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 Minnesota Professor Educates on Language and Life


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


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


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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Salud Hero Water Promoter Inspires Neighborhood

Gabriela Medina works as a promotora, or health educator, teaching her neighbors that the water is a safe, healthy option in the Westwood area in southwest Denver. (Photo source:

Denver, Colorado

In the neighborhood of Westwood, in Denver, Colo. (79.36%), the pure, fresh mountain tap water is not only the best option for local residents but also the healthiest. But many of the area’s foreign-born population (34.96%) still distrust the safety of drinking tap water in general. However, Gaby Medina, a health educator, works to ensure … Read more

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Salud Hero University of Northern Colorado Adopts Written Policy for Breastfeeding Support for Employees and Students

Lactation Station  at the University of Northern Colorado
Source: Alena Clark, UNC

Greeley, CO

Alena Clark, a Nutrition and Dietetics professor at the University of Northern Colorado and Yvette Lucero-Nguyen, director of the Women’s Resource Center, worried that their campus wasn’t breastfeeding-friendly for employees or students. They worked with faculty, staff, and students to increase awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding. They coordinated with different departments on campus … Read more

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Salud Hero Agency’s Legal Aids Brings Hope, Relieves Stress among Florida’s Immigrant Community


Broward County, Florida

Many Latino immigrants arrive in Broward County, Fla. (27% Latino) with no community ties, no possessions, no (or little) money, and no prospects for employment. Aside from the everyday challenges of facing this scenario, they also often face legal questions or citizenship matters. That’s why Hispanic Unity of Florida was founded to offer free legal … Read more

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Salud Hero Florida’s Immigrant Community Finds a Partner for Better Health


Broward County, Florida

Health issues disproportionately plague the immigrant community in Broward County, Fla. (27% Latino), as they often lack access to healthcare due to lack of insurance, language barriers, and other obstacles. Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF) works to improve the lives of this underserved population—especially in health and wellness. They began conducting special registration events and … Read more

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Salud Hero Growing Healthier Schools

Students show the produce  harvested from their school garden. (Photo Source: Candice Orlando)

Denver, Colorado

UrbiCulture Community Farms are making school lunches look a little more like a garden with their new school garden programs. Teachers plant alongside students, helping them understand what it takes to grow food, and be more open to eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Students harvest the fresh produce from the 6,500 square-foot … Read more

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Salud Hero Teacher Helps Get Free Water Safety Education Classes for Students with Special Needs

Young children learning water safety.
Source: Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County Facebook

Broward County, Florida

Childhood drowning rates in Florida were among the highest in the country. Linda Joseph, a special needs teacher in Broward County, wanted to make sure her students could swim and weren’t afraid of the water. As someone who values whole-child health, Joseph knows that water safety boosts confidence and opens doors to many water-based physical … 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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