New Salud Heroes!

Salud Heroes are champions of healthy change.

They are people like you—children, parents, teachers, health workers—who learn of childhood obesity, get an idea to do something about it, mobilize support, and drive policy and system changes in schools and communities.

Salud America! curates the stories of Salud Heroes through a step-by-step process of change to inspire you to make a similar change in your area.

Add your own Salud Heroes stories, news updates, and resources now!

Why be a Salud Leader?

Get free stuff and join with others to reduce Latino obesity.

Map your town!

See what’s happening, meet allies, and add your own healthy changes.

Map of US showing location of changes.

Salud Hero City Park Workers Create ‘Health’ Scavenger Hunt in San Antonio

Aqua Zumba at San Pedro Pool is the Fit Pass hot spot on Wednesday evenings. Source: SA Parks Fitness Twitter page

San Antonio, TX

City parks worker Michael Baldwin saw rampant physical inactivity and disease in San Antonio, Texas (68% Latino). To help, he wanted to attract people to existing health programs and services in city parks. Baldwin and his team, through local collaborations, developed Fit Pass, a city-wide scavenger hunt for wellness and physical activities. People can download … Read more

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Salud Hero Local RDN’s Promote Nutrition Through Popular Magazine

Maria Silva speaks with Director of Family Wellness Program, Yolanda Konopken. (Photo: Salud America)

Phoenix, Arizona

Many people have a favorite magazine that they enjoy reading, whether it is the latest celebrity news, world affairs, or sports stories; but what if there was a magazine that also offered nutritional advice, supplied healthy recipes, and disseminated the latest health information all in a way you could understand? That’s exactly what registered dietitians … Read more

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Salud Hero Pura Vida – Showing Minnesota Latinos What Health Really Means

The Pura Vida Healthy Lifestyle Program offers health, nutrition, and fitness classes for free to Latinos in the Minneapolis/St. Paul suburbs of Faribault and Northfield.

Minneappolis, Minnesota

Many Latinos in Minnesota get “left out,” of the healthcare picture. That’s why HealthFinders Collaborative aims to provider healthcare and services to marginalized families in Rice county, nearly 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But HealthFinders leaders like Charlie Mandile continued to identify gaps in local healthcare. Mandile and his team came up with a solution … Read more

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Salud Hero San Antonio Provides Free Fitness Classes in Parks Across the City

Fitness in the Park Boot Camp class on Saturday morning at Phil Hardberger Park.
Source: Michael Baldwin

San Antonio, TX

Pete Garcia spent several years as a personal trainer in San Antonio, learning first-hand that many residents in at-risk parts of the city struggled with obesity and related health problems. So when Garcia became the city’s supervisor of athletics and programs, he wanted to develop and implement programs that would increase access to physical activity … Read more

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Salud Hero Foster Mom Mobilizes Effort to Save Pool in Low-Income Minneapolis Neighborhood

The Phillips Pool, seen in 2014, sat empty and unused since 2009. Source: Start Tribune

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hannah Lieder, foster mother and founder of Minneapolis Swims, has been working since 2010 to keep open the local Phillips Pool in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minn. Why? Lieder knows that children living in low-income, Latino, or minority neighborhoods have historically lacked convenient access to physical activity spaces, particularly swimming pools, compared to white … Read more

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Salud Hero Local Nurse Provides Healthy School Snack Workshops

nurse

Corpus Christi, Texas

Registered nurse Derek Dimas learned kids need to eat healthier to help decrease the high rates of obesity in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas (50.7 % Latino). By starting a program to help kids see fruits and vegetables as delicious works of art, students in schools across the city are having fun learning how … Read more

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Salud Hero Minnesota Professor Educates on Language and Life

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Severe headaches changed the life of María Emilce López and gave her a renewed purpose. While a graduate student at the University of Minnesota in the 1990s, the Argentine native’s headaches led her to be rushed into surgery to treat what turned out to be a brain aneurysm. This was her first brush with the … Read more

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Salud Hero Neighbors, Leaders Work Together to Turn Busy Street into a Pedestrian-Safe Destination in Colorado

Westwood residents work on prioritizing what they want to see in their neighborhood. (Source: David Sachs/Sreets Blog Denver)

Westwood, Colorado

Kids can’t play and people can’t walk on busy, unsafe streets. That’s why neighborhood leaders and residents like Paul D. López and Fany Mendez in the Denver, Colo., neighborhood of Westwood worked together with organizations to tackle safety concerns on Morrison Road, an arterial street that ran through their neighborhood. Their efforts led to a … Read more

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Salud Hero Advocates Help Open an Exercise and Learning Center in Denver’s Westwood Neighborhood

La Casita, located 3790 Morrison Road in the Westwood Neighborhood in Denver, Colorado.
(Source: La Casita Website)

Westwood, Colorado

Westwood Unidos and Re:Vision, two local organizations in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver, Colo. (31.2% Latino population) were already working to make the area a healthier place for families. Westwood Unidos organized local community members, like Fany Mendez, to teach fitness classes in their spare time wherever they could, such as schools, churches, and even … Read more

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Salud Hero Connecting Latino Families to Local Produce

Tori Ostenso (far left) teaches kids how to make a fruit parfait within the Farmer to Family summer program. (Photo source: Farmer to Family Blog)

Northfield, Minnesota

College friends Tori Ostenso and Emily Pence met through volunteer opportunities while in school and found out that there was a need for immigrant families to have more access to fresh produce in Rice County, Minn. (about 8% Latino population). The two students started a mobile market and eventually began a weekly program to help … Read more

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Salud Hero Future Generations Learn Healthy Eating Through Teaching Kitchens

Child eats a handmade tostada with his mother at local event to promote CHEF—a new hospital initiative that teaches families and kids how to cook together and eat nutritious foods. (Photo Source: CHEF Facebook page)

San Antonio, Texas

In the San Antonio, Texas area (69% Latino) families, health care leaders like Dr. Mark Gilger, and philanthropy groups like the Goldsbury Foundation are exploring what healthy and culturally fun Latino meals look like with the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio’s new Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) program. Aiming to be a new culinary … Read more

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Salud Hero Community Connectors Eliminate Barriers to Healthy Homes

EPN_Logo_FullColor

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio’s Eastside Promise Neighborhood (EPN) is a community of about 18,000 residents (67.5% Latino) who face many health disparities driven by socioeconomic inequities in income, education and access to health care. Noemi Villarreal and others at EPN sought ways to improve health care and health equity in the area. To do that, they looked … Read more

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Salud Hero MEDA Creates 100% Affordable Housing for San Francisco Residents

MEDA_MP_Combo_Logo_CMYK

San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s Mission District (30% Latino) is one that is steeped in history and has long been the hub for the city’s immigrant population. As the city has evolved as part of the technology boom, many Latino families have found themselves “priced out” of homes they have lived in for decades. Luis Granados, Christopher Gil, … Read more

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Salud Hero Promotoras Create Healthy Change One Resident at a Time

The Promotoras at Vida Sana work to ensure their community members have access to the best health care resources possible. Photo Credit: Vida Sana

Fort Collins, Colorado

Obesity, cancer and related health disparities were increasing in the northern Colorado city of Fort Collins (11.43% Latino). In response, a community advocacy group called Vida Sana formed to find ways to alleviate these disparities and support Latino residents. Dierdre Sullivan, a founding member of Vida Sana, soon recognized the best way to boost health … Read more

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Salud Hero Colorado School’s Apple Orchard Infuses Fresh Fruit into School Cafeterias, Farmer’s Markets

Students plant heritage apple trees as part of a new orchard project for the Cortez Elementary School.
Photo Source: Montezuma School to Farm Project.

Denver, Colorado

Montezuma County (12.2 % Latino) was once well known for its blooming apple orchards. Back in 1904, three Gold Medals were awarded to the county at the St. Louis World’s Fair. But for years, these fresh apples weren’t always available to kids at local schools. Now, with the help of farm-to-school activists like Sarah Syverson … Read more

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Public Hub Hub Tree: Salud America!

Salud America! is a national online network of researchers, community group leaders, decision-makers, and members of the public working together to support healthy policy and environmental changes that can help reverse obesity among Latino children.

The network, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a project of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Policies, comments, external links, and contributed stories and images are not affiliated with Salud America!, RWJF, or The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by these organizations.

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