African American Cultural Ambassadors

Reverend Dr. LeRoy O. Perry, Jr.

Reverend Dr. LeRoy O. Perry, Jr.

Rev. Dr. LeRoy O. Perry, Jr.

Pastor, St. Stephens AME Zion Church and Cultural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research program

The Reverend Dr. Leroy O. Perry is the Pastor of St. Stephens AME Zion Church. He served on Mayor O'Leary's commission for diversity study for the City of Waterbury, and as chairman of the Clergy Support committee for Waterbury Opportunities Industrialization Center, where he worked to foster African American economic development in the area. His recent interests include building wells in Africa, establishing a community credit union with New Opportunities Inc. and development of low income housing, with veterans as a major concern.

Although he was aware of health care disparities before becoming a Cultural Ambassador, he was not aware of the clinical research conducted at Yale. Like many African Americans of his generation, there was an historical stigma dating back to the Tuskegee Study that stymied his interest in clinical research. He was pleased to discover that YCCI wanted to establish a partnership with the community that is built on an informed and clear definition of policies procedures, and practices regarding clinical research. He feels the partnership is a valuable learning exchange and a necessary adhesive needed to bridge an effective community relationship for the advancement of clinical research.

Reverend Perry is proud to be on the team of Cultural Ambassadors that includes doctors, scientists community members, and clergy leaders, whose participation will contribute to the building of a better and healthier tomorrow.

Reverend Kelcy Steele

Rev. Kelcy Steele

Pastor, Varick Memorial AME Zion Church and Cultural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research program

In September 2016, Pastor Steele was appointed by Bishop Dennis V. Proctor to Varick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, New Haven, CT as the 43rd Pastor.  Varick is the Second Oldest Church in the A.M.E. Zion Denomination with a membership of over 3,000 and is the Mother Church of the New England Annual Conference. Pastor Steele is a native of Rock Hill, SC and began his college education at York Technical College.  He graduated from Belmont Abby, in Belmont, NC with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion & Psychology. Pastor Steele was awarded a Certificate from Emory University for completing the course From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement. He studied an array of theological courses at Shaw University Divinity School and is currently acquiring his Masters of Divinity at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Pastor Steele has a worldwide presence and provides leadership in World Methodist Evangelism by serving as an assistant to the Director of World Methodist Evangelism. Pastor Steele is married to Natasha Ford Steele and uses as his theme: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ― John Wesley

Reverend Elvin Clayton

Reverend Elvin Clayton

Rev. Elvin Clayton

Pastor, Walter's Memorial Church and Cultural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research program

Reverend Clayton is a native of Waterbury Connecticut, where he attended the local schools and graduated from W. F. Kaynor Regional Technical Vocational School. Reverend Clayton worked in the automotive refinishing business for 25 years. He began his pastoral vocation in 1983, after years of a passionate pursuit of music that included playing in church. He matriculated at Slidell and Hartford Seminaries and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Hartford Hospital. He was the Pastor of Redeemers Church in Plainville for 18 years and is now the Pastor of Walter's Memorial Church, Bridgeport, CT.

Reverend Clayton became a Cultural Ambassador so that he could help raise awareness of the importance of clinical trials for his community. The program has taught him the importance of diversity among clinical trial participants to include people of different ethnic backgrounds, as well as women and children. He said that YCCI brochures and pamphlets on clinical research have been helpful in generating discussions about different diseases and have led to talk about cancer, diabetes, and research in general. “The program has helped to dispel the myths that clinical research means being a guinea pig,” he said. “It is also helping to inform my community that everyone needs to participate in research.”

Reverend Derrill Blue

Rev. Derrill Blue

Pastor, Mount Olive AME Zion Church  and Cultural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research program

Reverend Derrill Antonio Blue received his undergraduate education in business management from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina and in organization leadership from the University of Memphis. He received his Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology in Oklahoma City, OK.

He became a Cultural Ambassador because he wanted to be part of an organization that has a mission to make a difference in the community through research. Since joining the program, he has learned firsthand about research that is taking place to assist the minority population with treatment, medicine, funding, and service. He notes that many of the researchers he has met have expressed the desire to better treat and prescribe medicines that will work for the minority population. He feels the program has worked well for people in the community; some are active participants in the clinical trials that are taking place and it has brought awareness to the minority community that health is important and there are programs in place to aid them in taking care of their bodies and minds.