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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, (CAC Chair)

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. 

Tyrone Jones

Tyrone Jones has been working for more than 15 years for Delawareans through the office of Senator Tom Carper, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban league, Astra Zeneca’s Community Alliances, Delaware Government and External Affairs. This work has been about establishing relationships and bringing agencies together to advocate for better living circumstances and the improvement of patient/community relationships. Currently, Mr. Jones brings his expertise to the offices of the United Way.

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 Health and Prevention Services. Additionally, Gwen serves on the boards of community non-profit organizations, including the Wilmington Hope Commission.

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.

Frank Hawkins

Frank Hawkins has been with AIDS Delaware for 22 years where he serves  as Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement. Frank has  implemented many programs to reach various populations in the city of  Wilmington. He has been featured in many publications for the work he is  doing to halt the spread of HIV. One program is the “Do The Right Thing  4Life”, which targets barbershops and beauty salons in the city of  Wilmington, to reach the African-American community. Part time, Frank  works for the YMCA Resource Center as the Program Specialist for the  Alcohol Drug Prevention program and “Back on Track” program.

LaVaida Owens White MSN, RN, FCN

LaVaida Owens White MSN, RN, FCN has more than 40 years nursing  experience in acute and longterm 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. 

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.

Harold Stafford

Harold Stafford is CEO of the Stafford Firm, consultations for government, public and private sectors, including not-for-profits. He has been active in Delaware government, acting as the former Secretary of Labor, Director of Administration, and Director of the Delaware Economic Development  Office. He also worked in varying capacities for Delaware Department of  Correction, as Human Services Planner for Delaware Office of Management, Budget, and Planning, and outside Delaware as the Community Developer for West Philadelphia Mental Health Consortium. Mr. Stafford has worked as a mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and served on the Board of Directors for Dover Inter-City Cultural League, First State Community Action Agency, Delaware Curative Workshop, DE Parents Association, Delaware  State University Research Foundation, and Jobs for Delaware Graduates.

Meghan Walls, PsyD

Megan Walls, PsyD, is a pediatric psychologist in the Division of Behavioral Health and Legislative and Policy Advisor for Delaware Valley External Affairs, at the Nemours / Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. She holds appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University. She provides clinical services within integrated primary care at Nemours’ Jessup Street clinic. In 2019, she was selected for the Nemours Physician Excellence in Community Service Award as well as the award for 2019 NAMI Delaware Healthcare Professional of the Year. She is the State Advocacy Chair on the Executive Committee of the Delaware Psychological Association and the co-chair of the Data and Policy Committee for the Lt. Governor’s Behavioral Health Consortium. Dr. Walls also holds an appointment to the Board of Directors of the Society of Pediatric Psychology as Electronics Communication Editor. She co-chairs the Access to Holistic Services Committee of the Delaware Early Childhood Council.

Cassandra Codes-Johnson, MPA

Cassandra Codes-Johnson, MPA, Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt, has over twenty years of experience in public health. Cassandra is considered a subject matter expert on topics related to health equity and addressing social determinants of health in Delaware. She is one of the co-authors of the Delaware Health Equity Guide for Public Health Practitioners and Partners. Cassandra has worked in the private, nonprofit and government sectors with one clear goal in mind: Identify opportunities to improve the lives of people through the improvement of systems and processes. Cassandra has two decades of experience working at the community level engaged in initiatives to improve the health status and economic status of vulnerable populations. Cassandra is currently the Associate Deputy Director for the Delaware Division of Public Health and provides support and oversight to over 800 dedicated public health staff who work daily to promote and protect the health of Delawareans. She has worked with national and international organizations such as Family Health International, the Administration for Children and Families, Mathematica Policy Research, Nemours, Center for Urban Families, ICF International, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Annie E. Casey Foundation, White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Brookings Institute, Columbia University and others to affect positive change for diverse populations through the implementation of policies, programs and research.

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. In these capacities she oversees the development of the Community Air Monitoring Network 4 Delaware. In 2017, Penny co-authored the Environmental Justice for Delaware, Mitigating Toxic Pollution in New Castle County Communities report. Octavia is currently 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.