Meet Natayla Seals, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Community Engagement core group at the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI). Prior to SC CTSI, Natayla began her career at Best Start Metro L.A. (BSMLA) as a member of the Universal Dream Team Neighborhood Leadership Group where she coordinated educational workshops to help maintain healthy and safe neighborhoods for children and families in Los Angeles. Here, she shares why she joined the Community Engagement core group at SC CTSI, what 'community' means to her, and advice she has for prospective community health workers.

Where are you from?
Los Angeles, California.

What do you do in your current role?
In my role, I am responsible for going out into the community and recruiting people for health research studies, and coordinating and facilitating workshops and listening sessions.

Can you share a bit about your educational and work experience?
I’m currently completing my degree in public health. 

What compelled you to join the Community Engagement group at SC CTSI?
I started my career at Best Start Metro L.A. (BSMLA) as a member of the Universal Dream Team Neighborhood Leadership Group. This group was established with the goal to help engage local residents develop social connections, leadership skills, and civic engagement. During this time, I helped organize a community event called "The Culture of Respect" where we coordinated workshops about domestic violence. We taught the youth about the nine types of violence and prevention.

I felt compelled to apply to SC CTSI because I wanted to continue supporting the Los Angeles community. I always take initiative to have my voice heard and make impactful changes in my community.

What does community mean to you?
A community is a family of nonrelated people living in the same place and having similar goals and characteristics. 

What is most rewarding about your job?
Being able to support communities that are in need.

What inspires you?
My community. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
I love to read novels about love. I also enjoy watching biographical documentaries and I am fascinated with orcas (killer whales). 

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved in community work?
To have compassion and patience for the community. You must also have good listening skills to be able to comprehend and understand the needs of the community.

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.