Meet Mayra Rubio-Diaz, Special Project Manager for the Community Engagement core group at the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI). With over 20 years of experience at USC, Mayra works alongside her colleagues and community partners to develop project plans that support community-engaged research by promoting outreach to Latinx communities in both East and South Los Angeles. Here, the Los Angeles native shares how she began her career at USC and the importance of engaging with researchers to understand the health needs and research barriers within underrepresented communities.

Where are you from?
Los Angeles, California

What do you do in your current role?
I provide oversight to the Community Engagement (CE) program on various projects. I work with community partners, develop project plans to support community-engaged research, ensure that evaluation and metrics are accurately collected and reported, and conduct community outreach to Latinx communities in both East and South Los Angeles. I also help coordinate the delivery of educational workshops, resources, and services in response to community needs.  

Can you share a bit about your educational and work experience?
I have worked at USC for 21+ years and am proud to say all my years at USC have been with our Director/Principal Investigator, Dr. Thomas A. Buchanan. I started as a Project Assistant supporting the Research Subject Advocate Administrator at the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) ensuring all protocols were in compliance with the Institutional Review Board. I helped monitor research activities to ensure the research being conducted at the GCRC was carried out in compliance with the most recently IRB-approved protocol.

What compelled you to join the Community Engagement group at SC CTSI?
When the opportunity to work for the Community Engagement group was offered to me, I jumped at the chance to work in my community. I provide educational workshops and resources to equip the community with the tools necessary to help them make the best decision for themselves and their families. My work at CE is to ensure that researchers understand the health needs and research barriers of special populations. This work gets us one step closer to ensuring that medications and interventions are effective for all ethnic groups.

What does community mean to you?
Community to me is like-minded individuals sharing a vision of helping the community become better. A group of people who live and work together in a way that benefits everyone EQUALLY, who work together towards one common goal.

What is most rewarding about your job?
Working out IN MY COMMUNITY, seeing firsthand the impact that community can have on research and the impact research has on the community.

What inspires you? 
Working alongside a team that is like-minded, cares about the community, and values the input that the community has on the work that we are doing.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Spending time with my kids. They really do grow up fast. 

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved in community work?
Working in the community is very rewarding!

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.