Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager for the Institute for Public Health
The Community Advisory Board at the Institute for Public Health and the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences is welcoming three new members and saying goodbye to a longstanding contributor. Operating through both Institutes’ shared Center for Community Health Partnership and Research, the Community Advisory Board (CAB) helps bridge the gap between university research and local communities. The board is comprised of a diverse group of individuals with strong ties to communities within the St. Louis region.
Exiting board member, Felice McClendon, Director of Communications for the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office, calls her time with CAB informative and inspiring. “It’s an honor to have cultivated depth of knowledge as a community researcher and lasting personal and professional relationships” she said, adding that she would recommend serving on the CAB “to life-learners, across disciplines as a reliable model for coherent, replicative evaluation, assessment and best practices.” McClendon points out that CAB members are “fierce in our commitment to collective impact” and in evaluating community-academic partnerships, she says board members “strive for humanity and compassion over institutionalized concept papers without a voice. At its best, the CAB IS the voice of the community,” she concludes.
The CAB welcomes three members, all of whom agree that their focus will be to bridge disparity gaps in their communities and to be an integral link between researchers and the communities in which the board members live and work.
Brandy Peoples, PhD is a psychologist, who brings to the CAB clinical training and research skills. She has studied barriers to African Americans’ pursuit of mental health care and she frequently works with court-involved youth. Peoples says she understands how trauma, substance abuse, and other environmental stressors have an impact on the day-to-day functioning of these individuals. She also believes in the significance of spirituality on those who may have mental health concerns. Peoples says while working with CAB, she hopes to address “the destigmatization of mental health issues”, adding, “Because of the stigma of mental health, many people with mental health concerns—especially those in underserved communities—end up suffering in silence.”
Melba Hale, MBA has worked with older adults in community health and has supported those with developmental disabilities and their families in raising their voices to become an integral part of society. She is passionate about helping communities deepen their understanding of social determinants of health from a real world perspective. “In terms of servicing the community, I believe the most important job of the CAB is to help community members better understand the impact on health of cultural, ethnic, and alternative lifestyles and socioeconomic differences.” She hopes to assist communities in understanding the importance of participating in research to help eliminate disparities.
As a new CAB member, Simone Minner, MSW hopes to learn more about community health, interventions that support the community, and she would like to increase her knowledge of medicine and science as they relate to community outreach. Minner hopes to use her strengths as a social worker in secondary education to help bridge the gap between university research and her communities. “I rarely separate academic from community; they work together,” she says, adding, “Public health issues as they relate to disparity gaps is most important to me.
Read more about the Community Advisory Board. Researchers interested in meeting with the CAB to receive feedback on projects or ideas, should contact Hilary Broughton (email@example.com).
The Center for Community Health Partnership & Research fosters community-academic partnerships, communication and research in the region to reduce disparities and improve health and wellness