Thanks to her spiritual “Lita” who was a friend to all, Elena Martinez was taught to love all.

And Martinez has already applied her caring attitude to the benefit of many people here in San Antonio, having actively participated in programs on obesity and cancer prevention, immunization education, health literacy, and youth mental health awareness.

Martinez, a Dallas native, is currently a master’s-degree student in health and kinesiology at UT San Antonio. She earned a Certified Health Education Specialist status in 2013 and has helped plan and evaluate health initiatives and programs for all age groups in San Antonio.

She also has played an active role in Building a Healthy Temple, a chronic disease prevention program at UTSA under Dr. Meizi He, since 2015.

To further her training and education, Martinez 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.

She said the Éxito! program made a PhD “an attainable goal.”

“It can be very overwhelming to think about all the steps to get there,” Martinez said. “The presenters’ personal stories and advice for moving forward really made the biggest impact.”

Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2017 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. Apply now for 2018.


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