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Javier Cintron: Future Doctor Aims to Address Health Inequities


javier cintron profile

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Javier Cintron listened intently to the Haitian man. Far from his home in Panama City, Florida, Javier was in Haiti on a research internship while pursuing his undergraduate education in biology and medical anthropology. As he heard the Haitian man describe the community’s health inequities, Javier thought about what he could do during his internship to help. That winter, Javier evaluated current efforts to improve the community’s overall nutrition and health and reported his findings to a volunteer group that would decide how to proceed. His contributions brought attention to potential root causes of health inequities in the community, such as lack of access to clean water. “They had to pay for a weekly supply of clean water,” Javier ...

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Cesar Ramirez: From Honduras to DACA, on a Mission to Be a Doctor Who Cares


Cesar Ramirez

Shiny cars screeching down the road. Grocery stores filled with bright lights and food-stuffed aisles. TV screens flickering colorfully. Cesar Ramirez stepped – mesmerized – into American life for the first time as a child. Born in rural Honduras, Ramirez only knew poverty. He lived in a one-bedroom shack with his mother and no water, electricity, or healthcare. His father, in the U.S. to work, sent money home. “We just had enough to survive, that was enough for us,” Ramirez said. Ramirez, with the support of his parents and resiliency from childhood, is now a medical student at Sam Houston State University, pursuing his dream to be a doctor who cares for patients and improving healthcare systems. He is also an intern at the Institute for Health Promotion Research ...

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Latina Warrior Beats Cancer, Saves Lives Through Education and Advocacy


Loriana and Gabriel

“The good news is, we can’t kill you trying to save you. You showed up fit to fight.” Still in shock of recent events, Loriana Hernandez-Aldama tried to process the words of world-renowned oncologist Dr. Mark Levis. In such a short period of time in January 2014, her life had completely changed. Just a few days earlier, Loriana, a married mother and TV news anchor with a successful career in Austin and Dallas, Texas, was excitedly working with her fertility doctor to have another baby. But a precautionary blood test before a traditional embryo transfer revealed a disheartening diagnosis of AML Leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer. At the advice of her doctor and healthcare connections, she kissed her then 2-year-old son, Gabriel, goodbye, and boarded a plane to Johns ...

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A.J. Williams: Helping Police, Educators Team Up for Regional Handle With Care Program


Handle With Care Fort Worth

As a child, A.J. Williams was exposed to domestic violence. Now a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, Williams is making sure children like him are getting the support they need in school through the Handle With Care program, where police notify schools when they encounter children at a traumatic scene, so schools can provide support the next day. After COVID-19 derailed an idea to team up Fort Worth police and schools for a local Handle With Care program, Williams reinitiated plans with help from a Handle With Care action pack from Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. He trained police and school leaders about the program and brought regional education leaders to the table who helped create a region-wide notification system. Now police departments and schools in the ...

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Abigail Rubio: Changing the Medical School Oath to Address Racism


Abigail Rubio medical school oath 6

Abigail Rubio, like all medical students, started her journey to be a doctor with an oath. In the traditional Hippocratic Oath, future physicians pledge to do no harm, treat people not symptoms, and respect patient privacy. This sets the tone for medical students’ time in school, as well as their practice later. But Rubio knew something was missing from the oath. She and her peers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, with the guidance of their faculty advisers, wrote their own medical oath and recited it in August 2020 with new emphasis on COVID-19, health care inequities, and racism as a public health crisis. This is part of a rising trend of medical students writing their own oaths on their ever-evolving responsibilities as doctors to address systemic ...

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Gregory Aune: The Gear Up Against Kids Cancer Bike Ride


greg aune Gear Up Against Kids Cancer Bike Ride bike ride event

Gregory Aune was 16 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Aune spent a year enduring grueling treatment, losing over 70 pounds. But he survived. His experience motivated him to pursue a clinical career and help children with cancer. Today, Dr. Aune is an associate professor of pediatric hematology and oncology at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (GCCRI) of UT Health San Antonio, on a mission to find new ways to help and heal patients. That's why he helped found the Gear Up Against Kids Cancer Bike Ride — to raise awareness of childhood cancer and support the mission of the GCCRI. The inaugural bike ride will take place at 8 a.m. CT on April 2, 2022, in Floresville, Texas, after having been postponed for two years due to COVID-19. REGISTER ...

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María Elena Bottazzi: The Latina Scientist Who Helped Create a COVID-19 Vaccine


Maria bottazzi

When María Elena Bottazzi left Honduras, she never expected to one day be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Bottazzi is a microbiologist at the Texas’s Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Tex. She, along with Dr. Peter Hotez of Baylor Medicine, created the Corbevax vaccine for COVID-19. They wanted to create a unique vaccine that was patent-free and cheaper to produce than the vaccines already on the market. “Peter and I aspire to benefit people, which is why we created a vaccine for the poorest communities in the world. The team that we have built shares the same interest in promoting public health and, obviously, learning at the same time,” Bottazzi said, according to NBC Latino. Bottazzi and Hotez were ...

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Gus Alva: Helping Latinos Heal from Parkinson’s Through Storytelling


gus alva

Living with a cognitive disease is difficult because of how it impacts you and those around you. It can create a stigma, which prevents people from seeking help. This stigma can be worse for Latinos, who face cultural barriers and are often affected by these disorders at a high rate. That’s why physicians like Dr. Gus Alva are trying to help Latinos heal from diseases like Parkinson’s. He teamed up with Acadia Pharmaceuticals and StoryCorps nonprofit for the “Yours, Truly” campaign, a bilingual effort to use multicultural storytelling to bring awareness to the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. “This campaign is quite important because it really lends to the public an opportunity of being able through storytelling to convey some very important information ...

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COVID Community Corps Spreads Vaccine Awareness to New Jersey Latinos


COVID Community Corps Spreads Vaccine Awareness to New Jersey Latinos

COVID-19 continues to burden communities of color, particularly low-income and Latino immigrant populations. Often, these communities have fewer resources and need support and health education to fight COVID-19. That’s why groups like the COVID Community Corps (CCC) were started. “It’s about getting into those really hard-to-reach populations and communities and bringing the information in a very linguistic and culturally competent manner,” said Nayeli Salazar de Noguera, the program outreach manager for the CCC. Through canvassing and educational initiatives, the CCC aims to reach underserved communities and increase public confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines. Learn how they are building vaccine confidence in low-vaccinated parts of New Jersey! Launching ...

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