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Having worked firsthand with promotoras de salud, Emily Reyes understands the important role community health workers play in addressing Latino health disparities.
Reyes, who has a master’s degree in public health from California State University, Fullerton, specializes in health promotion and regularly works with underserved communities to bring health equity and sustainable change through education, services and civic participation.
Her interests include improving rural health, public policy, and infectious diseases research─all done with the same resilience and grit as her mother, who earned a master’s degree while raising a family as a single mom.
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 played a key role in preparing me for PhD applications,” Reyes said. “It peaked my interest in cancer disparities and allowed me to create a professional network that will help me achieve my goals along the way.”
Reyes hopes earn a doctoral degree, establish a nonprofit, and conduct research to understand how social determinants impact Latino health.
For those considering applying for Éxito! next year, Reyes has this advice:
“You are so lucky to experience this! It changed my life. Take in every minute of it.”
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.