New Anti-Smoking Campaign Targets Minorities of Color

Photo Credit: Fresh Empire/Facebook

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is launching “Fresh Empire” a hip-hop themed anti-tobacco campaign targeted at Latinos and Blacks.

“Unfortunately, the health burdens of tobacco use disproportionately affect minority teens – particularly African American and Hispanic youth,” said Jonca Bull, M.D., the FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Minority Health in a press release. “The ‘Fresh Empire’ campaign will help reach teens at a key point in their lives when experimenting with smoking can lead to addiction.”

The “Fresh Start” campaign will target youth ages 12-17 with interactive content, songs and videos by up and coming hip hop artists.

“We know from our research that remaining in control is an important pillar of hip-hop culture. But smoking represents a loss of control, so tobacco use is actually in conflict with that priority,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

According to figures by the FDA close to 90 percent of adult smokers had their first cigarette by age 18-hence the importance of targeting youth at an early age.

The campaign will launch October 12 in 36 markets and ads will air on October 13 during BET’s Hip Hop Music Awards.


How Does Mental Illness Affect Latinos?

According to a study published in General Hospital Psychiatry, stigma related to mental illness is especially relevant in the Latino community.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Office of Minority and National Affairs only one in 11 Latinos with a mental disorder sees a mental health specialist and less than 55 percent of Latino adults with “a major depressive episode receive treatment for depression.”

Among Latino youth, the percentage of those who have considered and have attempted suicide is higher than White and Black youth.  According to the CDC 18.9 percent of Latino teens have considered it and 11.3 percent have committed suicide.

Among women, depression levels are higher (46%) compared to Latino men (19.6%), according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

This week from October 4th through the 10th is Mental Health Awareness Week. The target for this year’s campaign is to remove the stigma associated with this illness.  You can be part of the campaign using the #IamStigmaFree.

Julie La Fuente Louviere: Latina Cancer Survivor

At age 29 Julie La  Fuente Louviere was in perfect shape and training for a triathlon in her native Puerto Rico.  “I found a knot near my collarbone, which I believed was nothing, but my husband made me get it checked out. The diagnosis was breast cancer.” La Fuente says.

After going through chemotherapy and all the side effects related to it, Julie was cancer free.

Four years later and while she was pregnant cancer came back. “But the cancer came back, now in my liver and bones. The doctors recommended termination of my pregnancy because they said it would be easier to treat. For me that was not an option.”

On Valentine ’s Day in 1998 Julie gave birth to her second daughter and a few days later she found out from her doctors that she only had two months left to live. “In a way, I believe it was my new daughter who saved my life.”

During the 10+ years since Julie became a cancer survivor, she has ran in a beach-to-bay relay with her nieces, she has seen her youngest daughter graduate from high school, college and law school and became a “Glam’ma. “

“Survivorship means I am able to wake up every morning and be a wife to my husband, a mom to my girls, now a Glam’ma to my grandson and loving aunt and sister. It means I can be an active part of the present and never take life’s moments for granted.”

Study: Latinos Spend More Time Traveling To and Waiting for Medical Care

A recent study by the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine found Latinos and other minorities spend more time traveling to and waiting for medical care, Fox Health reports.

For the study, researchers used a sample of 4,000 people who reported their wait times and the travel time to the clinics.

“Unfortunately, there are so many disparities in health care access and health outcomes already identified in our health care system that I don’t think these results are necessarily surprising,” said Dr. Kristin N. Ray of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who worked on the study.

The study found Latino patients spent an average 105 minutes waiting compared to 80 minutes of wait time among Whites non-Hispanics.

“We have long known that there are disparities in access to and the quality of care received, but this study demonstrates that there are also disparities in the time it takes to receive medical care,” said Dr. Joseph S. Ross, an associate editor of the journal who coauthored an editorial on the results.

Meg Reyes: Sobreviviente de cáncer de seno

Meg Reyes, fue diagnosticada con cáncer de seno con apenas 33 años

“Solamente requería una tumorectomía”, dice ella, “pero a causa del tamaño de mi tumor mis doctores fueron muy agresivos con mi tratamiento y me removieron 16 ganglios”.

Con el apoyo incondicional de sus familiares y amigos Megan sobrevivió el cáncer de seno.

Diez años después, Megan es una consejera no-oficial para pacientes recién diagnosticadas con cáncer, ha perdido 150 libras, ha vivido en Alemania e Inglaterra y ha sido madrina de un estudiante de intercambio japonés.

El sobrevivir “significa vivir aun después de que algo difícil se cruce en tu camino. No tiene que ser cáncer, puede ser cualquier cosa que hayas sobrevivido y como manejas esas situaciones.”

Lee la historia completa de Meg en el libro Nuestras Historias.

Mary Gonzalez: Latina Cancer Survivor

A few months after her mother’s death, Mary Gonzalez asked her doctor, if she should have a mammogram, the doctor said she was too young. Two years after she found a lump under her arm and after insisting to have it checked she found out it was breast cancer.

“It was like a bad dream. Things were going way too fast and I was in shock. Too many decisions had to be made in too little time. As I remembered my mother going through chemotherapy, losing her hair, the nausea and vomiting, I was terrified,” Gonzalez said.

The fight against breast cancer became a family battle for the Gonzales

“My husband and I became very educated on breast cancer and its treatment. We read, asked a lot of questions, and took it one step at a time.”

One question that remained unanswered was pregnancy after chemotherapy. “After discussing it with my oncologist, my husband and I made a decision to conceive. Three years after my treatment, our son Matthew was born. Today at 13, he stands taller than me and is more handsome than ever.”

Today, 10+ years after treatment Mary celebrates her life every day and is thankful she has the opportunity to see her grandchildren grow.

“Survivorship means that I have been able to see my children grow up; I’ve been given the opportunity to enjoy my grandchildren, the chance to grow old with my loving husband. I am living a full and healthy life!”

Read Meg’s full story on Redes en Accion’s Nuestras Historias.

#SaludTues Tweetchat: “Breast Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives”

Although Latinas have lower rates of breast cancer, it is still the leading cause of cancer death in Hispanic women.

According to the the Susan G. Komen Foundation, only 64% of Latinas have had a mammogram in the last two years compared to 67% White, non-Hispanic and 66% Black, non-Hispanic.

Spread awareness about breast cancer by joining our weekly #SaludTues tweetchat

  • WHAT: #SaludTuesTweetchat: “Breast Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives”
  • DATE: Tuesday, October 06, 2015
  • TIME: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
  • HOST: @SaludToday
  • CO-HOSTS: FDA en Espanol (FDAenEspanol,) FDA Women (@FDAWomen) Gobierno USA (@GobiernoUSA) USA Gov (@USAGov)

#SaludTues is a weekly Tweetchat about Latino health at 12p CST/1p ET every Tuesday and hosted by@SaludToday, the Latino health social media campaign for the team at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Vote: Best Healthy Food/Drink Change

Soda tax - for Twitter

The people behind the nation’s first sugary drink tax in Berkeley, Calif., are among six new Salud Heroes who are up for a vote of best healthy food/drink change.

Latino kids NEED more healthy food and drink options—even at the zoo.

WATCH and VOTE for your favorite “#SaludHeroes of Healthy Food and Drinks” by Oct. 7, 2015, and be entered in a random drawing to win a FREE T-shirt and jump rope!

#SaludHeroes are:

1st U.S. Soda Tax. Latino leaders like Xavier Morales helped push for a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in Berkeley, Calif., the nation’s first such initiative.

Start a Farmer’s Market. San Antonio teacher Michelle Griego knew a farmer’s market was missing in her neighborhood—so she started one on her own.

Zoo Food. The El Paso Zoo is capitalizing on the healthy habits of animals to urge people to make proper eating and activity choices.

Wrestling up Salad. Teen wrestler Alexander Castillo started eating healthy, but had few healthy choices at school…until he took steps to add new salad options.

Kids Menu Makeover. City officials and restaurant owners teamed up to add healthier items to kids’ menus in El Paso, Texas.

One Smart 5th-Grader. San Antonio student Praxina Guerra saw her peers eating too much junk food, so she helped bring a hydration station to school.

The #SaludHeroes with the most votes will be announced in an email and a social media messages from Salud America! by Oct. 14, 2015.

Go here to vote, enter the random drawing, and see contest rules.

Salud America! is a Latino childhood obesity network funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Salud America! runs a periodic voting contest.

Genetic Counseling: A Rarity Among U.S.Women Tested for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2

According to a new study most women in  the U.S. sent by their doctors to be tested for BRCA1 and BRCA 2, two genes “that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer” a leading cause of cancer death in Hispanic women, never met with a counselor beforehand, Reuters reports.

“There are very clear and consistent guidelines that people should receive genetic counseling before genetic testing for cancer susceptibility,” said Dr. Rebecca Sutphen, the study’s senior author from the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa.

Part of the problem, according to researchers is that many doctors are not recommending patients to see a genetic counselor and today there are cheaper and more accessible genetic test options.

“Genetic counselors typically explain the test’s appropriateness, medical implications, psychological risks and the possibility the results won’t be informative. They may also discuss the risk of passing on the gene mutation to children.”

To learn more about breast cancer join our #SaludTues tweetchat next Tuesday, Oct 06 at 1 p.m. ET.

Latinas Prefer Birth Control Pills

Latina women prefer the birth control pill, Univision News reports.

In an interview with Univision Dr. Carlos Alberto Petta confirmed that Latina women prefer birth control pills with natural hormones than any other product in the market.

“Women are looking for natural alternatives, there are already pills with natural hormones. The pill has two hormones, estrogen and progestin. Estrogen is the same hormone produced naturally in a woman’s body,” Petta said.

Although birth control pills have reduced the amount of hormones in them, Petta warns that not all women can take the pill. “Some women can’t take hormones, that’s why is important for them to consult with their doctor before making the decision to take birth control pills.”


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