Report: Poverty, Income Inequality Remain High in Texas

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StateofStatesTexas is “worse” than most states in poverty, health insurance coverage, and income equality, according to a new report.

The report, from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, tracked 15 poverty indicators, for which Texas ranked in the bottom half of the country for 11 indicators.

For example, 17.5% of Texans had incomes below the poverty line ($23,834 annually for a family of four) in 2013, ranking the state 38th in the nation.

Texas also ranked:

  • 50th in the nation for health care coverage among low-income people.
  • 49th in the nation for hunger and food insecurity (meaning that they experienced difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of money or resources during some point of the year).
  • 42nd in the nation for higher education attainment rate.
  • 43rd in the nation for unemployment insurance coverage.
  • 38th in the nation for child poverty rate.

The report recommends several policies to reduce the poverty rate in Texas, which is 38% Latino, including raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“Even though our economy is growing again, far too many families are not seeing any benefits,” said Melissa Boteach of the Center for American Progress Action Fund in a statement. “Through common-sense policies such as raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid, Texas lawmakers have the power to reduce poverty and provide economic security and opportunity to more Texans.”

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Are More Latinos Earning Degrees in Science & Technology?

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(Source: AIP)

The number of Latino students receiving bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences and engineering is on the rise, according to a report from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center.

In 2012, for the first time ever, the number of Latinos earning physical science and engineering degrees surpassed 10,000/year.

Between 2002 to 2012, the number of Latinos earning bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences and engineering rose by 78% and 64% respectively.

“While those numbers are encouraging, Hispanics are still underrepresented in many fields, including astronomy and earth sciences,” said Laura Merner, the research associate who authored the report. “More Hispanic students earning physical science degrees is a good thing, but it does not mean the representation gap has closed.”

For this analysis, Merner and her colleagues used data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Other highlights from the AIP report include:

  • An 85% increase in the number of Latinos earning any type of undergraduate degree;
  • A total of 87,906 new bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences and engineering earned by Latinos;
  • An increase in the number of degrees earned by Latinos in all nine fields of engineering examined in the report;
  • A two-fold increase the number of Latinos who earned bachelor’s degrees in physics over the last 10 years;
  • Latino representation in the fields of engineering technology, civil, electrical and industrial engineering, is approximately the same as it is for the whole population.

Access the full report here.

#SaludTues Tweetchat 12/16/14, 1pmET: “Latinos and Heart Health”

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SaludTues Heart 12-16 option 2-CDNearly 30% of Latino men and women die each year due to cardiovascular complications.

What can be done to prevent this?

Join the #SaludTues Tweetchat, “Latinos and Heart Health” Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at noon central (1 p.m. eastern) to learn important facts about heart health.

Share your resources, stories, and tips for preventing heart disease in the Latino community. The chat is co-hosted by Salud Today, WomenHeart, The American Heart Association’s  Vida Saludable, AHA South Florida, and Dr. Jose Taveras, a content expert with the Montefiore Health System and affiliate of the New York City’s American Heart Association Branch.

Follow the Tweetchat on Twitter (via @WomenHeartOrg@AHASouthFlorida@AHA_Vida, @MontefioreNYC, @foundersheart & @SaludToday) to get resources and examples of ways to improve cardiovascular health.

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

  • How Latinos can improve their heart health?
  • What factors and challenges contribute to heart disease in Latino communities?
  • How Latinos can work collectively to improve heart health in their community?
  • What stories, resources, and tips are available for improving heart health among Latinos?

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter, share your stories and share resources that can help improve heart health in Latino communities.

#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. The IHPR is the team behind Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Jacquelyn Toledo: An Èxito! Grad Helps Her Family, Others Have Healthier Futures

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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.

Jacquelyn ToledoJacquelyn Toledo
Worcester, Mass.

Born in Worcester, Mass., to parents from Puerto Rico, Jacquelyn Toledo and her family have experienced their share of struggles and adversity over the years.

Toledo first had to learn English.

Then Toledo helped her parents and family navigate the health system, which made her resilient and gave her animo (hope) for better future.

Now Toledo, who has a bachelor’s degree in human service and a master’s degree in human service/organizational management and leadership from Springfield College, has spent more than 15 years doing this on a broader scale as a community health worker.

She has worked in many contexts, including patient navigation at a home care agency and her current role as coordinator for the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers.

With aims of implementing policy change for disenfranchised populations she serves, Toledo applied for the 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 called the program “phenomenal” as she explored how a doctoral degree could be instrumental in attaining her educational and careers goals.

“I want to replicate Éxito! and adapt it in my region,” she said. “It has cleared a lot of ambivalence I had about pursuing a doctoral degree. I had really believed obtaining a PhD/DrPh was something untouchable for someone like me.”

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.

Do You Know What #SaludHeroes Look Like?

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Do you know what a Salud Hero looks like?

Find out by watching the new Salud America! Salud Heroes YouTube channel to see how people across the country are pushing for healthy changes—in nutrition, physical activity, and marketing—for Latino kids in their community.

You’ll start seeing #SaludHeroes all around you.

They’re teachers. Doctors. Activists.

They’re schools. Nonprofit groups. Entire cities.

They’re even your own children!

For example, watch our six new videos of #SaludHeroes who reduced sugary drinks and improved healthy marketing among Latino kids (and vote for your favorite!)

“Watch the steps these Salud Heroes take, from learning about the issue of obesity, to getting an idea, to building support, and generating long-term change,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! “You may get a good idea for a change you can make in your community—and learn steps you can mimic!”

After you watch, please visit our Salud America! Growing Healthy Change website and enter your address into our map to see current policies in your area. Then find resources that can help support changes.

And see more stories in our new E-newsletter.

Pretty soon, YOU too can be #SaludHeroes!

Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program aims to unite and increase the number of Latino stakeholders engaged in community change and research on environmental and policy solutions to the epidemic. The network is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Latinos’ Complicated Struggle against Diabetes

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via VoxxiNews

About 3.2 million U.S. Latinos have diabetes.

And Latino kids have about a 50% lifetime risk of developing diabetes.

This makes diabetes a tremendous current and future threat to Latino health—but they way Latinos see this threat varies, according to a new survey.

The survey, from the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, shows that while there is general awareness of the disease, Latinos with diabetes are more likely than non-Latinos to worry that, besides themselves, someone in their family would develop diabetes.

But the survey also yielded some complicated findings.

For example, Latinos were more likely (87%) than whites (80%) to believe that a diabetic can take actions to prevent diabetes.

But fewer than half named key disease-management practices like being physically active (30%), taking prescribed medication (37%), maintaining a healthy weight (6%), and monitoring blood sugar (3%).

Less than 75% of Latinos with diabetes could name the disease’s cause, and 38% without diabetes could not name a disease symptom.

“Though awareness that diabetes is an issue for Hispanics appears to be at good levels within the community, experts indicate too much information about diabetes is still missing,” according to a VoxxiNews report about the survey. “Patients aren’t satisfactorily able to identify diabetes symptoms and risks, and individuals aren’t aware of simple dietary and physical activity-based precautions they can take to stay healthy.”

7 Ways Latinos Can Prevent the Flu (No. 1 is Get Vaccinated!)

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Latinos are less likely to receive the flu vaccine than other ethnic groups.

That’s why, for National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec. 7-13, 2014, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) is inviting Latinos to protect against the flu with vaccination and other preventive measures.

Here are the top seven ways to prevent the flu:
Have you gotten your flu vaccine? It's not too late! It's National Influenza Vaccination Week.

1. Vaccination is the first and most important step to protect against flu. The vaccine reduces one’s risk of illness, hospitalization, or even death and can prevent the spread of the virus to loved ones. Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores and pharmacies, and health centers, as well as by many employers and schools.

2. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

3. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

4. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not a

vailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

6. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

7. Follow public health advice if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.

Go to flu.gov in English or Spanish to learn more.

Or check out this Spanish-language video based on a true story of a Hispanic couple expecting their second child—a tragic reminder of the importance of annual flu vaccination for pregnant women and their family.

Tweet with #SaludTues 12/9: Latinos and Health Coverage—Issues + Solutions

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Senior Couple Studying Financial Document At HomeLatinos need strong health care coverage, as this population struggles with high rates of obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers.

But 1 of 4 of the U.S. uninsured population is Latino.

How can this change?

Let’s use #SaludTues to Tweet strategies and resources on how to increase health care coverage among Latinos through the Affordable Care Act (#ACA) during a Tweetchat at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014:

  • WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Latinos and Health Coverage: Issues + Solutions”
  • DATE: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014
  • TIME: Noon-1 p.m. CT (1-2 p.m. ET)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
  • HOST: @SaludToday
  • CO-HOSTS: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (@HHSGov/@HHSLatino), Enroll America (@GetCoveredUS), and the Nation Council of La Raza (@NCLR)

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

  • What are Latinos’ most pressing health concerns?
  • How many Latino are (or aren’t) covered with health insurance?
  • What steps can Latinos take to get coverage?
  • See role models who have benefited from coverage?
  • What bilingual resources are available?

Use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter and share your strategies, stories, and resources that help bring health care coverage to more U.S. Latinos.

#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.

Using the New Breast Cancer Education Toolkit for Latinas

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komen toolkitSusan G. Komen for the Cure recently launched its Breast Cancer Education Toolkit for Hispanic/Latino Communities, a free, online resource that arms educators with Latino-culture specific communication resources, videos, and practical tools.

But what affect can using the toolkit have?

Yarazetd Mendoza-Camargo of the Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia wrote a blog post to share how developing and utilizing the Toolkit empowered her and her colleagues to share information with local Latinas, and build a closer community relationship.

“The tips it includes to approach our audience create an inviting atmosphere to share sensitive information,” Mendoza-Camargo wrote. “For example, two women came into the Consulate for services and while they were waiting, they listened to the breast self-awareness PowerPoint presentation.

“These two women felt confident to approach the [project] promotora. They shared their concerns privately, and were both referred to a partner organization to be screened (although, thankfully, neither woman was diagnosed with breast cancer).”

Eduardo Santiago-Rodriguez: An Èxito! Grad Gives His Time to Help Others

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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.

Eduardo Santiago-RodriguezEduardo Santiago-Rodriguez
Naranjito, Puerto Rico

Despite growing up next to in poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Naranjito, Puerto Rico, Eduardo Santiago-Rodriguez was able to see the sincerity and beauty of the environments, people and culture—and he learned and important lesson:

“Great things can be done to help others with only giving your time.”

Motivated by his childhood experiences and family support, Santiago-Rodriguez earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón Campus, and a master’s degree public health in epidemiology from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus.

He then interned for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and for an international program sponsored by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. There, he was appointed to Murcia, Spain, to study the local geographic distribution of pediatric cancer.

Santiago-Rodriguez is currently a biostatistician at the Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.

With aims of becoming a future independent researcher in the area of cancer health disparities, studying determinants of health and the integration of spatial data to the analysis, Eduardo applied for the 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.

He said the program was not only inspirational, but helpful and informational.

“Before coming [to the Éxito! Summer Institute], I made a list of questions I wanted to get answered about the application process and how to prepare for that,” Santiago-Rodriguez said. “Now I can say all of them were answered.”

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.

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