De León Symposium focuses on health

The 24th annual Martín De León Symposium on the Humanities will focus on Latinos and health from 9 a.m. to noon on April 24 at the University of Houston-Victoria.

“Even though the De León Symposium touches on Hispanic issues, these forums are for everyone,” said Tina Kidder, De León Club and symposium steering committee member. “This venture is a testament to what can happen when a university and the community support each other.”

The De León Symposium is a cooperative effort between UHV and the De León Club, and is designed to educate the community about Mexican-American history and culture.

“In a time when our country is trying to work through the complexities of health insurance, it seems fitting that the De León Symposium address the topic of Latinos and health,” said Dan Jaeckle, a member of the organizing committee and UHV humanities professor. “We are proud to have the speakers and panelists who have agreed to come and talk with us about this issue.”

John McKiernan-Gonzalez, an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas, Austin, will open the event with the history presentation “The Texas and Mexico Border, Local Politics, and the Making of American Public Health, 1880-1930.”

Next, attendees will attend a panel discussion with Drs. Jesse DeLeon, Jorge Armando Diaz and Oscar Zuniga. Moderating the panel will be Blanche de León, a UHV nursing graduate student and sixth generation descendant of Martín De León.

“As a De León descendant and a nursing graduate student, this is a way to bring together two things that are very important to me,” she said. “That’s personally very exciting and fulfilling.”  

Paul Lopez, an associate professor of Chicano studies and sociology at California State University, Chico, will close with his presentation “The Chicano Paradigm and Health in America.”

All lectures and panels will be in the Alcorn Auditorium of University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. UHV School of Nursing Students will be providing free blood pressure checks in Room 205. Other community organizations will be on hand to provide information about diabetes, nutrition and other health issues. The entire event is free to the public.

Named for Victoria founder Martín De León, the club is a nonprofit organization founded in 1965 that is dedicated to promoting business and encouraging civic participation to improve the quality of life in Victoria.

For more information, contact Sandra Wood, administrative assistant at the UHV School of Arts & Sciences, at 361-570-4211 or

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342