Marlen Ramirez serves as Vaccinate Your Family’s Program Coordinator supporting VYF’s advocacy and education work. Marlen is an experienced Community Health Worker (CHW) and Community Health Worker Instructor (CHWI). She was drawn to become a CHW/CHWI in the State of Texas because she comes from a culture that usually does not promote health education.
Marlen is a passionate advocate for health promotion and health equity, evidenced by her work with CHWs and the development of community health programs in border cities along southwest Texas. As a CHW, Marlen has served as a navigator, connecting individuals to public health resources and helping them make informed medical decisions. As a CHWI, she has significantly improved health education in the communities she serves. She currently serves on the Community Health Worker or Promotor(a) Training and Certification Program Committee with the Texas Department of State Health Services and has served as Co-President for the Hope-K Trinational Health Council in Eagle Pass, Texas, and in the Del Rio, Texas – Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico Trinational Health Cotrina. Marlen has been recognized for her work in adolescent health by the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancies, receiving the David C. Willey Award in 2018. She has also been awarded the Women of Del Rio Award for her work in creating health education programs that address health disparities.
Through her work, Marlen aims to improve the health and well-being of children and families, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations. In 2016, she launched Better Futures Forever as a youth group in which teens served as ambassadors to help promote a teen pregnancy prevention program to help reduce teen pregnancy in southwest Texas. The youth group made such an impact that it led to the creation of a tri-national, student-parent conference called Save the Teens. By 2019, under the leadership of Marlen and support from her family, Better Futures Forever became a training center that provides health education services. By 2022, Better Futures Forever become a certified training center for CHWs in Texas, providing training for certification and continuing education hours. Better Futures Forever became one of the only training centers to provide certification to high schools in southwest Texas in 2023. Currently, Marlen continues to serve as a CHW, a CHWI, a project administrator, and a community outreach specialist. Better Futures Forever continues to be part of her family’s legacy as it is fully family-operated and continues to make an impact in community health education.
In addition to her CHW and CHWI certifications, Marlen also holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Sul Ross State University.