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Jeraldine Ortiz: Finding Life Through a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial


Jeraldine Ortiz Breast Cancer Survivor Clinical Trial featured

Jeraldine Ortiz knows that breast cancer is tough for Latinas. Breast cancer is the top cause of Latina death. This stems from cultural barriers to care, low screening rates, and low participation in clinical trials studies trying to find better treatments. This is why Ortiz, when diagnosed with breast cancer, volunteered for a clinical trial. Today, after more than 15 years as a cancer survivor, Ortiz said she strongly believes her participation in a clinical trial at UT Health San Antonio helped her get better treatment and better quality of life in her post-cancer journey. “Clinical trials give the opportunity to better treatment for all populations," Ortiz said. "We have a better future." Ortiz Chooses a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial In 2006, Ortiz was diagnosed with ...

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Melawhy Garcia: Éxito! Connected Me to Other Latino Professionals


melawhy garcia exito latino cancer research leadership training

Dr. Melawhy Garcia wanted to elevate her work to improve health among Latinos in California by applying for PhD programs, but she wasn’t sure about it. She wanted to hear from experienced faculty and scholars about what the process would be like. That’s why she attended the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training at UT Health San Antonio. “I actually knew some of the faculty presenting at [Éxito!], so I definitely wanted to hear from them and see what their journey was like going through a PhD program,” Garcia said. Éxito! helped Garcia apply to PhD programs and get accepted to a joint Doctoral Program in Public Health from the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University. Now, Garcia is an assistant professor in the Department of ...

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Alma Lopez: Better Health Through a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial


Alma Lopez-breast-cancer-clinical-trial

Breast cancer is the top cause of death for Latinas. But Alma Lopez has been a breast cancer survivor for more than 15 years. She believes participating in a clinical trial at UT Health San Antonio helped her get better treatment and better long-term health in her survivorship journey. “Clinical trials are great for finding new treatments that help people,” Lopez said. “And it helps the scientists. It gives opportunity to better medication for all populations. It builds a better future.” Lopez Chooses a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial About 15 years ago, Lopez was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lopez began weighing her treatment options. At first, she had doubts about whether to volunteer for a clinical trial. She thought it might take too much time, or cause ...

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Natalicio Serrano: What Éxito! Taught Me About Latino Representation in Academia


Natalicio Serrano: What Éxito! Taught Me About Latino Representation in Academia

Natalicio Serrano wasn’t sure he wanted to get a PhD. He knew the journey would be difficult, especially as a Latino going into a field with little representation. However, the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training at UT Health San Antonio changed that. “For me, Éxito! painted a clearer picture of what I could do with a PhD. It gave me the energy to want to apply and continue on with this academic journey,” Serrano said. Participating in Éxito! motivated Serrano to apply and get accepted to a PhD program in Public Health with the Prevention Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Serrano is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Cancer Education and Career Development program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on ...

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Dr. Martha Bernal: The First Latina with a PhD in Psychology


Dr. Martha Bernal: The First Latina with a PhD in Psychology

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor Dr. Martha Bernal, the first Latina to receive a PhD in psychology in the U.S. Bernal contributed greatly to the field of ethnic minority psychology and inspired many generations to follow her. “Dr. Martha Bernal demonstrated outstanding initiative and dedication to promoting the presence of ethnic minority psychologists in the profession. She provided guidance and inspiration to a wide range and large number of psychologists of color, men and women,” according to Society for the Psychology of Women. In addition to her contributions to the field, Bernal was a fierce advocate for justice and equity. “She was passionate about her ideas, she spoke out effectively against injustice, she maintained high standards of scholarship ...

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Jim Morris: A Watchdog for Environmental Health


Jim Morris

Having been in the industry for over 40 years, Jim Morris is no newcomer to journalism. He’s worked at several news organizations across Texas and spent two decades at the Center for Public Integrity, a news nonprofit in Washington, D.C. In August 2021, he started Public Health Watch, a nonprofit investigative news organization that seeks to hold systems accountable and expose threats to the safety and wellbeing of the country. As the Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of a virtual news organization, Morris faces some challenges. But in the end, it’s worth it to be able to help advocate for workers’ health and expose people to the human stories in public and environmental health. “I'm attracted to those kinds of stories. You can almost always tell a really ...

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Latino Health Champions for Hispanic Heritage Month


Latino Health Champions Healthier Generation

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Alliance for a Healthier Generation is sharing a series of stories about Latino health champions. These champions—Bianca De León, Alejandro Diasgranados, Mario Reyna, and Pia Escudero—have different backgrounds and interests. But they share a passion for creating health equity and a more just, equitable, inclusive, and healthy future for children and families. Read their stories! Bianca De León: Community-Building to Connect Kids to Positive Experiences Bianca De León grew up speaking both English and Spanish with her single mother in their community along the U.S.-Mexico border. She had a loving network of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great grandparents. Now, as a mother, she continues to forge these ...

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Ellen Ochoa: The First Latina Astronaut to Go into Space


Ellen Ochoa NASA Latino Astronaut

In 1993, Ellen Ochoa became the first Latino person in space. She logged nearly 1,000 hours in orbit across four space missions, studying the Earth's ozone layer. She would later become the NASA Johnson Space Center’s first Latina director and only its second female director. "At the time, it was really a personal thing," Ochoa told TODAY. "It was something I was very excited to participate in, and I loved working with the team and with my crew and doing work that was important to understanding changes in the atmosphere." "I realized the mission had repercussions well beyond that. I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of student groups, I was featured in children's books, textbooks – I'm just really grateful there was this whole extra dimension to that flight beyond the ...

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Ángela Gutiérrez: What Éxito! Means to Me, a Latina PhD and Researcher


Ángela Gutiérrez: What Éxito! Means to Me, a Latina PhD and Researcher

Dr. Ángela Gutiérrez has always been passionate about health disparities research. “I had previously worked on health disparities research focusing on diabetes, fibromyalgia among Latinx communities, and I've done a lot of community-based research,” Gutiérrez said. So when the opportunity arose to apply to Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training at UT Health San Antonio, Gutiérrez was thrilled to learn more. “It was through Éxito! that I realized the prevalence and importance of focusing on cancer disparities as well, not just focusing on diabetes and fibromyalgia,” Gutiérrez said. Participating in Éxito! helped Gutiérrez apply and get accepted to a PhD program in Community Health Sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health of the University of ...

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