community outreach/tobacco prevention specialist
Center for Reducing Health Disparities
UNMC College of Public Health
Academic Background and Work Experience
Antonia was born in Puerto Rico where she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Humanities. She pursued a Master Degree in Guidance and Counseling from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, where she later served as a Professional Counselor. She came to Omaha in 1999 and was hired immediately by the Department of Health and Human Services – Food Stamp Program to work with Hispanic families, due to her experience of 11 years in the same program in Puerto Rico. Her skillful experience with human behavior took her to Girls and Boys Town National Hotline where she served as a Bilingual Crisis Counselor from 1999 to 2002. She currently works for UNMC-College of Public Health - Center for Reducing Health Disparities - as the Tobacco Prevention Specialist. Though her title at UNMC is related with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs prevention, Antonia is engaged in many community projects, including serving as a co-host of an educational radio show in Spanish aired every other month (Saturday from 9:00 -10:00 am) at Radio Lobo, and as the co-host of an educational television show in Spanish aired every other month (Tuesday from 5:00 -5:30 pm) at COX, Channel 22, “La Voz Latina”.
The initiative of the radio and television show was aimed at meeting the needs of the Latino community by providing a forum where the Latino families become more educated and informed about current issues affecting the overall well- being of their community. The calls received during these shows illustrate the value of the talks conducted by Antonia to educating on preventive care and personal lifestyle changes necessary to improve the way we live. Antonia has committed to stress the importance of open lines of communication between the Hispanic community and the agencies/organizations serving them, to overcome the economic, social and traditional barriers that have kept many Latinos from good health care and other services necessary to attain a good quality of life.
Antonia is a member of the Douglas County Health Department- Board of Health, and a board member and Diversity Chair of the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Nebraska. She also serves in the Omaha Public Schools- Latino Academic Achievement Council as a member of the Parental Engagement Committee. Antonia participates with Teammates as a mentor, and has being mentoring a Latina youth at South Omaha Magnet School for the last three years.
Antonia provides educational workshops and presentations within the Hispanic community, including schools and faith based organizations, on ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs), self–esteem, self-realization, domestic violence, mental health issues, risky behaviors, parenting skills, STD”s, teen pregnancy and more. She facilitates a cessation class in Spanish for Latino smokers, and a NAMI Family Support Group for Hispanic families who have a family member affected by a mental illness. Antonia’s positive approach, frequent use of praise and empathy, as well as her kind pleasant demeanor, make her interventions with kids, youth and adults extremely therapeutic. She has true mission spirit and is a valuable asset for the Latino community in Nebraska.
Antonia was awarded with the “Leadership Award for Health & Human Services” during the Heartland Latino Leadership Conference in November 2007. The Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition (MOTAC) recognized Antonia with the “Most Enthusiastic Award” in 2009 and the “Above and Beyond Award” during MOTAC Recognition Luncheon in 2010.
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984340 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-4340
Phone: (402) 559-3670
Fax: (402) 502-6493