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Stacy Cantu-Pawlik: Shining Brightly for Latino Health Equity



Like the bright velas (candles) her grandmother lit as a sign of her strong Catholic faith, Stacy Cantu-Pawlik is shining as a researcher and advocate for Latino health equity. Cantu-Pawlik is a senior research area specialist at the Institute of Health Promotion at UT Health San Antonio, where she serves as a digital content curator for the Salud America! program. She creates content that promotes healthy change, such as stories about mental health heroes and campaigns to improve healthcare. Read Cantu-Pawlik’s stories! Cantu-Pawlik, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, focused graduate research on environmental factors and elevated cancer incidence in South Texas. Her experiences growing up in the Rio ...

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Researchers Identify Top Ways to Stop Projected 142% Rise in Latino Cancer


Latino cancer patient smiling with doctor nurse clinic

As U.S. Latinos face a staggering 142% projected rise in cancer cases by 2030, UT Health San Antonio leaders gathered international cancer experts to publish a new book with innovative research and recommendations to reduce Latino cancer. The book, Advancing the Science of Cancer in Latinos in Springer Open Books, showcases results of the same-named conference that brought 300 researchers to San Antonio in 2018. A follow-up conference, set for Feb. 26-28, 2020, in San Antonio, is open for registration. Included in the new book are promising research findings on Latino cancer and strategies for new research covering the entire cancer continuum, from advances in risk assessment, prevention, screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and policy. “Our book, ...

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The Shocking Rise in Anti-Latino Hate Crimes


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The number of victims from anti-Latino hate crimes rose by over 21% last year, according to new FBI data. While the total number of hate crimes fell slightly to 7,120 from 2017 to 2018, the amount of hate crimes involving physical violence — intimidation, assault, and homicide — reached a 16-year high. The number of hate crime homicides hit its highest number ever: 24 murder victims. This, coupled with the rise in anti-Latino hate crimes, is alarming, experts say. "We're seeing a leaner and meaner type of hate crime going on," Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said in a statement. The Politics of Hate: Anti-Latino Biases Some experts are connecting the hate crime data and current political ...

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Annie Guardado: Big, Optimistic Plans for Boosting Population Health



Optimism has always kept Annie Guardado moving forward. She kept her optimism even seeing her parents and family struggle as U.S. immigrants from Honduras and Nicaragua. And Guardado continues to display optimism as she works as a research assistant in population health at UT Southwestern Medical Center, after earning her master’s degree in public health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Guardado also worked and volunteered in healthcare settings to better understand her local community needs and culture. She wants to research how to improve health literacy and communication between hospitals, health care providers, and Latino patients. She even wants to one day start her own nonprofit. To further her experience and education, Guardado applied for ...

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How Wealth Impacts Health for Latinos


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People with wealth often enjoy good health. People who live in poverty often suffer worse health. This income inequity is simple on the surface. But it has layers of complexity that unfold differently for different people, especially Latinos who face large wage gaps and health issues and warrants action from across sectors to promote health equity. Here is a deep dive into income inequity and Latino health. Why Do Wealth Gaps & Income Inequity Occur? The reasons for wealth gaps are complex. Systemic under-investment is a contributing factor, some experts say. "The 'neo-materialist' hypothesis suggests there is systematic under-investment in social infrastructure and services in more unequal societies," writes Sharon Friel for The Conversation. "Social ...

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How Does Air Quality Impact Childhood Obesity?


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Latino and all kids could have a higher risk for obesity based on the mere air they breathe. A past study placed pregnant lab rats into two different chambers: one with polluted air from Beijing and one with filtered air. Parent and offspring rats in the first chamber gained more weight than the other rats. They were also more likely to have cardiorespiratory and metabolic dysfunctions. Junfeng “Jim” Zhang, professor of global and environmental health at Duke University, wants to find out if this same risk applies to humans. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has awarded Zhang a $2 million grant to study the effects of prenatal and early-life exposure to air pollution. He will examine how birthweight and early childhood growth—two ...

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Nelybeth Santiago Yance: Dedicated to Improving Health in Puerto Rico



Like her humble papi in Puerto Rico, Nelybeth Santiago Yance wants to help others. Legends are important in Santiago Yance’s community, but so is dedication. Staying dedicated is how she tackles her responsibilities and how she earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular cell biology and a master’s degree in science with a specialization in health evaluation research at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). Santiago Yance is currently a health system evaluator at UPR’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research. Santiago Yance is fiercely dedicated to study her people’s fears and misconceptions about HPV. Her thesis topic raised interest in topics such as health disparities in HPV vaccination, knowledge and awareness of HPV, and ...

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Clara Reyes: A Fearless Advocate for Latino Health



Like the beautiful turquoise bracelet and shawl gifted to her by her Colombian abuela, Clara Reyes is fearless when it comes to facing challenges and seeking solutions. That’s why it’s no surprise Reyes is blazing a path to better health for Latinos. Reyes, who has served on a Peace Corps mission to El Salvador, is currently a clinical trials program manager in the Department of Public Health Sciences at New Mexico State University (NMSU). She works with several NMSU faculty members to manage a randomized clinical trial in two U.S.-Mexico border counties. The trail is testing a culturally adapted program for Latina mothers diagnosed with cancer and their children. To further her experience and education, Reyes applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership ...

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Let’s Close the Gap in School Achievement for Black and Latino Children


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U.S. school districts serving the largest populations of Black, Latino, or American Indian students get about $1,800 less per student in state and local funding than those serving the fewest students of color, according to Ivy Morgan and Ary Amerikaner of The Educational Trust. That means a district with 5,000 students faces a funding shortfall of $9 million per year. And it gets worse. This kind of funding shortfall creates an environment that doesn't support academic progress among students of color, Amerikaner said. For example, the 2019 Nation’s Report Cards for math and reading in grades 4 and 8 show achievement diverged from 2003-2009 and 2009-2019 for Latino and all students. Students scoring in the 10th percentile in 2019 are making fewer gains than they were in ...

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