Posts tagged amelie ramirez
Improving Latinos’ health is certainly rewarding enough.
But we’re especially honored today that SaludToday, the Latino health website, blog and social media campaign directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, was recognized by the 14th annual Web Health Awards, which laud honors the nation’s best digital health resources.
SaludToday earned a “silver” award for its blog and a “merit” award for its Twitter feed.
The IHPR also earned a “merit” award for its quarterly E-newsletter, IHPR Noticias, which trumpets the latest advancements in Latino health disparities news and research.
For the Web Health Awards competition, which is held twice yearly, a panel of 32 experts in digital health media served as judges and selected gold, silver, bronze, and merit winners from nearly 600 entries.
“We’re humbled by the recognition of our efforts to heighten the awareness of Latino health issues and promote research and methods to prevent and/or eliminate those issues,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, who directs the IHPR and its SaludToday campaign. “We’re going to keep pushing the envelope to better all facets of Latino health.”
See the complete list of winners here.
Liver cancer rates among South Texas Latinos are higher than in other U.S. Latinos, as are their rates of obesity and diabetes—and the relationships between these ailments are being mapped by researchers at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
In a study published April 18, 2012, in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers looked at overall liver cancer rates among U.S. Latinos and compared this to a Texas sample and a South Texas subset from 1995-2006.
They also compared prevalence among Latinos of lifestyle-associated factors that contribute to liver cancer: heavy alcohol use, smoking, obesity and diabetes.
They found that from 1995 to 2006, annual age-adjusted liver cancer incidence increased among all populations – but was highest in South Texas Latinos over the entire period. The increase among South Texas Latinos was also significantly greater than all Texas Latinos, who in turn had significantly higher levels of liver cancer than the U.S. national sample.
While obesity and diabetes increased among all three groups, obesity rates were higher in Texas Latinos and highest in South Texas Latinos. Neither heavy alcohol consumption nor cigarette smoking increased.
“Regarding risk factors, we found remarkably similar and significantly increasing rates of obesity and diabetes in our study groups, with higher obesity prevalence in Texas and particularly South Texas Latinos,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, the study’s lead author and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the Health Science Center.
The study warrants further exploration if there is a relationship between diabetes, obesity and liver cancer so that researchers can look at the problem from the standpoint of prevention, said Ramirez, who also is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the Health Science Center’s School of Medicine and associate director of health disparities at the Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center.
“Both obesity and diabetes are preventable and/or treatable,” she said, “so reducing obesity and diabetes may be an important for lowering Latinos’ risk for liver cancer, too.”
Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday, has been named to a prestigious panel of external advisors for the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).
NCCOR brings together four of the nation’s leading research funders—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—to accelerate progress to reduce the problem of childhood obesity in America.
The organization seeks to maximize research outcomes, build capacity for research, support mechanisms to research translation and dissemination, and more.
The new NCCOR External Scientific Panel (NESP) will advise NCCOR on its overall direction and provide guidance and assistance on specific projects and initiatives, including:
- inform on new science and ideas;
- inform on connections to extramural research, practice, and policy; and
- contribute to ongoing refinement of NCCOR’s strategic plan.
“I am excited to help increase NCCOR’s usefulness and benefits to the public and academics,” Dr. Ramirez said. “I hope to bring attention to the obesity epidemic among Latino children, who are part of the largest, fastest-growing racial/ethnic minority groups and struggle with disproportionately high obesity rates and related health problems.”
Dr. Ramirez, who also is associate director of health disparities at the Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center, directs Salud America!, an RWJF-funded national research network targeting Latino childhood obesity.
In the past 30 years, Dr. Ramirez also has directed dozens of other research programs focused on human and organizational communication to reduce Latino cancer and chronic diseases via risk factor studies, clinical trials and healthy lifestyle changes. Her projects have led to unique health communication models and interventions that have contributed to reducing Latino cancer rates and increasing screening and preventive health behaviors.
SaludToday Guest Blogger: Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez
Obesity causes more than 15 percent of this country’s preventable deaths—more than alcohol, toxins, care accidents, gun-related deaths, drug abuse and STDs combined—and it causes a huge financial strain on the health care system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity affects approximately 34 percent of adults and 17 percent of children in the U.S. The agency recently estimated the costs of obesity at almost $150 billion per year.
The obesity statistics for young Latinos are particularly frightening. Mexican-American children ages 2 to 19 are more likely to be obese or overweight (40.8 percent) than white (31.9 percent) and African-American (30 percent) children. Among preschoolers, nearly one out of every four Latinos is overweight. Studies show that Latino children’s diets are less healthy, their access to healthy foods is more limited, they are less active in organized sports and they watch more TV.
But I don’t even need these statistics. All I have to do is visit my grandchild’s school, see Latino families shopping in stores or look outside at empty playgrounds. You and I can “see” the childhood obesity epidemic in predominantly Latino regions.
Across the nation, half of Latinos born today will develop diabetes. This disturbing statistic sometimes causes me to wonder if this will be the first generation where parents outlive their children. We can’t afford to let that happen.
That’s why efforts to reduce and prevent childhood obesity are so critically important, and that’s why Salud America!, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity among Latino Children, created a national network of more than 1,800 researchers, community leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders. The network works to increase the number of researchers and advocates seeking environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity.
In December 2011, Salud America! unveiled three major research briefs examining current evidence on Latino childhood obesity issues: the availability of healthy, affordable foods, opportunities for physical activity and the impact of food marketing on diets. These briefs can help policymakers make critical decisions in crafting policies and allocating resources to address the epidemic, and they are designed to have widespread applicability to Latino childhood obesity advocacy organizations.
Also in December, 20 Salud America! pilot research grantees unveiled individual research briefs full of outcomes and implications for policy on Latino childhood obesity. One grantee found that, in examining body image perceptions among Latinos along the Texas-Mexico border, 32 percent of children believed they were overweight, but only 15 percent of parents reported seeing their children as overweight. Another grantee project demonstrated that small, independently owned restaurants in low-income Latino communities can help improve local nutrition environments by using menu labeling. Another project found that school district compliance with physical education policies may be an important determinant of Latino children’s fitness status. These grantees are models of “what’s working” to prevent obesity.
I urge you to join Salud America!. I also urge you to watch the below dramatic Latino childhood obesity video and use it as a “discussion starter” at school board meetings or community meetings about childhood obesity. You can also contact your local, state and federal leaders to encourage actions to reduce Latino childhood obesity and support healthier communities.
New research on this critical health issue will be presented during an expert panel, Mechanisms and Prevention of Obesity and Obesity-Related Diseases, at the annual conference of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas on Jan. 13, 2012, in Houston. This panel is part of a conference session entitled The Obesity Epidemic that will include a keynote presentation by Dr. William H. Dietz, Director, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the end, it is important to remember just how complicated the issue of childhood obesity is for Latinos and to know that efforts to solve this issue must attack the epidemic on every front; from nutrition to physical activity to media and marketing.
We each need to do our part to ensure that we’re not the first generation of parents to outlive our children.
Salud America!, a national obesity prevention program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) based at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, has released a comprehensive collection of research briefs examining the obesity epidemic among Latino children and teens.
These briefs also provide policy recommendations, including:
- Efforts to bring healthy foods into neighborhoods and schools should particularly focus on Latino communities, since they are disproportionately affected.
- Policies that can help people be physically active in their neighborhoods should emphasize Latino populations because they are more likely to live in areas that do not support such activity.
- Efforts to reduce exposure to unhealthy food and beverage marketing should consider that Latino youth are particularly targeted by advertisers.
- Health programs and messages should be culturally sensitive, relevant for all populations and produced in both English and Spanish.
In addition to these three briefs, 20 pilot grantees funded by RWJF through Salud America! have produced briefs highlighting their own, new research.
These briefs analyze a wide range of issues, from the impact of menu labeling in small restaurants in south Los Angeles, to how after-school programs can help Latino youth be active, to how community gardens can help lower-income Latino families eat more fruits and vegetables.
“These briefs provide a snapshot of the state of the Latino childhood obesity epidemic and describe how leaders and policymakers can more effectively address it,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America!, a national network of researchers, community leaders and policymakers who are working together to increase the number of Latino scientists seeking environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity.
Latinos are currently the most populous and fastest growing U.S. ethnic minority.
And according to recent estimates, nearly 40% of Latino children and teens are overweight and more than 20% are obese.
Increasing rates of obesity and diabetes may be contributing to a steep rise in liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), among Latinos in the U.S., particularly in Texas.
Overall U.S. HCC rates grew from 1.7 cases to 5 cases per 100,000 from 1980 to 2005, and reached 7.5 cases per 100,000 among Latinos, according to data presented at a recent American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference by Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Dr. Ramirez and her colleagues also found that Latinos accounted for about 33% of HCC cases in Texas and 75% of cases in South Texas, while also documenting corresponding increases in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among Texas and South Texas Latinos, according to The Oncology Report.
Read more about the study here.
Find the latest in Latino health—from fighting Latina breast cancer to helping Latinos pursue doctoral degrees—in the new E-newsletter from the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
The E-newsletter has these stories:
- Story and Video: Giving Latinas a Chance vs. Breast Cancer (Pg 1)
- Story: How a Typewriter Helped a Latina Launch a Career in Health Promotion (Pg 2)
- Story and Video: Depression after Cancer Keeps Latinas from Follow-Up Care (Pg 3)
- Story: Apply by 3/1/12 for Éxito Program to Get Help Pursuing a Doctoral Degree (Pg 5)
- Story: San Antonio Schools Get Salad Bars (Pg 6)
- Story and Video: Latino Man Works to Interrupt Street Violence (Pg 8 )
The E-newsletter is jam-packed with even more info on the latest local and national health disparities-related news, resources and events.
Visit the IHPR here.
Redes En Acción:The National Latino Cancer Research Network has created a Spanish version of its new manual, A Patient Navigation Manual for Latino Audiences: The Redes En Acción Experience, to guide health organizations in developing patient navigation services for Latinos.
The manual first defines patient navigation. Patient navigators are trained health workers who aim to help “navigate” underserved Latinos through the often-complex healthcare system and remove barriers to timely, quality care.
It then offers a six-step guide to determine whether navigation is right for a health organization, and highlights important considerations for implementing navigation.
The manual also features many robust tools, customizable templates, and other resources for starting up navigation.
“We are excited to offer, for free, this guide in both English and Spanish to help healthcare providers and groups integrate patient navigation into their scope of services,” said Redes En Acción Director Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez. “We have found that patient navigation is a valuable strategy to reduce barriers faced by the Latino population, and in turn increase timely delivery of healthcare services.”
Redes En Acción, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is headquartered at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Spanish translation was generously provided by the NCI’s Office of Latin American Cancer Program Development.
Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday, was recently named a “Champion of Change” by the White House for her contributions to ending suffering from breast cancer.
Now Dr. Ramirez has written a blog post for the White House.
The inspirational post, “Giving Latinas a Chance Against Breast Cancer,” highlights Latinas’ cancer issues and discusses ways to overcome barriers:
Prevention is the key, and timely screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care are critical if Latinas are to survive cancer and sustain a good quality of life.
That’s why my Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in partnership with the Cancer Therapy and Research Center and agencies like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is doing research that engages the community to help them make better health choices and break down cancer barriers.
Read the full post here.
Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday, is among a handful of people named “Champions of Change” by the White House for their contributions to ending suffering from breast cancer, the leading cancer diagnosed in women today.
Each week the White House highlights “Champions” who are making an impact in their communities and helping to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
“I am honored to be named a ‘Champion of Change.’ I hope it puts a spotlight on breast cancer, the No. 1 cancer killer of Latinas,” Dr. Ramirez said. “We must conduct research to discover new and efficient methods to help Latinas overcome critical barriers to breast cancer screening and assure that Latinas across the nation and international can receive timely, high quality and comprehensive cancer treatment, and go on to live long and fruitful lives.”
Dr. Ramirez, who also is associate director of health disparities at the Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy & Research Center and a board member for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, has directed many research programs focused on human and organizational communication to reduce Latino cancer health disparities in cancer risk factors, clinical trial recruitment and healthy lifestyles. Her projects have led to unique health communication models and interventions that have contributed to the reduction of Latino breast cancer rates and the increase of screening among Latinos, including testing the effectiveness of patient navigation in decreasing Latinas’ lag time between an abnormal mammogram and confirmatory diagnosis and treatment initiation.
Ramirez was nominated as a Champion of Change by Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
She and four others nominated by Komen were announced Sept. 27 and represent the full range of Komen’s work to end breast cancer, from public policy advocates to researchers and clinicians who advise Komen on the direction of research to bring treatments and answers to patients in the shortest period of time.
Other Komen-nominated champions were Elyse Gellerman of Denver, Dr. Anne Marie Murphy of Chicago, Dr. Ann Partridge of New Bedford, Mass., and Robin Prothro of Baltimore.
“These women are on the front lines of breast cancer every day as leaders of research, clinical practice and advocacy for women facing this disease,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, in a statement. “We are delighted that they are being recognized for their passion, talent, and significant work for women and men facing breast cancer.”