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Fronteras: Can Texas Lower Maternal Mortality Rate; Coco's Latina Composer; & New STEM Initiative

Lynda Gonzalez, KUT
Maria Vera sits next to her husband, Gabriel Vera, while holding their newborn son. At right is Melissa Benson, a registered nurse and director of women's services at The Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

This week on Fronteras:

  • Texas lawmakers are making efforts to reverse maternal mortality rates, which are the worst in the U.S., including allowing Medicaid-covered mental health screenings.
  • South Texas college students are getting help from Washington in gaining access to STEM opportunities (9:14).
  • Latina Hollywood composer and Texas native Germaine Franco talks about staying true to Mexican influences when orchestrating music for “Coco” (11:59).

Credit Gabriel C. Pérez, KUT
Donna Kreuzer became an advocate for improved access to mental health care for new mothers after her daughter died.

Can Texas Follow Texas’ Lead In Reducing Maternal Mortality?

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rates in the U.S., on par with countries like Uzbekistan.  In part two of our series, we look at what Texas can learn from other states that have successfully reduced their maternal mortality rates. KUT’s Ashley Lopez reports in part two of a three-part series.

Click hereto listen to part one.


Credit Office of Congressman Henry Cuellar
Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) presents a $100,000 federal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for unrepresented students at Laredo Community College (LCC) on Jan. 25, 2018.

South Texas Minority Students Get A Boost In Pursuing STEM Studies In College

A South Texas college was awarded a $100,000 grant in January to encourage underrepresented students to study science, technology, engineering and math. Congressman Henry Cuellar, whose district extends from the Rio Grande in South Texas to San Antonio, presented that National Science Foundation grant to Laredo Community College. Cuellar says the NSF is expanding its emphasis on STEM by hosting a conference in March.

Credit White Bear PR
Germaine Franco

Latina Hollywood Composer, Native Texan: Germaine Franco

The Disney/Pixar animated film Cocowon two Academy Awards last weekend: animated feature and original song  for “Remember Me.” One of the members of Coco’ songwriting team is native El Pasoan Germaine Franco. She is a composer, orchestrator and percussionist, and is the first Latina composer invited to join the music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Franco wrote several songs for Coco with the film’s co-director Adrian Molina. She also arranged, orchestrated and co-produced the Oscar-winning song.  

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1