institute-funded Éxito! training program to help master’s-level students and professionals pursue a doctoral degree and cancer research career. Of 226 Éxito! trainees since 2011, over 26% have enrolled in or graduated from a doctoral program.
“We work hard to enable Latinos take the next steps from a master’s degree to get their doctoral degree and focus on careers in Latino cancer research and prevention,” Ramirez said.
Dr. Ramirez & Her Service, Recognition
Ramirez is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
She also is a Susan G. Komen Scholar, is on the prize jury for the Fries Prize for Improving Health Award and the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award, and is a past member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
In Texas, she is on the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council and is Past Board President of the The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST).
Additional recognition includes:
- 2011: White House Champion of Change
- 2014: APHA Everett M. Rogers Public Health Communication Award
- 2018: Icons in Healthcare Award from CentroMed
- 2019: Lifetime Achievement Award in Health Equity from the Society of Behavioral Medicine
- 2019: Bluebonnet Award of the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- 2020: Leadership of the 2nd Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos conference
- 2020: CDC Board of Directors
- 2021: Heroes of the Fight Against COVID-19 of Latino Leaders magazine
Ramirez earned M.P.H. and Dr.P.H. degrees from UT Health Science Center at the Houston School of Public Health.
She is a native of Laredo, Texas.