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Former Marine Tim Barrientez is Dedicating Retirement Years to Improving Latino Health

Tim Barrientez

8/22/23 Update: Tim is Salud America!'s latest intern. Read his stories here! 18-year-old Timoteo “Tim” Barrientez wiped a bead of sweat from his brow. It was impossible not to sweat in the hot, humid climate of Port Isabel, Texas – a small coastal town in the Rio Grande Valley. As Tim’s feet struck the pavement, he thought about how he would soon trade his athletic sneakers for military boots. He smiled. After today’s run and weightlifting workout, he would finish packing his bags to begin training as a United States Marine – a career that would last more than 20 years and take him to Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Japan, and other countries to defend our nation’s freedom. While serving as a Marine, Tim kept his passion for health and fitness close to his heart. ...

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Diana Anzaldua: From Troubled Teen to Trailblazer in Latino Mental Healthcare

Diana profile

“Grab what you can,” said a frantic young mother to her four children in their small rural home in El Campo, Texas. As their mother swiftly shoved a few belongings in a bag, her four children began to grasp the seriousness of the situation and why she pulled them out of school mid-day. It was finally their chance to get out of town and leave their abusive father – who suffered from alcohol addiction – behind. Diana Anzaldua was one of those four children. She knew her parents struggled to make ends meet, especially since they were teen parents with mental health challenges of their own. “We faced day-to-day domestic violence and a chaotic household. My mom, of course, was depressed,” recalled a grown Diana, who is now a licensed clinical social worker and ...

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SDoH Screening Is Tackling Social Needs of Patients in US Community Health Centers

A bite of HOPE SDoH screening

Since the 1960s, community health centers (also called Federally Qualified Health Centers) have made it their mission to increase people’s access to primary healthcare by reducing barriers, such as cost, lack of insurance, distance, and language. But beyond clinic walls, many people have big social needs, like unstable housing, that hurt their health. That is why the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) helped create a social determinants of health (SDoH) screening tool – PRAPARE® (Protocol for Responding to and Assessing Patient’s Assets, Risks and Experiences) – to enable community health centers to identify social needs among patients and refer them to local resources for aid. Today, PRAPARE® helps hundreds of community health centers, like the ...

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Feeding Fort Worth with the FunkyTown Fridge

Kendra Richardson worried if her neighbors in Fort Worth, Texas, would have enough food as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened nutrition security, healthcare, and housing.   Richardson saw an opportunity to help – with a community fridge.  Richardson launched FunkyTown Fridge in September of 2020 with the purpose of feeding the community and giving neighborhood families access to healthy food, making it the first and only community fridge in Fort Worth at the time.   “We place refrigerators and pantries in food apartheid neighborhoods around Fort Worth, and then allow them to be accessible and open 24/7,” Richardson said. “So, it's free food, community-based on a give what you can, take what you need basis.”  Let’s explore how has Richardson’s FunkyTown Fridge ...

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Nemours Children’s Health Goes Beyond Medicine to Cure Families’ Social Needs  

SDoH Screening for children

Nemours Children’s Health knows healthcare is more than just medicine. The conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and age – known as social determinants of health (SDoH) – can greatly help or harm our health. That is why Nemours gave multiple leaders, including Kelli Thompson, director of population health management; Na-Tasha Williams, population health specialist; and Alex Koster, senior director of the value-based care data analytics and IT department; the space to begin developing a SDoH screening program in 2018. The SDoH screening program is now fully implemented or being piloted in multiple Nemours locations, including in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Florida. To screen patients for social needs, such as food and housing insecurity, Nemours uses an ...

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Tech Entrepreneur Erik Cardenas Brings Affordable Healthcare to Latinos

Erik Cardenas healthcare

A young Erik Cardenas sat quietly in his chair, gently swinging his legs back and forth. He clasped his hands together and observed the clinic waiting room. He could hear some patients chattering with family members in Spanish. Others looked like they could doze off any minute. “Cardenas?” called out a nurse holding a clipboard. Erik sprung from his chair and followed his parents and the nurse into the doctor’s office. He was glad the waiting game was over. “As Mexican immigrants living in Houston, my parents didn't have the best access to healthcare,” a grown Cardenas recalled. “I have a lot of memories of waiting hours at community safety net clinics, and after a multiple hour wait, you were lucky to see the doctor for five minutes.” Cardenas also recalls ...

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Celebrating Galentine’s Day with Drs. Amelie Ramirez and Patricia Chalela

Galentine's Day

You’re probably familiar with Valentine’s Day on February 14. Every year, couples dote on each other and exchange candy, roses, and other gifts. But have you heard of Galentine’s Day? On February 13, Galentine’s Day is a time for women to celebrate their friendships with their gal pals, or lady friends. In honor of Galentine’s Day 2023, Salud America! is highlighting the incredible work and friendship of Drs. Amelie Ramirez and Patricia Chalela, two Latina researchers at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at UT Health San Antonio. The duo has a 30-year history working together to mitigate health inequities and disparities in the Latino community through public health research. Their contributions to Latino health equity are immeasurable. Let’s take ...

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Dr. Trinidad Solis: Harvesting Infection Control Solutions for Farmworkers

In the small rural Central California town of Selma, a young Trinidad Solis watched long stretches of farmland float by through the car window. She listened to her parents in the front seat discuss their upcoming doctor’s appointment in Spanish. As Mexican immigrant farmworkers, Solis’ parents faced hardships accessing healthcare, including a language barrier. Since her parents were monolingual Spanish-speakers, Solis often served as translator during her parents’ health appointments and helped them navigate the complex healthcare system. These childhood interactions spurred Solis’ desire to become a bilingual, culturally sensitive family physician who could provide healthcare, including infection prevention and control services, to vulnerable patients like her ...

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