Staff Highlight: Mayra Diaz - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Staff Highlight: Mayra Diaz

May 2, 2022

Mayra is a Policy Analyst who joined Health & Medicine’s Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative in February of 2022. At Health & Medicine, she plays a critical role in supporting institutions across Illinois, helping them integrate trauma-informed and healing-centered frameworks into their policies and practices.

Mayra obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Latina/Latino Studies. She then went on to graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, earning master’s degrees in both social work and public health, with a concentration in Community Health Sciences and Mental Health. In her last semester of graduate school, she was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, an accomplishment she is immensely proud of. Only a few graduating students are selected for induction, so this honor validated the hard work she put into her academics and community service.

Prior to her position at Health & Medicine, Mayra gained experience working on numerous public health projects through Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the UIC Collaboratory for Health Justice. Aside from her role at Health & Medicine, she also supports the Telpochcalli Community Education Project, a Latinx-serving community-based organization in Little Village, Chicago. She credits these previous experiences for truly sparking her interest in addressing health inequities through policy. Mayra was drawn to Health & Medicine as the next step in her career because she had been searching for an organization that aligned with her values on healthy equity and justice. She states, “I think this is an organization that truly strives to challenge and transform systems to make them work for communities that have been historically failed by policy.”

In her free time, her favorite hobby is dancing. She was a part of a Latin dance performance team for several years but took a break due to COVID and graduate school. Now, she is getting back into the scene and is currently training as a mambo dancer. She looks forward to getting back on the performance stage soon. Mayra also enjoys working out, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her dog, Maddie.

She gives a special shout out to the ACEs team, Bridget Gavaghan and Madison Hammett, for the opportunity to work with them in such a critical area of public health. “I have learned so much from both of you already and look forward to continuing to collaborate on all the amazing projects we have in the works!”