What I do?

I manage community health programs for CCARE and coordinate research studies to see how these programs help reduce the risk of health disparities. My work ranges from advocacy training for peer educators to workplace wellness programs for local businesses.

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Why I do it?

I love helping people who don’t normally get a lot of attention. I get to work with the most underserved communities and they are very grateful when you are able to provide help or a service. You feel like you are having a real impact on people’s lives.

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My Big Career Moment

An internship at City of Hope let me see the reality of the medical profession and opened my eyes to a new career path in public health. I saw another way to help people, one with less constraints than medicine, where I could impact an entire community.

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An Internship Changed the Course of Mayra Serrano’s Life to a Career in Public Health

02/03/2017 06:00am | 5182 views

Written by Michael O'Neill

There was never any doubt that Mayra Serrano would get the best education possible. Her parents had immigrated from Mexico as teenagers, and by the time Mayra came along they were determined that she would have a better life and the educational opportunities that they never had.  Her mother in particular had loved school, and though it wasn’t possible for her, she ingrained in her daughter the importance of college.  For Mayra, it wasn’t just an option – it was the only option.  The only way forward to break the cycle of poverty and unfulfilled dreams.
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Breaking Bad Habits: Changing the Way Hispanics Eat, Move, Live

25/09/2015 12:00pm | 26295 views

In 2007, we began planning and developing a new program called Eat Move Live in collaboration with the City of Duarte and the Parks & Recreation Dept. We started the program because we – under the aegis of Dr. Kimlin Tam Ashing, Ph.D., our Director at CCARE – recognized a need in our catchment area and a corresponding opportunity to reach out to the community to help reduce obesity rates and deal with related chronic diseases, especially cancer and diabetes. Our mission was to become a trusted source of information for this underserved population, a place where they could find the resources they needed and medical professionals they could talk to and turn to for help.

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Fighting the Rumors and Getting the Word Out About the Affordable Care Act

21/05/2014 10:27am | 8779 views

Do you support the Affordable Care Act? When the law first passed, we added this question to our community assessments, which typically poll respondents about their health related habits and needs, with questions like: When was the last time you were screened for chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.) or what would motivate you to get screened? What concerns do you and your family have – about everything from nutrition and obesity to teenage pregnancy and childhood vaccinations?

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About the mentor

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Mayra Serrano

Manager of Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education (CCARE)
City of Hope

Mayra Serrano is the Manager of Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education (CCARE) at City of Hope. Her work at CCARE focuses on community participatory interventions to reduce the risk and burden of cancer. She coordinates Eat, Move, Live – a program to prevent cancer and other chronic disease through better nutrition and physical activity. 

Mayra has been recognized for her work by California Senator Ed Hernandez and received his Women of the Year in Health Award for 2012. She co-published an article featured in the American Cancer Society book, “Cancer Disparities: Causes and Evidence-Based Solutions.” Mayra is also active in several cancer and health-related organizations and committees. She has presented her work and research at many national conferences, including the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Health Disparities Conference, and the National Latino Cancer Summit.

Mayra is fluent in both English and Spanish. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Whittier College and received her Master’s in Public Health in Community Health Sciences from UCLA. She is passionate about her work to reduce health disparities in underserved communities.