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Director of Institute for Health Promotion Research, Chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences at UT Health San Antonio
Associate Director of Cancer Outreach and Engagement at Mays Cancer Center
U.S. Latinos face a troublingly higher risk of disease—from obesity and diabetes to certain cancers—than their non-Latino peers. These health disparities exist for many reasons, including cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors. Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez is director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR), chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences, and associate director of cancer outreach and engagement at the Mays Cancer Center, all at UT Health San Antonio. The IHPR, founded in 2006, investigates causes and solutions to cancer and chronic disease disparities to improve Latino health in San Antonio, South Texas and the nation. The IHPR has a faculty and staff of researchers who specialize in population health, prevention and screening, and health promotion and communication in issues of obesity, cancer, tobacco, nutrition, physical activity, and more among Latino and underserved populations. The IHPR’s official charter is to: conduct research, interventions and outreach projects on health disparities and health equity; train scientists and mentor students; and communicate findings and tools with researchers, academics and advocates using websites, social media, news media, public service announcements, scientific articles and reports, and more. The IHPR is the headquarters for Salud America!, a national program that uses innovative, evidence-based research and communications to educate and activate an online network of more than 300,000 advocates to promote healthy change and equity for Latino and all families (www.salud-america.org; @SaludAmerica on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube). Salud America! synthesizes research findings and data into culturally and linguistically relevant dissemination of health awareness-building content, role model stories and videos to stimulate health behavior changes and lay-friendly tools and action opportunities to drive grassroots system and policy changes. In addition, the IHPR has led studies on patient navigation, cancer screening and clinical trial enrollment, and incorporating the latest mobile technologies—smartphone apps, text messaging programs, and social media innovations—to improve health behaviors among Latinos, including a bilingual messaging service to help young adults quit smoking (https://quitxt.org/). Dr. Ramirez also has personally trained and/or mentored over 300 Latino undergraduate and pre- and post-doctoral students, as well as early-career faculty members, instructing about research design, methods, data analysis, and career development. Dr. Ramirez’s recognitions include 2007 election to the National Academy of Medicine, 2011 White House “Champion of Change,” 2014 Everett M. Rogers Public Health Communication Award from APHA, and 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Ramirez is on the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council and is President of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas from January 2019 to January 2021. Dr. Ramirez, a native of Laredo, Texas, earned MPH and DrPH degrees from UT Health Science Center at the Houston School of Public Health.
Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Health Disparities
Breast Cancer, Cancer Prevention, Clinical Trials, Gynecologic Oncology
Population Science and Prevention Program
Funding Agency National Institutes of Health Title San Antonio Cancer Institute Status Active Period 9/1998 - Present Role Contributor Grant Detail To identify the cultural, economic, and structural barriers to early phase clinical trial participation faced by patients and oncologists, and to develop effective interventions to reduce these barriers, thereby increasing participation in drug development trials. Funding Agency Susan G. Komen Foundation Title Susan G. Komen Status Active Period 4/2017 - 3/2018 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail The proposed study involves a 2-group randomized control trial with 3-time assessments (baseline, 3 and 6 months) and will enroll 120 breast cancer patients who are prescribed EHT and are attending the breast clinic at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC), an National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The intervention group will receive two components: 1) a bilingual, culturally tailored, personalized, interactive mobile app; and 2) support from a patient navigator. The control group will receive the usual care and information provided by the CTRC?s breast clinic and pharmacy to patients undergoing oral EHT. The intervention components are based in Social Cognitive Theory and elements of Motivational Interviewing. Funding Agency NIH/NCI Title Redes En Accion: The National Hispanic/Latino Cancer Research Network Status Active Period 9/2010 - 8/2017 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail
Funding Agency Goldsbury Foundation Title Culinary Health Education for Families, CHEF Status Active Period 1/2018 - 1/2019 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail The Culinary Health Education for Families program (CHEF) provides a culturally relevant pathway for individuals to adopt and sustain healthy eating habits through culinary and nutritional education and demonstration for children and their families. The goals of the program are to provide, evaluate, and continuously improve educational activities for children and their families in a community setting, including after-school program activities and summer classes, and drive organizational change in community partners to develop policies and systems to initiate a culture of health and wellness. Our team of DEB and IHPR researchers provides the data-driven evaluation of the effectiveness of CHEF community program to provide unbiased and scientifically valid conclusions on measurable outcomes, including knowledge, culinary skills, eating behavior, and self-efficacy of children participating in the CHEF program. The evaluation team uses state-of-the-art tools for data collection, management, and statistical analyses with the goal to become recognized leaders in the field of improving dietary health in this population. Funding Agency Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Title Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Status Active Period 3/2018 - 8/2018 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail Salud America! (`SA!) is a Social Cognitive Theory-based program that creates and disseminates dynamic multimedia content designed to promote advocacy capacity development focusing primarily on Latinos and Latino communities. SA! will monitor online network activities with robust online and social media analytical tools and conduct periodic surveys/polls and other assessments to determine the extent to which SA! educational materials and network activities are positively influencing levels of self and collective efficacy of network members. The analysis will inform future efforts to promote the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation?s Health Kids, Healthy Weight initiative and reduce Latino childhood obesity. Anticipated duration is 6 months with a budget of $500,000.
Funding Agency CPRIT Title CPRIT Status Active Period 3/2018 - 2/2021 Role Co-Investigator Grant Detail Utilizing well-developed promotional plans and the evidence-based, culturally tailored English and Spanish mobile SMS cessation service that we have created and tested in South Texas, we will carry out an intensive social media promotional campaign to recruit 5,000 young adult cigarette smokers to a social-media enhanced version of this service over three years of work, focusing on all young adults and those who speak Spanish in rural counties and Spanish-speaking young adults in low-income zones of five major metropolitan areas?all within the six Texas Public Health Regions we have selected in South, West and Central Texas. Responses to promotion, receipt of services and cessation outcomes will be tracked for process, outcome and impact evaluation. Funding Agency CPRIT Title SMS Cessation Service for Young Adult Smokers in South Texas Status Active Period 9/2014 - 8/2017 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail This project?s innovative features include attention to a population that has not been served with efforts to promote smoking cessation. We will employ an innovative mix of traditional media (radio) and new social media (Facebook, Instagram and YouTube) for outreach young adults who smoke. We will also transform evidence-based SMS cessation assistance methods, that have previously been available only in English or with generic Spanish translation, to fit the language use and cultural milieu of young Spanish and English speakers.
Moreno, P. I.,Ramirez, A. G., San Miguel-Majors, S., Fox, R. S., Castillo, L., Gallion, K. J., Munoz, E., Estabrook, R., Perez, A., Lad, T., Hollowell, C. & Penedo, F. J. Optimizing patient-centered psychosocial oncology in diverse patients: Moving from identification to intervention; 2018 Jan. Moreno, P. I., Ramirez, A. G., San Miguel, S., Fox, R. S., Castillo, L., Gallion, K. J., Munoz, E., Estabrook, R., & Penedo, F. J. Positive Patient Experience in Cancer Care, Self-ifficacy and Health related quality of life in Latino Cancer Survivors; 2016 Nov. Chalela P, McAlister AL, Gallion KJ, Munoz E, Despres C, Akopian D, Perez A, Garcia R, Ramirez AG. Facebook Advertisement Effects on Conversions and Enrollment to a SMS/Text Cessation Service for Young Adult Latinos; 2016 Jan. (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; vol. 25). Boggess,T;Hughes,D;Cohen,L.;Darby,N.;Ramirez,A.G. Impact of Six Months of Three Modalities of Exercise on Stress in Post-Treatment Breast Cancer Survivors; 2016 Jan. Edgar Munoz, Gustavo Figueiredo Westin, Dorothy Long-Parma, Lucina Suarez, and Amelie G. Ramirez. Gastric Cancer Disparities in Latino Populations in South Texas; 2015 Oct. (American Association for Cancer Research).
Ramirez AG, Baldwin S, Adeigbe RT, Aguilar RP, Gallion K, Despres C. Salud Today: Curating Latino health information for a new generation 2016 Jan. Penedo FJ, Yanez B, Castaneda SF, Gallo L, Wortman K, Ramirez AG. Self-Reported Cancer Prevalence among Hispanics in the US: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos 2016 Jan.
Moreno P, Ramirez AG, San Miguel Majors S, Fox R, Castillo L, Gallion KJ, Munoz E, Estabrook R, Perez A, Lad T, Hollowell C, Penedo F. Unmet supportive care needs in Hispanic/Latino cancer survivors: prevalence and associations with patient-provider communication, satisfaction with cancer care, and symptom burden Support Care Center 2018 Aug;10(1007):1-12. Ramirez AG, Gallion KJ, Perez, A, Adeigbe RT, Mu?oz E, Pasick RJ. Exito!: Making an Impact in Training Latinos for Doctorates and Cancer Research Journal of Cancer Education 2018 Jul;s1318(1397):1397-1407. Moreno P, Ramirez AG, San Miguel Majors S, Fox R, Castillo L, Gallion KJ, Munoz E, Estabrook R, Perez A, Lad T, Hollowell C, Penedo F. Satisfaction with Cancer Care, Self-Efficacy and Health-Related Quality of Life in Latino Cancer Survivors Cancer 2018 Apr;124(8):1770-1779. Ramirez AG, Chalela P, Akopian D, Munoz E, Gallion KJ, Despres C, Morales J, Escobar R, McAlister AL. Text & Mobile Media Smoking Cessation Service for Young Adults in South Texas: Operation & Costs Effectiveness Estimation Health Promotion Practice 2017 Dec;. Chalela P, Mu?oz E, Gallion JK, Kaklamani V, Ramirez AG. Empowering Latina breast cancer patients to make informed decisions about clinical trials: A multicommunication approach Translational Behavorial Medicine 2017 Dec;. Paulo S. Pinheiro, Karen E. Callahan, Scarlett Lin Gomez, Rafael Marcos-Gragera, Taylor R. Cobb Aina Roca-Barcelo, Amelie G. Ramirez
. High Cancer Mortality for US-born Latinos: Evidence from California and Texas BMC Cancer 2017 Jul;17(478). Ramirez AG, Munoz E, Parma DL, Michalek JE, Holden AE, Phillips TD, Pollock BH. Lifestyle and clinical correlates of hepatocellular carcinoma in South Texas: a matched case-control study Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2017 Mar;3565(17). Ramirez AG, Parma DL, Mu?oz E, Mendoza KD, Harb C, Holden AEC, Wargovich M. An anti-inflammatory dietary intervention to reduce breast cancer recurrence risk: Study design and baseline data Contemporary Clinical Trials 2017 Mar;57(1-7):1-7. Ramirez AG, Thompson IM. How will the `cancer moonshot? impact health disparities Cancer Causes & Control 2017 Jan;. Wang C-P, Lehman DM, Lam YWF, Kuhn J, Mahalingam D, Weitman S, Lorenzo C, Downs JR, Stuart E, Hernandez J, Thompson IM, Ramirez AG. Metformin for Reducing Racial/Ethnic Difference in Prostate Cancer Incidence for Men with Type 2 Diabetes Cancer Prevention Research 2016 Mar;. Long Parma DA, Hughes DC, Ghosh S, Li R, Trevino-Whitaker, RA., Ogden, SM., Cuevas, BT., Ramirez AG. Effects of six months of Yoga on inflammatory serum markers prognostic of recurrence risk in breast cancer survivors SpringerPlus 2015 Apr;4. Chalela P, Munoz E, Gallion K, Ramirez AG. Sun protective behaviors among Latinas living in the US-Mexico border Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2015 Jan;49. Ramirez AG, Gallion KJ, Despres C, Aguilar RP, Adeigbe RT, Seidel SE, McAlister AL. Advocacy, Efficacy, and Engagement in an Online Network for Latino Childhood Obesity Prevention Health Promotion Practice 2015 Jan;. Ramirez AG. Using Patient Navigation to Solve Latino Cancer Health Disparities J Women`s Health Care 2015 Jan;4. Ramirez AG, Chalela P, Gallion K, Burhansstipanov L, Smith SS, Wong-Kim E, Wyatt SW, Munoz E, Holden A, Suarez L. Attitudes Toward Breast Cancer Genetic Testing in Five Special Population Groups Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice 2015 Jan;8(4):124-135. Parra-Medina D, Morales-Campos D, Mojica CM, Ramirez A. Promotora outreach, education and navigation support for HPV vaccination to Hispanic women with unvaccinated daughters Journal of Cancer Education 2014 Jun;. Ghosh S, Hughes DC, Long Parma DA, Ramirez AG, Li R. Association of Obesity and Circulating Adipose Stromal Cells Among Breast Cancer Survivors Molecular Biology Reports 2014 May;41(5):2907-16. Cuevas, BT; Hughes, DC; Long Parma, D; Trevi?o RA; Ghosh, S; Li, R; Ramirez, AG. Motivation, Exercise and Stress in Breast Cancer Survivors Journal of Supportive Care in Cancer 2014 Jan;22(4):911-917.
Korczak JF, Chung DW, Rosemond E, Von Hoff DD, Haspel RL, Waterbor JW, Chang S, Ramirez AG, Perkins S, Wiest J, Lei M. The National Cancer Institute R25 Cancer Education Grants Program: A Workshop Report Journal of Cancer Education 2017 Mar;1:3-10. Yanez B, McGinty HL, Buitrago D, Ramirez AG, Penedo FJ. Cancer Outcomes in Hispanics/Latinos in the United States: An Integrative Review and Conceptual Model of Determinants of Health Journal of Latina/o Psychology 2016 May;4(2):114-129.