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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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Gilberto Lopez: Combatting Vaccine Misinformation through Art


gilberto_lopez covid-19 art hero

When Gilberto Lopez was visiting his family in California at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he realized his community wasn’t getting the information they needed about safety precautions. “Information that was coming through to my academic bubble, I call it ‘The Harvard Bubble,’ was completely different than the information about COVID that was coming down to the immigrant community,” said Lopez, who comes from a farm-working community in the Central Valley. He wanted to do something to make sure Latino communities learned about COVID-19 and vaccines in culturally relevant ways, like art. Lopez is an assistant professor at Arizona State University's School of Transborder Studies, where he focuses on the health and wellbeing of immigrant, Mexican communities in the ...

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Elsada Wilson: Amid Breast Cancer, Finding Hope Through a Clinical Trial


Elsada Wilson Breast Cancer Clinical Trial

Cancer is a tough, scary, life-threatening journey, especially for women of color. That is why researchers conduct clinical trials, which are studies to find more effective treatments or achieve a better understand breast cancer and survival among minorities. But, to make progress, clinical trials need diverse volunteers – like Elsada Wilson. Wilson joined a clinical trial at Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio and found hope for herself, her family, and the future. “I felt like I was helping further studies and knowledge,” she said. "If it helps me then I'll be able to help my family and help other people that need help. I wanted to help others. I said to myself, ‘It might be that small thing that might help another person.’ Right?” Wilson’s Breast ...

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