Two teen girls studying together

UC Davis launches a science academy for youth in underserved communities to study health


The UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) is offering a new health education and research program for high school students from underserved communities in the Sacramento area.

Called the Youth Community Scientist Academy (YCSA) in Health Research, the 10-week program will provide an educational enrichment experience to high school-age students in the Oak Park, Del Paso Heights, and other Promise Zone neighborhoods of Sacramento. It’s being offered through the CTSC’s Health Equity Resources and Outreach (HERO) program and is a collaboration with local community partner Urban Advocates and Achievers.

“We recognize that health equity requires diversity and inclusion on the teams researching, developing and delivering health care,” said Liz Vasile, director of the HERO program.

One approach to achieving health equity is to build the capacity of individuals from underrepresented communities to meaningfully participate in health research as advisors, investigators and volunteers in clinical studies.

“By giving these young people knowledge and hands-on experience in the health research process, the YCSA program aims to contribute to a more diverse research workforce in the future as well as an effective public voice in health research today,” Vasile said.

Research in action

Participants will meet once a week for seven weeks at Sierra 2 Center for the Arts and Community. They will also conduct team research projects for the final three weeks of the program. Through small discussion sessions and guided hands-on research, they will learn:

  • How researchers decide what health issues to study
  • The elements of the health research process, including participant recruitment and retention, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of findings
  • The importance and benefits of involvement in research by diverse individuals and communities
  • Training and career opportunities in research


Urban Advocates & Achievers logo

Sessions will be held on Thursdays (9/1, 9/8, 9/22, 10/13, 10/20) from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays (9/17, 10/1, 10/8) from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Students will conduct fieldwork 10/21-11/9 and present their work in a symposium at the end of their training.

Registration is open now. For more information, call Urban Advocates and Achievers at 916-644-2994 or check flyer.

The UC Davis CTSC receives support from the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Award TR001860).