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Isabella Jimenez Brings ‘My Fun Food’ to Your Phone, Kitchen



Isabella Jimenez is a Latina on a mission for health. At age 12, she had an idea for an app that serves as a digital cookbook where young people can learn to cook easy, healthy recipes and find tips in trivia games. She worked hard preparing recipes, creating and testing an app, and securing funding. At age 16, she launched the My Fun Food app. Now age 18, Isabella is an entrepreneur studying business at UT Austin and taking the My Fun Food app – which has a 5.0 rating in the Apple Store – to new levels. “The main purpose of the app is to provide a resource to the community,” Isabella said. “All the recipes are cost efficient, fast and quick, and easy to make.” Let’s explore what’s new since the last time Salud America! caught up with Isabella! Isabella: ...

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‘It Helped Me Because I’m Here’: Why Diana Lopez Chose a Clinical Trial



When asked about achievements in her life, Diana Lopez of San Antonio, Texas, didn’t have to think long about her answer. Surviving cancer. Lopez was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42 in. Like many of those who are diagnosed, it was a shock to Lopez and her loved ones. “At the time I was scared because you think, they tell you, ‘You have cancer’ and you are like, ‘I’m going to die,’” Lopez said. With the help of a clinical trial – a study with volunteers that helps researchers learn how to slow, manage, and treat diseases like cancer –Lopez stayed strong and continued to fight, no matter the obstacle. A Cancer Diagnosis and its Impact Lopez discovered a lump on her breast. At first, she thought nothing of it. “I wasn’t hurting or anything. ...

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‘Last Roll of the Dice’: How a Cancer Clinical Trial Saved Timothy Leech


Timothy & Katie Leech

Timothy Leech just celebrated his 40th birthday when he got news that changed his life. Timothy was diagnosed with Stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, in 2014. Doctors told him he had only a short time to live. “I freaked out, for sure. I thought I was going to be gone real quick,” Timothy said. But, today, eight years later, Timothy is a cancer survivor. He credits his wife, Katie Leech, his medical team, and a clinical trial for getting him to where he is today – not entirely cancer-free but “so small that it’s immeasurable.” A clinical trial is a research study that helps researchers learn more to help slow, manage, and treat diseases like cancer. “It was very much like, this [clinical trial] is the last roll of the dice here,” ...

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‘Maybe I Can Help Somebody Else’: Willie Heard’s Unwavering Faith Through Clinical Trials


Willie Heard

Willie Heard is a man of faith. His faith stood strong even after he got tragic news in September 2013. Heard was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a group of bone marrow cancers in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. His cancer diagnosis came just months after retiring from his job at USAA and just shy of his 67th birthday. “I’m a religious person and a minister and, I think I remember telling the doctor, I said, ‘Doctor you do what you do, I’m gonna let God do what he does,’” said Heard, a resident of San Antonio, Texas.  “[The cancer diagnosis] was a surprise to me, but I’ve always been a person that don’t really worry about stuff I can’t control, so I don’t let that bother me.” Heard’s Decision to ...

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Anna Valdez: Tackling Infection Control with Education from Classroom to Clinic



15-year-old Anna Valdez fidgeted in her chair as her eyes scanned the stethoscope, cotton balls, and other medical supplies on the far wall of the exam room. Anna had traveled by bus to the hospital by herself, hoping to get some medical attention. But the uninsured California teenager did not receive the initial response she was anticipating from the resident physician. After a discussion with the nurse though, he was more responsive to her concerns and began outlining Anna’s course of treatment. “In that moment, I thought, ‘Wow, that is really impactful.’ I experienced a lot of bias and inequalities because I was poor, so I was really impressed that a nurse could have that kind of impact.” At 16 years old, Anna found out she was pregnant. She dropped out of ...

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Wanda Montalvo: Preventing Infections in Community Health Centers, Latino Communities



Wanda Montalvo sat at her desk working on paperwork, she could hear nurses and physicians bustling about in the lobby. It was the 1980s, and Wanda was proud to be the secretary for the medical director’s office at the local community health center in Brooklyn, New York. Wanda saw her position as “paying it forward,” as she depended on community health centers growing up in a low-income and underinsured Latino household. However, she couldn’t help but wonder if there was something more she could do to give back to her community. After earning her Bachelor of Nursing degree, the first-generation college student went on to earn her master’s degree in nursing from Long Island University and her PhD in nursing science and health policy from Columbia University in New ...

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Ricardo Correa: Endocrinologist and Infection Control Leader for the Latino Community



Thirteen-year-old Ricardo Correa sat in the pediatric endocrinologist’s office alongside his mother, listening with fascination and soaking up information like a sponge. When the appointment ended, he returned to his home in Panama and spent the next few years learning more about his own health and taking every opportunity to help others who were sick or hurt. By age 18, Ricardo knew he wanted to become a doctor who could stop the spread of infectious diseases and help prevent chronic diseases. “When I was a kid, my mother always said that I could do two things in my life,” Ricardo Correa, MD, EdD, said. “One was being a singer and another being a doctor. Of course, the singer part never worked out – I was not privileged to have a voice. But the doctor part always was ...

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Edward Dennis: Artist, Author, Teacher, and Role Model for Latino Children


Edward Dennis

In a modest house in Maryvale, Arizona, a young Latino boy watched wide-eyed as the famous artist, Bob Ross, painted a masterpiece on TV. With each brush stroke and happy little tree, the boy’s excitement grew in anticipation for the end result – a beautiful piece of landscape art. The boy grew even more excited as he realized two of his other artistic role models – Mr. Rogers and Levar Burton from Reading Rainbow – would appear on TV later that day. Feeling inspired, the boy – Edward Dennis – scurried off to sketch some drawings and work on his own passion and talent for art. Now grown up, Edward is a freelance artist with an impressive resume that includes clients like Disney, Shimano, Giant Bicycles, Toyota, and various video game companies. But his ...

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Leonel Rodriguez: Helpful Treatment Through a Cancer Clinical Trial


Leonel Rodriguez cancer clinical trial participation

Leonel Rodriguez got some terrible news in November 2019. Doctors diagnosed Rodriguez, a South Texas resident, with mantle cell lymphoma – an aggressive, rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The first medicines he took to treat the cancer actually worsened his condition. He soon learned about a potentially beneficial clinical trial for lymphoma patients at the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio. Clinical trials help researchers learn how to better slow, manage, and treat diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. “[Clinical trials were] the best way because, you know, I feel good now with the treatment,” Rodriguez said. “Now I feel I've been feeling well, and well, well.” Rodriguez’s Decision to Participate in a Clinical Trial Rodriguez has come full circle ...

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