Valerie Ruelas, MSW, LCSW

Director, Community Diabetes Initiative (CDI),

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine


Valerie Ruelas manages research grants and projects for the Community Diabetes Initiative and the Westside Center for Diabetes. She’s an expert in community participation research, assessing local needs to reduce obesity and related chronic conditions like diabetes, primarily among low-income Latinos.

Valerie earned her Masters of Social Work at California State University, Fresno, and is a licensed clinical social worker. Prior to joining WCD, she worked at the L.A. County Department of Health Services, including for LAC+USC Medical Center, the Office of AIDS Programs and Policy and the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Programs.

In her community work, Valerie has helped to open a farmer’s market in Watts, teach nutrition and healthy cooking in East L.A., and develop bilingual, low-literacy educational materials about diabetes. She says, “With powerful community-based research, we can reduce obesity and diabetes and improve quality of life.”