Dolores Film Screening and Panel Discussion at Zoetropolis

On October 9 (The Day of Indigenous Resistance), I had the opportunity to view the documentary film Dolores, about the life of labor leader Dolores Huerta, and the privilege to join Fran Rodriguez and Carrie Carranza in a panel discussion organized by Salina Almanzar following the movie. The combination of film about a strong Latina leader and the learning about the work of powerful women in the local Latinx community made for a very inspirational evening. …read more

South American Music in Lancaster: A Review of CHALACA

As the new Coordinator for Community-Based Learning in the Spanish Department at my college, I try to take advantage of the many fantastic opportunities to engage with Hispanic and Latinx culture in Central Pennsylvania available to me. …read more

Three Not-to-Miss Experiences in Cuba for Educators

For my second trip to Cuba, I organized a People-to-People tour across the country for a select group of my friends, individuals who, like me, work primarily as educators at the secondary level or higher ed, and a few others from various helping professions. …read more

Public Health, Community Development, and Medical Spanish in Nicaragua

 Return to Playa Gigante, Nicaragua

Last August, I led an international service-learning trip as the faculty advisor for the Student Association for Medical Spanish (SAMS) at the University of Texas-Pan American, with the goal of participating in a sustainable development project in the field of health in collaboration with the nonprofit organization Project Wave of Optimism (WOO).  Our initial collaboration with Project WOO was very successful: during our week in Playa Gigante, we achieved our goal of helping the local health center personnel identify patients who suffered from …read more

Laughter, Health, and Happiness in the Rio Grande Valley

Laughing and having a positive attitude are known to have a positive effect on health–in fact, using humor to manage stress has been associated with improving the immune system and reducing pain.  This March, my colleague Dr. Loly Mendiola and I decided to organize several events in celebration of the International Day of Happiness (March 20th) on behalf of the Medical Spanish for Heritage Learners program at the University of Texas-Pan American.  We titled the project “Marzo, mes de la risa y la felicidad” and planned activities that would promote laughter and spread joy to as many people as we could reach.  …read more

Spanish, Health, and Humanitarianism, from el Valle to la Playa

Last week I had the pleasure of leading a service-learning trip to Playa Gigante, Nicaragua as the faculty advisor for Student Association for Medical Spanish (SAMS) at the University of Texas-Pan American.  Eleven undergraduate pre-med students and I spent the week living in a small rural town with local families while supporting the local healthcare providers in conducting a house-to-house hypertension evaluation and survey organized by the non-profit Project WOO.  The members of the student organization SAMS fundraised since last fall to prepare for this trip, but the beginnings of this collaboration go back almost 10 years.  …read more

Physician Narratives on Texas and U.S. Latino Migrant Health: Oil Field Medico and Harvest of Hope

Recently, I had the good fortune to attend the first Kienle Symposium in Medical Humanities at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.  Among the many fascinating seminars and activities planned was an early-morning grand rounds, “Lives and Life Stories,” with physician-writers Perri Klass and Danielle Ofri.  The insights into medical education, patient care, and the practice of medicine as narrated by these two practicing physicians are invaluable to students in the health professions.  …read more

Don Pedrito Jaramillo

Falfurrias, Texas,  a small town approximately 75 miles north of McAllen, has been synonymous with border checkpoint in my mind; it is where one has to stop on the way to San Antonio or Austin or Houston and declare one’s citizenship and destination.  Historically, much of the land in Falfurrias has been occupied by a ranch,  which has been the focus of some media attention lately.  In her recent essay “Code 500” in Oxford American magazine (Fall 2013), Stephanie Elizondo Griest documents her time spent with the sheriff’s office of Brooks County, Texas in researching missing persons, immigrants who die entering the United States. …read more