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Isela Garcia: Passion for Improving Health on the Border


Garcia Isela exito participant 2018

Isela Garcia has a passion for dancing folklorico. But she has an even stronger passion for solving health issues that affect the Latino population on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. As an undergraduate, Garcia worked on border health research projects in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. As a first-year MPH candidate at New Mexico State University, she is committed to research in Latino health disparities. She currently works on cancer education programs for the border community, and continues to gain experience in cancer education and prevention programs. To further her experience and education, Garcia 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 ...

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Alejandra Ochoa: Chocolate, French, and Public Health


OchoaAlejandra Exito 2018 participant

A writer once said: “Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.” That is spot-on for Alejandra Ochoa. Because, just as chocolate fits well in any recipe, Ochoa is adaptable and driven to help people get healthy. Ochoa, who was born in Mexico City and immigrated to Phoenix at age 6, earned her bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in public health at the University of Arizona in 2014. She moved to Normandy, France, to participate in a teaching assistant program. She moved to Tucson, Ariz., to pursue a master’s degree in public health in 2017. Ochoa is continually learning and already is helping our youngest population as an injury prevention specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. To further her experience and education, Ochoa ...

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Liliana Martinez: Determined to Improve Latino Health


MartinezLiliana Exito 2018 participant

Determination is what Liliana Martinez is all about. She found a model for determination in her brother who, despite spending time incarcerated, went back to school and became a successful teacher. Martinez proved her own determination when, as a native of Mexico who immigrated with her family to the United States at age 6, she worked with undocumented students to pursue passage of the DREAM Act and mentored high school students to pursue higher education. And, perhaps most impressively, she will be passing her determination on to the next generation, too, as she is resolute in wanting to teach her first child the indigenous Nahuatl language spoken by her Mexican grandmother. Martinez is a current graduate student in the master’s degree of public health program at the ...

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Cynthia Cervantes: Community Health Education for Latinos


CervantesCynthia exito participant 2018

Just like the beautiful handmade Mexican huipil shirt she proudly wore during her undergrad years at UCLA, Cynthia Cervantes has become the embodiment of resilience. Cervantes is a first-generation student currently working on her master’s degree of public health with an emphasis on community health education. She’s gained valuable experiences through working as a health advocate for an HIV risk reduction program and as a research coordinator for a stroke study. She also has participating in grassroots efforts that showed her the differences Latino communities face to access care. To further her experience and education, Cervantes applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San ...

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Sebastian Garcia-Medina: Leaving Behind Violence for Higher Education


GarciaMSebastian Exito 2018 participant

If something doesn’t work, Sebastian Garcia-Medina finds an alternative way to make it work. It’s this kind of resourcefulness that he learned from his father, who helped his family leave behind violence in Bogota, Columbia, and move to the U.S. in search of higher education. In Wisconsin, as a first-generation immigrant, Garcia-Medina found his passion in the medical sciences and aiding the underserved populations. After taking a year to work at the Mayo Clinic, Garcia-Medina is now continuing his path toward medicine and science by pursuing a master’s degree in Cleveland, Ohio. To further his experience and education, Garcia-Medina applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT ...

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Amelie Ramirez Elected Board President of Top Texas Health Agency


Amelie Ramirez komen scholar

Congratulations to Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio, on her election as President of the Board of Directors for The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST)! TAMEST is a premier scientific organization that unites the best and brightest scientists and researchers across Texas. Ramirez will help supervise all TAMEST programs and affairs. She also will serve as representative of the organization. Ramirez will serve a two-year term through January 2021. “I look forward to helping guide TAMEST's efforts to make Texas a premier destination for world-class research in medicine, engineering, science and technology," Ramirez said. "Together we will work to improve the lives of our citizens and grow the economy." Dr. ...

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Pamela Sanchez: Improving Women’s Health


Sanchez Pamela Exito 2018 participant

When she feels lost, Pamela Sanchez can turn to her supportive sister or the doll her Chilean grandmother gave her. Fortunately, Sanchez is already finding her own path and making great progress toward her goal of improving women’s health. Sanchez is entering her second year in the master’s degree of public health program in epidemiology at the University of Florida. Sanchez, born in Miami but maintaining dual citizenship from the United States and Chile, is a first-generation American and the first in her family to seek her master’s degree. Sanchez is currently working on a research project with Dr. Ting-Yuan Cheng, an epidemiology professor at the University of Florida. The project investigates the mTOR pathway activity and its association with breast cancer ...

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Latinos More Exposed to Harmful Chemicals in Drinking Water


Drinking water in the test tube for chemical and microbiological analysis

More than 5.6 millions Americans are drinking water with increasingly high amounts of nitrates known to cause health problems, according to a new study. Latinos are disproportionately exposed to nitrates in public water systems. "Since the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, there's been a real push to document other types of disparities in drinking water quality in the U.S. and understand the factors that drive them," said Dr. Laurel Schaider, lead author of the study in the Journal of Environmental Health and an environmental chemist at Silent Spring Institute, in a statement. "Because at the end of the day, everyone should have access to clean and safe drinking water regardless of your race or where you live." The Shocking Study Results For the study, scientists at the nonprofit ...

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Keylynne Matos-Cunningham: Speaking Up for Health Justice


Cunningham Keylynne exito participant 2018

Keylynne Matos-Cunningham is a force to be reckoned with. The eldest of three younger siblings and a blend of Northern, Southern, African-American and Puerto Rican cultures, Matos-Cunningham stands up and speaks out against injustices experienced by underrepresented minorities. Matos-Cunningham graduated with her master’s degree of public health from Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University (ECU). Her research interests are mental health, minority health, sexual health and social determinants of health. She works full-time in substance abuse prevention and is an adjunct health instructor at ECU. There are many things that move her and drive her closer to her purpose. She believes that being a servant of the community is how to best understand the world. To ...

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