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Editor’s Note: This is the testimonial of a graduate of the 2011 Summer Institute of Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training. Read more testimonials here or apply by March 1 for the 2012 Èxito! program.
Christina Munoz-Masso works hard to improve the health of boricuas—Puerto Ricans—and Latinos in general.
She is an epidemiologist at the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center. She coordinates a study investigating DNA methylation in leukemia patients and collaborates on a population-based study on cervical cancer.
After Munoz-Masso graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in biology, she applied for a master’s degree in epidemiology because it allowed her to combine science with helping people. To add an additional component to her schooling, she also pursued medical technology. She combined her knowledge in epidemiology with her new knowledge in laboratory methods and began her work in cancer-related research.
She joined Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training—which aims to increase diversity in Latino health disparities and cancer research by encouraging Latino master’s-level students and master’s trained health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a career in research—to expand her cancer research knowledge and further her career.
Munoz-Masso was inspired to continue developing her cancer research career after hearing the personal stories and career paths of current cancer and health disparity researchers.
“As an epidemiologist, there are many areas within cancer research that interest me, but there is one more step I must take to be able to execute my own ideas—a doctoral degree,” she said. “Éxito! gave me the essential tools to take this next step in the near future.”