By Paul Karon

Whether producing movies that change women’s attitudes toward cervical cancer screening, or using mobile technology to keep people with diabetes out of the emergency room, public health research is complex and painstaking work. In many cases, however, the hard part is not the science, but finding the right partners and participants.

The Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI), whose mission is to speed the conversion of research into public health solutions, provides expertise and assistance that not only helps USC’s investigators conduct their research, but also benefits the university’s neighbors throughout Los Angeles and Southern California.

Five USC-led research teams, whose projects received key support from the CTSI Community Engagement team, presented their studies and findings at the April 24 Community Engagement Dinner meeting. The teams led studies on cultural differences in cervical cancer screening, integration of mental and physical health care, and efficacy of mobile technology use to manage diabetes and childhood obesity, as well as data collection of the health information of transgender people.

The SC CTSI community engagement efforts serve as a sort of research matchmaker—the team approaches community groups, clinicians, and health care providers to discover their most pressing public health needs. Then they identify the right USC researchers and help the investigators shape projects, find funding, carry out the research—and ultimately implement the results in real-world solutions.

For more about the five projects visit