Joe Padilla: Bust Cultural Barriers to Improve Latino Men’s Health


PadillaJoe Exito 2018 participant
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Joe Padilla saw both sides of the coin growing up.

His grandmother’s love led her to feed passersby. His uncle never accepted success, and pushed him to do more and more.

The result was a goal-driven, yet compassionate person who has a huge head start on his goal of busting cultural barriers and improving the health of Latino men.

Padilla earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso, and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in public health with a concentration in community health education at New Mexico State University (NMSU).

He is a graduate research assistant for the NMSU’S Cancer Outreach Program. He helps with program evaluation of the Culturally Adapted Colorectal Cancer Educational Program for Hispanics. He hopes to examine men’s cancer issues and impacts among different Latino subgroups.

To further his experience and education, Padilla 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.

“This was a great opportunity that I was fortunate to be a part of.” Padilla said. “I especially liked that this was specific to Hispanics/Latinos as we were able to express ourselves and really relate to others that understood what it was we were going through.”

Éxito! truly motivated me and really reinforced my path towards a doctoral program.”

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.

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