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 Growing Gardens For Eastside Wellness

San Antonio, Texas

Stephen Lucke, a student at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio (63% Latino), took a nutrition class early on in college and learned that limited healthy food access can increase the risk of diabetes and obesity among low-income minorities. After helping develop gardens at UIW to grow fresh produce, Lucke went … Read more

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Salud Hero Mom Group Gives Free Swag Bags to Help New Moms Who are Nursing Infants

Latino Health breastfeeding

Mesa, Arizona

After Nikki Van Strien delivered her first son in Mesa, Ariz. (30.5% Latino), she realized the discharge package given to all new moms by the hospital could undermine a woman’s breastfeeding goals by pushing formula. She wanted to do something to support breastfeeding moms immediately after delivery. In 2011, Van Strien and some other moms … Read more

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Salud Hero Bilingual Campaign Bubbles Up Healthier Drinking Habits

St. Paul, Minnesota

In the midst of a growing Latino population in Minneapolis, (10.5% Latino), Shannon Gavin and Alma Galvez saw heavy sugary drink consumption and obesity-related heath issues among children through their work with and in St. Mary’s Health Clinics. In 2013, they partnered with the Minneapolis Health Department to help create and spread a bilingual, culturally … Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, 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

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

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

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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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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