Laura Rubalcava knows the pain that weight prejudice can cause.
She witnessed several family members struggle with obesity and get teased or treated rudely at school, work, stores—even doctor’s offices.
She wanted to help them and people like them feel better.
So Rubalcava earned a master’s degree in community counseling and provided families with nutrition and wellness counseling at a San Antonio, Texas, weight-loss center. She also spent time as a health educator and research associate at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she was part of an obesity management intervention for which she counseled families and more.
She joined Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training—which aims to increase diversity in Latino health disparities and cancer research by encouraging Latino master’s-level students and master’s trained health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a career in research—to learn more about the importance of Latino health disparities in cancer control research and different strategies to reduce those disparities.
Rubalcava also is the firstÉxito! alum to be accepted in a doctoral degree.
Rubalcava is entering her first year as a clinical psychology doctoral student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She intends to target bariatric Latinos in her future research.
“Hearing the real-life stories from leaders in Latino public health [at the Éxito! Summer Institute in June 2011] and having learned about the obstacles and achievements of the Éxito!speakers, I feel more confident and prepared in beginning and working to complete my doctorate degree,” Rubalcava said.