Community Advisory Council (CAC)

The Community Advisory Council’s role is advisory and collaborative with the CTR organizational structure and specifically aims to:

  • Clarify best approaches to solving health problems
  • Reach people statewide with new research information
  • Build connections for research in the broad community

The role of CAC members is to:

  • Be involved in clinical research issues in CTR priority health areas
  • Review and disseminate information to others in their network and communities served
  • Work collaboratively to develop approaches to solve problems
  • Advocate for practical application of the research

The CAC adds value to the CEO in its mission to engage the community in translational research:

  • Simplify the message from ACCEL to the community .
  • Helping the CEO/ACCEL with circular feedback from the project to the community and back.
  • Clarifying the language – develop a common language.
  • Clarifying the process for building trust and sharing power between the academic/medical research community and the broad community.
  • Helping with overcoming existing barriers in reaching the community – lack of trust and inclusion.
  • Reviewing communications for “the community” in draft (i.e. the website)

Community Advisory Council Members

Marlene A. Saunders, DSW, MSW, LMSW

Marlene A. Saunders, DSW, MSW, LMSW, is the ACCEL Program Community Advisory Council Chairperson. She is a social worker, social work educator, administrator and an elected official. Her professional activities and endeavors as a citizen have focused on maximizing relationships to enable people from diverse backgrounds to work together to achieve social justice, equity and equality for everyone. She has pursued these objectives as a former Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers, Delaware Chapter and as the former chairperson for the Department of Social Work at Delaware State University. Currently, Dr. Saunders is a member of the steering committees for Women’s March, Sussex Delaware, and the Southern Delaware Alliance for Social Justice. In addition, she is a member of Delaware Concerned Residents for Environmental Justice and the Community Air Monitoring Network. 

Gwendoline B. “Gwen” Angalet, PhD

Gwendoline B. “Gwen” Angalet, PhD, is the CEO of GBA Consulting, a management consulting firm providing professional services to clients in the public and not-for-profit sectors, helping them to lead and manage change and achieve improved results and lasting impact. Current projects include efforts to increase support to children, youth, and their families living in the city of Wilmington, to achieve academic success, promote positive development, and prevent violence. Gwen’s career in public service spans over three decades, most of which was in leadership and management roles in the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families and Nemours Children’s Health and Prevention Services. Additionally, Gwen serves on the boards of community non-profit organizations, including the Wilmington Hope Commission.

Octavia Dryden

Octavia Dryden, known by many as “Penny”, holds a Business Administration and Economics degree from Delaware State University. She has more than thirty years of experience in the social and environmental justice field and an extensive background in community engagement, partnership, and coalition building. She was a member of the development team to establish the nationally recognized New Castle County Community Partnership in 1991. She later served as its Executive Director and led the development of 10 Neighborhood coalitions, two county-level coalitions, Wilmington Prevention Coalition and New Castle Prevention Coalition. Octavia is currently the executive director of Community Housing & Empowerment Connections Inc. and chairperson for the Delaware EJ Community Partnership, and Delaware Concerned Residents for EJ@CHEC. In these capacities she oversees the development of the Community Air Monitoring Network 4 Delaware and the Connecting BIPOC to Clean Energy Opportunities Initiative. In 2017, Penny co- authored the Environmental Justice for Delaware, Mitigating Toxic Pollution in New Castle County Communities report, served as Co-Principal Investigator for a ACCEL Sponsored Retreat entitled: The Health Impacts of Toxic Pollution Research Retreat: Moving Collaboratively from Data to Action through Community Engaged Research.

Cecelia Rich, MPA

Cecelia Rich, MPA earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Behaviors and Urban Studies at the City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2003. Subsequently, she completed all required course work for the Master of Public Administration degree from Walden University in 2017. Ms. Rich established the Village Tree, Inc. in 2012. This 501(c3) non-profit organization utilizes an empowerment, strengths-based philosophy. The organization’s specific objectives include: connecting communities to resources that enable them through partnerships to solve problems utilizing community assets; supporting community viability through urban gardening and providing leadership and support for community meetings that help residents coalesce and mobilize for positive change in such areas as health and community action.

Her professional employment includes, but is not limited to, U. S. Census Bureau Field representative, human service provider and substance abuse counselor. She worked as a Qualified Mental Health Provider where she rendered mental health services to residents in the Central Richmond, VA area. As a human service provider, she also provided services to enable successful re-entry by women incarcerated at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women, in Goochland, VA.

Terry-Ann Richards

Terry-Ann Richards is an Administrative Assistant at UD with CRESP. Her work focuses on research, evaluation, and outreach activities. These include correspondence, scheduling, data organization, performing administrative duties while ensuring confidentiality. Terry-Ann studied at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn New York, while becoming a member of the inaugural class of Public Allies where she had training on bringing communities together to work for a common good. She is a mother to two boys aged 13 and 21. Terry-Ann’s passion and majority of her work experience has been in the nonprofit sector tying into her community interests and finding different ways to help low-income communities. She enjoys volunteering with her sons to show them the importance of being a part of a community changing process.

Shay Scott, M.A.

Shay Scott, M.A., is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, Inc. affectionately known as Henrietta Johnson Medical Center through the community. Shay has dedicated her professional life to the management of non-profit and community-based organizations. Throughout her career she worked with medically underserved individuals recognizing that they are among the most vulnerable within a community, as well as the most resilient. Shay earned an M.A. in Leadership and Management from Liberty University and an undergraduate degree in Public Health Administration from Stockton University.

LaVaida Owens White MSN, RN, FCN

La Vaida Owens White MSN, RN, FCN has more than 40 years nursing experience in acute and long-term care, rehabilitation, home care and community health. She is currently working in the practice setting of Faith Community Nursing, and as Coordinator for the Delaware Region Health Ministries Network. Ms. Owens White is a faculty educator for the International Parish Nurse Resource Center and instructor for the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing core curriculum. As a community activist and life member of the NAACP, she is active in leadership positions in community-based associations. One of her current interests is in nursing research, exploring a collaborative partnership of community and faith-based organizations in addressing childhood obesity. 

Sara M. Fuller

Sara M. Fuller is a Tribal Citizen of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware. She has been involved with several Tribal activities and events over the years including environmental cleanup, Lenape Youth Camp, web and media development and outreach support, mobilizing the participation of Lenape Tribal Citizens in completing the US Federal Census. Sara recently retired from the Delaware Transit Corporation (DART) after completing 27 years of service to Public Transportation in the areas of Marketing, Communications and Outreach.

She has worked with diverse communities and organizations advocating for accessibility, inclusion, environmental justice and equity. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, organic gardening, genealogy and spending time with family. Sara earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from Rowan University.

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