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Kelly Capatosto: Shedding New Light on Implicit Bias


Kelly Capatosto implicit bias training

What is the motivation behind your day job? For Kelly Capatosto, it is her family and the Latino population. Capatosto, who started exploring implicit racial bias in school discipline at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, wanted to help her family and make them proud. At the same time, she is making a huge impact on health equity for her community. Capatosto and the Kirwan Institute are generating significant research and training on implicit bias—the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions unconsciously. Implicit bias has a big impact on Latino health equity. "When we got the funding to start working this implicit bias training, we were also living in a different world than it is today," ...

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4 Latino Leaders Eliminating Food Insecurity in Texas



U.S. Latinos face high levels of poverty, food swamps, and food insecurity—living without reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. In Texas, the food insecurity rate is 14.3%. That’s why Texas State Representative Diego Bernal championed legislation that would allow schools to set up school food pantries. Because of this law, schools are helping those who are hungry and food insecure as well as reducing food waste. The law has also inspired others to create change and do good for the community, like Jenny Arredondo, Samantha Almaraz, and Pablo Ramirez. Diego Bernal & School Food Pantries Bernal was heartbroken after touring Texas schools and seeing students go hungry, even as "perfectly edible food" was being thrown away in cafeterias. He wanted to ...

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Doctor Fights for Climate Crisis Intervention in Healthcare, Education


Pacheco Healthcare Climate Change

In 2006, Dr. Susan E. Pacheco experienced a stark paradigm-shift due to an inconvenient truth. She learned that the Earth—and those who inhabit it—could experience destruction and devastation at the hands of climate change. Once Pacheco gained that understanding, she says the only thing left to do was to act. “It’s just the knowledge,” Pacheco said. “Just knowing that this is happening and that medical students, residents, and doctors don’t have the benefit of that knowledge. I have to do something. I just can’t sit and keep this knowledge to myself. “That’s why I’ve been so engaged in educational activities that have to do with climate education because it cannot be ignored.” Introduction to Helping others Through Healthcare  Pacheco is one of the few ...

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In Aftermath of a Shooting, This School Leader Is Building a Positive School Climate for Nevada Students


Malich speaking on the Truancy Diversion Program in May 2018. Source: Nevada 8th JD Court

On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, a shooter opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. He killed 59 people, injured 500 more, and traumatized thousands of kids and families. For Tammy Malich, it was another wake-up call on the path to a positive school climate. Malich, assistant superintendent at Clark County School District in Nevada, already ushered the district toward restorative justice—addressing the mental and emotional roots of student behaviors instead of immediately punishing students—to improve classroom success. But the shooting highlighted the kind of trauma students may experience at home or in the community, which can burden learning and attendance in school. Malich wanted Clark County schools to be better prepared to help traumatized students. She ...

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Elaine Hartle: Helping Foster Youth Prepare for Life’s Challenges


Elaine Hartle with foster care youth in San Antonio (via Express-News) 2

The foster care system aims to support children whose parents can't support them. But what happens when those children grow up and leave the system at age 18, and are not prepared for life on their own? Within a year, 40% of foster youth are homeless. Others are pregnant or in jail. Elaine Andries Hartle hates to see it. That's why Hartle, leader of the THRU Project, works to bridge the gap between foster care and a life of health and independence for youth as they age out of the foster care system in San Antonio (63% Latino). "It's really hard to improve your life if you don't know where you're staying tonight and, unfortunately, there are just very few transitional living programs in San Antonio that can teach these kids to live independently," Hartle told KSAT News. ...

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Dr. Rogelio Saenz: Using Data to Fight Racism, Push for Health Equity


Rogelio Saenz demographer and Latino health equity advocate at UTSA 2

Dr. Rogelio Sáenz is no stranger to health inequity. Growing up along the Texas-Mexico border, he saw Latino families ripped apart by poverty, plagued by systemic bias and racism, struggling to get the healthcare they needed—yet facing a mostly white leadership not ready for change. Sáenz' own grandfather worked as a janitor for a local electric co-op. He couldn't advance in the job due to extreme racism. He had to take side jobs to make extra money for his family. As a child, Sáenz himself experienced racism in the classroom. He continuously got in trouble for speaking Spanish. He also could not hang out with his white friend outside of class. “My white classmate invited me to his house. But then he [his classmate] came back and said, 'Never mind, my parents said no ...

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Cancer Survivor Strives to Change Men’s Health Culture with Cross-Country Road Trip


canales cancer road trip

Nine-thousand miles. That's nearly the number Gabe Canales, founder of Blue Cure—a prostate cancer support and awareness group—traveled earlier this year. He took this journey to advocate for something he believes is too essential to overlook: Promoting men's health. Before beginning this advocacy road trip, Canales struggled with his own life-changing, adverse health experience — in 2010, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. "I really wasn't concerned at all with my health or other men's health before then," Canales said. "Sadly, it sometimes takes a person getting sick for them to look at their own health. There were some other factors after that led me to be very driven to do something for men's health issues overall." A Cancer Diagnosis Too Soon At 35 years old, ...

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Kids Start School Food Pantry on Texas-Mexico Border



High-schoolers Samantha Almaraz and Pablo Ramirez see many classmates who struggle with hunger and poverty in the 85% Latino border town of McAllen, Texas. They wanted to help. So Samantha and Pablo, 10th-graders at Lamar Academy, started a school food pantry by working with their parents, school leaders, and using the Salud America! “School Food Pantry Action Pack” as a guide for their efforts. With their pantry, called the Energy Bar, they store leftover food from the cafeteria and distribute it to hungry students. "We're surrounded by people who are hungry and that don't get food,” said Samantha, who with Pablo is in the International Baccalaureate program at Lamar in McAllen ISD. "They tell us, ‘I don't have food waiting for me at home.’” The Energy Bar ...

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TILT-ed Texan Spreads Toxic-Chemical Awareness to Save Lives


Cambron Salud Hero TILT

For over 100 days in 1996, Melanie Cambron experienced migraines so severe she couldn’t leave her home. Other maladies surfaced during this time — all of which had no reasonable explanation. It wasn’t until she discovered she was one of the many people experiencing Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), that everything changed. “My symptoms kept escalating,” Cambron said. “There was a lot of cognitive dysfunction, also known as brain fog—an inability to think and form rational thoughts—lots of depression, lots of anxiety, wild mood swings, and just general malaise. “Doing one little activity, that would seem normal, would wipe me out for two days. I would be bedridden for a couple of days for just running one little, quick errand.” Since this ...

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