Who Is the Latina Behind SaludToday?


Amelie RamirezDr. Amelie Ramirez created the SaludToday blog and social media campaign to raise awareness of Latino health issues and drive solutions.

But just who is Ramirez?

Check out this new profile of Ramirez that describes how she emerged from humble beginnings in Laredo, Texas, developed a desire to help her population get healthier, and has spent 30 years dedicating her life to using research, interventions, innovative educational communications, and community outreach to promote healthful behaviors among Latinos.

“My passion is based on the knowledge that our Hispanic population has not received enough information on how to reduce and prevent health problems,” Ramirez said. “They develop more of the chronic diseases. And, as time passes, their rates of getting these diseases have continued to rise.”

The profile of Ramirez, called “Waging war on health disparities, is part of the Our Stories collection at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, where Dr. Ramirez directs the Institute for Health Promotion Research.


Getting More Latinos Covered with Health Insurance


SaludToday Guest Blogger: Annette Raveneau
National Latino Press Secretary, Enroll America

EnrollAmerica_ bandaid_Spanish_FB_R2_3Obamacare’s open enrollment ends Feb. 15.

But what does that mean exactly? I did not know what any lingo related to the health insurance industry meant even when I had health insurance through my previous jobs.

Well, open enrollment is the window of opportunity you have to choose a health plan or switch from the one you have to another one. With the Health Insurance Marketplace – which is the market that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) established so everybody that is uninsured or underinsured can shop for quality, affordable health insurance – the open enrollment period for this year is from Nov. 15, 2014 until Feb. 15, 2015. So, this window is closing in less than a month.

Thanks to Obamacare, Latinos have made important gains in coverage over the last year – but there are still millions more of us who can benefit from the new options available to us.

Over the next few weeks, organizations like the one I work for, Get Covered America, will ramp up efforts in Latino communities to make sure Latinos have the tools they need to get covered by Feb. 15.

There is no feeling like knowing that you have health insurance that you can use for any health emergencies, when you need to go to the doctor for your annual checkups, blood work, etc.

Hey, I know! I was without insurance for a few years and when I got sick and weeks later I was not getting any better with the over-the-counter medications, I realized it was time to go to the doctor. Just the thought overwhelms you with fear. Knowing that going to the doctor is expensive, regardless of how expensive is “expensive” because you are just working with limited funds. My reality and thoughts simply paralyzed me with fear.

That’s why it’s personally important to me that as many Latinos as possible get covered.

With less than a month until the Feb. 15 deadline to sign up for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Get Covered America is teaming up with local and national enrollment partners to engage Latino communities across the country.

In fact, to encourage people to start exploring their health insurance options, we have over 600 enrollment events with free English and Spanish-language assistance in Latino communities during the final 30 days of open enrollment. These events will help Latinos and their families have the resources they need to enroll in quality, affordable health insurance.

In fact, you can use our Connector to search for a location that is close to you and even book an appointment with an expert that can answer your questions and enroll you at no charge to you.

Read the full guest blog post here!

Study: Latina, Black Breast Cancer Patients Have Poor Knowledge about Their Condition


screeningU.S. women with breast cancer do not know much about their condition, and minority women are much less likely to report accurate knowledge about their tumors, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer, Medical News Today reports.

Researchers asked 500 women about their breast cancer grade, stage, and subtype.

“The results showed that while 32-82% said they knew each of the tumor characteristics they were asked about, only 20-58% could actually specify them correctly,” according to the news article.

Latina and black women had less knowledge about their tumors.

Less knowledge was also associated with having less formal education and lower health literacy.

A woman’s cancer knowledge is important, researchers say, because patients who fully understand their cancer may be more likely to adhere to their treatment regimens.

The researcher who led this study, Dr. Rachel Freedman of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, aims to now study the effect on patient knowledge of doctors and health care providers’ different styles in communicating the facts. She’s considered possible interventions, such as patient videos, smart phone apps, and checklists.

“Clearly there’s a lot to be done,” Freedman said.

#SaludTues Tweetchat 1/27/15: How to Spark A Culture of Fitness & Fun in Latino Communities


boybike smallerFrom brain breaks to 5Ks and bike trains—parents and leaders all across the country are discovering creative ways to help Latino kids find fun ways to stay fit.

But there’s still more to do, and you can help share what’s working!

Join us for a #SaludTues Tweetchat, “How to Spark A Culture of Fitness & Fun in Latino Communities,” on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 at noon central (1 p.m. eastern) to discuss, innovative, practical solutions for inspiring healthy change.

We’ll also showcase six new Salud Hero videos to show you ways you can be a part of the creating a lasting culture of fitness and fun in your community.

VOTE for your favorite #SaludHeroes by 1/27/15, and we’ll enter you into a random drawing for a free T-shirt and jump rope!

On Tuesday, use #SaludTues to share your resources, stories, and tips for empowering the Latino community to create a culture of fitness and fun, and join host Salud Today, and co-hosts Active Living Research and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership:

• WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “How to Spark A Culture of Fitness & Fun in Latino Communities,”
• DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015
• TIME: Noon CST (1:00 PM ET)
• WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
• HOST: @SaludToday
• CO-HOSTS: @AL_Research & @SafeRoutesNow

We’ll open the floor to your stories and experiences as we explore:

• How we can help Latino children find more opportunities for fitness.
• What challenges Latinos face in getting enough physical activity.
• How we can work collectively to create a culture of fitness and fun among Latinos.
• What stories, resources, and tips are available for creating and maintaining a culture of fitness and fun among Latinos.

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter.

#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 UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

7 Vital Eye Health Tips for Latinos, Who Struggle with Glaucoma


GlaucomaHispanicsInfographicEnglishWhat’s one of the world’s leading cause of blindness?

Glaucoma—and it’s far more prevalent in Latinos and blacks.

Glaucoma, a gradual eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, has few symptoms. Peripheral or side vision begins to worsen without patients realizing it, which enables the disease to progress into later stages, according to the Mount Sinai Health System.

How can you prevent it (and keep your eyes healthy)?

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI):

  • Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect diseases like glaucoma in their early stages.
  • Know your family’s eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary.
  • Eat right to protect your sight. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Also, sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • Quit smoking or never start. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
  • Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.

Medicare covers an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam for some people at high risk for glaucoma, like older Latinos.

“While anyone can get glaucoma, NEI encourages people at higher risk, including African Americans over the age of 40; everyone over the age of 60, especially Mexican Americans; and people with a family history of the disease, to have a dilated eye exam every one to two years,” said NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving.

Find more about glaucoma in English or Spanish from the National Eye Institute (NEI)

Check out the NEI’s new Latino glaucoma infographic in English or Spanish.

Sanchez: Latinas, Take Care of Your Heart Health


latinas coffeeLatinas are “the heart, el corazón, of the home, acting as gatekeepers for their loved ones’ well-being.

“But it is their own hearts that are in danger.”

So says Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association, in a great new Huffington Post op-ed.

Sanchez cites statistics that show Latinas are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than white women.

And it’s the No. 1 killer of Latinas.

Yet, he says, “80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes, lifestyle changes as simple as: cooking traditional foods with healthier ingredients; exercising as a family; asking for blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol checks; and even going grocery shopping together as a family for healthier foods.”

Sanchez touts the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women/Go Red Por Tu Corazón movement to empower women to take care of their hearts.

“We need all of you. Join our Go Red campaign. On Feb. 6, commit to sharing the symbol of increasing awareness about heart disease among Latinas and all women by participating in National Wear Red Day,” Sanchez said in the op-ed.

Atenia Ruiz: An Èxito! Grad Overcomes Cancer, Adversity, to Help Others


Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2014 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. Apply now for the 2015 Èxito! program.

Atenia RuizAtenia Ruiz
Las Vegas, Nev.

Seeing how her migrant farm-worker parents labored diligently to improve their family’s lives in Las Vegas, Atenia Ruiz learned the value of hard work and dealing with adversity.

She even overcame a bout with cancer, just like her own mother.

Now Ruiz, a first-generation Mexican-American who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, is pursuing a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in epidemiology and biostatistics.

Her and her family’s cancer journeys gave her a desire to prevent the disease.

Seeking to gain knowledge about cancer control research, her mentor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas encouraged her to apply to Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program, which offers a five-day summer institute and internships to encourage master’s-level students and health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a cancer research career.

She said Éxito! gave her valuable information about cancer and doctoral programs.

“This program has definitely strengthened my reason to apply to a PhD program,” she said.

Éxito!, a program funded by the National Cancer Institute and directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, will select 20 master’s-level students and health professionals from across the nation to attend a five-day summer institute in June 2015, in San Antonio, offering research information, tools, tips, role models and motivation to encourage participants to pursue a doctoral degree and a career studying how cancer affects Latinos differently. Participants also are eligible to apply for one of several internships. Apply here.

100 Most Popular Latino Baby Names


baby names largeMartín and Alejandro are new additions to the top-10 most popular boy names chosen by Latino parents in 2014, BabyCenter en Español reports.

The top girl and boy baby names remained Sofía and Santiago.

For boys, Martín debuted on the top-10 most popular boys’ names, and Alejandro returned to No. 4 after falling out of the top-10.

For girls, Emma climbed a few spots and Luciana dropped.

Here’s the top-10 (see the top-100 girls and boys):

Girls: Sofía, Isabella, Valentina, Emma, Camila, Valeria, Victoria, Martina, Ximena, Luciana

Boys: Santiago, Mateo, Sebastián, Alejandro, Matías, Diego, Samuel, Nicolás, Daniel, Martín

What inspired Latino parents to choose these baby names?

Most parents said, according to a survey, they “just liked the name,” its meaning, or its originality.

Parents also were inspired by religion, recent events like the World Cup in Brazil (Martín Casillas Carbonero is the name of the first child of Spanish soccer player Iker Casillas and journalist Sara Carbonero), celebrities (like Colombian actress Sofía Vergara), and several Anglo-origin names.

“Latino parents are torn between two extremes: traditional names, which are often influenced by the Bible, and names inspired by celebrities, who have become a constant presence in our hyper-connected lives, thanks to the 24-hour Internet news cycle,” said Isidra Mencos, editorial director of BabyCenter en Español. Each year we see pop culture gaining ground in baby names.”

#SaludTues Tweetchat 1/20/15: What All Latinas NEED to Know about Cervical Cancer


Grandmother with adult daughter and grandchild in parkLatinas are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as non-Latina women.

Why does cervical cancer—which is highly curable with early detection and highly preventable through vaccines—pose such a threat to Latinas?

Let’s use #SaludTues to tweet strategies and resources to increase cervical cancer knowledge, prevention, and screening among Latinas:

  • WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “What All Latinas NEED to Know about Cervical Cancer”
  • DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015
  • TIME: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
  • HOST: @SaludToday
  • CO-HOSTS: @CDC_Cancer (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), @livestrong, and @thenci (National Cancer Institute and oncologist Dr. Sarah Temkin)

We’ll open the floor to your stories and experiences as we explore:

  • What is cervical cancer?
  • Why is cervical cancer such a big issue for Latinas?
  • What roles do culture and screening habits play for Latinas?
  • How can Latinas prevent cervical cancer?
  • How can Latinas survive cervical cancer?
  • What resources, tips, and stories are available to help prevent/reduce cervical cancer?

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter.

#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 UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Webinar 1/20/15: Managing Stress among Latina Cancer Survivors


Doc and patientYou’re invited to a webinar to explore stress and quality of life among Latina breast cancer survivors.

The webinar, set for 11 a.m. CST on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, will describe the development and testing of Nuevo Amanecer, a cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) intervention developed specifically for Spanish-speaking Latinas with breast cancer to improve their quality of life.

The project translated an evidence-based CBSM program by integrating it with formative work and community best practices.

The webinar will be conducted by Redes En Acción, a national Latino cancer research network funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.

The webinar will feature Nuevo Amanecer investigator Dr. Anna Nápoles (pictured), a Redes researcher and professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Register here for the webinar.

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