Meet Sara Calderon, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Community Engagement core group at the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Sara has a background in psychology with experience in systemic therapy and community outreach. She has been with the University of Southern California (USC) for six years, coordinating health-related workshops for the Latino population in Los Angeles and training promotores who want to educate underrepresented populations on the importance of participating in research studies. Here, Sara shares details about her role at SC CTSI, why she chose to pursue a path in community outreach and offers advice to prospective community workers. 

Where are you from? 

What do you do in your current role?
As a community coordinator, I am responsible for bridging the gap between the Latino community and academia. I promote and strengthen projects developed by researchers that target the Latino population. I also coordinate health-related workshops for community members and train promotores who want to educate underrepresented populations about the importance of participating in research studies. Some of the topics we cover in our workshops include but are not limited to, research studies in the Latino community, autism and developmental delays, Alzheimer's disease, mental health, and diabetes.

Can you share a bit about your educational and work experience? 
I have a bachelor's degree in psychology with experience in systemic therapy and community outreach. I have been with the University of Southern California (USC) for six years working in the community.

I am also a volunteer with the American Red Cross and serve on the disaster service team.

What compelled you to join the Community Engagement group at SC CTSI?
I loved the idea of bringing my Latino community all the information and resources that SC CTSI could offer to help improve their lives.

What does community mean to you?
It is the set of people who share the same interests such as values, culture, language, etc.

What is rewarding about your job?
Being able to participate in the development of projects that benefit my community, such as educational workshops.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the resilience and empathy that I see in my community.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
In my free time, I like to learn new skills that benefit the work I do, and I enjoy reading and dancing.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved in community work?
I would encourage others to learn about a community's roots, culture, traditions, language, and values. It's also important to show empathy for the community you are helping.

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.