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Adelita G. Cantu, PhD, RN

Associate Professor, UT Health San Antonio
School of Nursing

As a public health nurse, my priority and impact are focused in environmental health with an international, national and local reach. I have led and initiated the Air Quality Youth Leadership Academy in Texas, recruiting and educating minority youth on air quality issues; mentoring them on their community projects. Recognized for my environmental health expertise, I am highly sought for local/national meetings leading discussions and providing keynotes related to high impact of environmental issues.  My work has been instrumental in developing interprofessional environmental health curriculum used in medical and nursing schools. I role-model mentoring interdisciplinary health professionals as a foundation to improving public/population health. I received the national Charlotte Brody Award for my work in environmental health and justice and served on the national Board of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE). I am deeply embedded in many local and state collaborations where I bring a critical health perspective to their missions and highlight the importance of social determinants to community well-being.  Known for my advocacy work with underserved populations, I was sought to serve on San Antonio’s Climate Adaptation Equity Technical Working Group as well as the city’s COVID-19 Community Response and Equity Committee. 


Recently, I was included among the Best 25 Nurses in South Central Texas. I have received my institution’s Teaching Excellence Award for expertise in increasing student learning and clinical experiences through discussion of the complexity of social determinants in relation to individual health.