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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC Student to Accept Outstanding Student Paper Award from APHA Latino Caucus

Ms. Cristina Leos, health behavior doctoral student in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will receive an Outstanding Student Paper Award from the Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The award will be presented October 30 during the APHA annual meeting in Denver.

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[Photo: Ms. Cristina Leos]

Ms. Leos also is a Gillings Merit Scholar, a Gates Millennium Scholar and co-founder of MyHealthEd Inc., a newly formed nonprofit dedicated to improving health education for youth through the use of technology.

The award, which comes with a $250 scholarship, celebrates a paper by Ms. Leos titled, “Stories of Race and Resistance: A Critical Race Theory Perspective on the Educational Experiences of Latino Immigrant Young Men in North Carolina.”

Ms. Leos wrote the paper for a UNC Gillings School class on advanced qualitative research methods, taught by Dr. Clare Barrington, associate professor of health behavior.

“Cristina conducted a rigorous inductive analysis of text and visual images from the Envisioning Health study, which she interpreted using critical race theory as well as her own reflexivity,” said Dr. Barrington. “Her final product is a nuanced understanding of the racialized educational experience of these youth and the implications for their health and well-being.”

The Envisioning Health intervention, which provided data for Ms. Leos’ analysis, is led by Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot, research assistant professor of health behavior at the Gillings School. The project uses Photovoice methodology with Latino and Latina adolescents to understand their perspectives on barriers to health.

“I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to work on this project,” Ms. Leos said. “It was a great chance to apply my skills from the qualitative analysis class, but also was meaningful because I got a glimpse into the complex lives of these young men. I am honored to be selected for this award and am eager to share this important work with others.”