For Elidia Tafoya, calavera—the Spanish word for “skull”—has a positive connotation.
It reminds her that opportunities in life are abundant.
Tafoya is certainly taking advantage of growing opportunities to study health issues and promote healthy lifestyles among underserved populations.
After earning her master’s degree in public health from San Jose State University in 2015, Tafoya has worked as a clinical researcher at Stanford School of Medicine. She manages several dermatologic projects, ranging from investigator-initiated, to industry, and federally funded clinical trials to test new therapies for skin conditions.
Tafoya also has served as an advocate on a diabetes prevention program to reduce the risk of diabetes and minimize health disparities. Due to the success of this project, they launched a two-year adolescent obesity prevention program with dual parenting workshops to help support a healthy, active lifestyle en familias.
To further her training and education, Tafoya applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio with support from the National Cancer Institute, recruits 25 master’s-level students and professionals each year for a five-day summer institute to promote doctoral degrees and careers in Latino cancer.
“[Éxito!] has definitely made me more confident in pursuing a PhD in the future,” Tafoya said. “Prior to coming to Éxito!, I was unaware of the plethora of information offered to master’s-level graduates. Go in with an open mind. You will not be disappointed.”
Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2017 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. Apply now for 2018.