Meet Adriana Argaiz, Associate Director for the Southern California Center for Latino Health at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Adriana collaborates with the Community Engagement core group at the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI) by fostering, developing, and maintaining partnerships between academia and the Latino community. She also coordinates educational programs that raise awareness about chronic diseases in the Latino population. Here, Adriana shares her experience working with underserved communities in North, Central, and South America for the past 20 years, what 'community' means to her, and what inspires her to give back to under-resourced communities. 

Where are you from?
Born and raised in Mexico, in the city of Puebla

What do you do in your current role?
I coordinate community outreach for the Southern California Center for Latino Health. I foster, develop and maintain partnerships between academia and the Latino community, and create educational programs that cultivate awareness about chronic diseases in the Latino population.

Can you share a bit about your educational and work experience? 
I majored in international relations and held my first formal job at the Ministry of Social Development of Mexico. My job allowed me to discover my passion for helping others. After some years in the workforce, I decided to pursue my master's in social policy. I worked for the United Nations Development Program and for a couple of non-profits at the beginning of my career. 

In 2010 I became part of the Mexican Foreign Service and had the opportunity to serve my country as a diplomat in many countries in North, Central, and South America. I was transferred to Los Angeles in 2014 and served as Consul for Community Engagement for over seven years. In that position, I was responsible for creating partnerships that helped the Latino community integrate and prosper in the United States. We provided educational services, financial literacy advice, mental health services, and health advice for the Spanish-speaking population.   

What compelled you to join the Community Engagement group at SC CTSI? 
I have always enjoyed helping others, and when I decided it was time to move on to another type of job, I knew I wanted to continue in the same line of work, and if possible, I wanted to continue serving the Latino community. When I learned about the work of Community Engagement at SC CTSI, I felt compelled to apply because it would grant me the opportunity to continue serving my community through education. I am a great believer in the power of information, knowledge, and advocacy. Having the opportunity to take part in developing initiatives that help disadvantaged communities feel empowered felt like a huge privilege for me.

What does community mean to you?
To me community means power, it also means unity and affinities.

What is most rewarding about your job?
I have always looked for purpose in all I do, and seeing the impact my job has on changing people's lives for the better is what I love the most!

What inspires you? 
The idea of being able to make a change inspires me! My family also inspires me. I want my children, and all Latino children, to be healthy and have the same chances in life as others!

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
I have two toddlers so, I do not have much time for hobbies. However, I enjoy hiking, walking, and reading. I try to travel as much as I can, when possible!

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved in community work?
Engage, listen, and learn. Communities know what they need and what is good for them. Be respectful.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.