Cultural Ambassadors: A Unique Community Partnership

YCCI recognizes that broadening community participation in clinical research involves linking investigators directly to resources in the community. To facilitate this, YCCI has partnered with Junta for Progressive Action and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church to ensure that clinical trial participation reflects the diversity of New Haven’s population and will benefit patients in the community and beyond. Junta is the oldest Latino community based non-profit organization in New Haven and the AME Zion Church is New Haven’s oldest African American congregations.

YCCI’s goal in developing both partnerships is to help increase the participation of the Hispanic and African American populations in clinical trials. Representatives of Junta and AME Zion Church serve as Cultural Ambassadors to Yale's research programs. They act as expert resources, advising Yale investigators how best to raise awareness of clinical research and engage the community.

Cultural ambassadors are available to:

  • Participate in projects, community engagement activities and community events designed to promote and increase participation in clinical trials.
  • Assist in the development of recruitment plans for specific trials.
  • Assist in the development of protocols for specific trials.
  • Provide translation services for informed consents and other materials into Spanish.

YCCI initially provided intensive training on topics such as the importance of clinical research, how it is conducted, and protections for human subjects. Continuing education is provided on an ongoing basis through monthly faculty presentations.

For more information or to request services provided by this program, please contact Kelly Anastasio at 203.737.6845 or kelly.anastasio@yale.edu.

Sandra Trevino

Sandra Trevino, Executive Director, Junta and her sons

Junta for Progressive Action, Inc. is partnering with Yale to raise awareness in the Latino community regarding clinical research and its role in addressing health disparities. Founded in 1969, Junta is the oldest Latino, community based non-profit organization in New Haven, Connecticut. Its mission is to provide services, programs and advocacy that improve the social, political and economic conditions of the Latino community in Greater New Haven, while nurturing and promoting its cultural traditions as it builds bridges with other communities.

Junta empowers members of the Latino and low-income community to take control of their economic and social well being, while civically engaging in the community. It promotes a culture of community involvement and advocacy through its programs and initiatives, which include adult education, children's programs, cultural appreciation, economic development, family management, and immigrant rights. Community outreach activities include health workshops, health screenings and family literacy events.

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Sandra Trevino

Executive Director

Sandra Trevino is Executive Director for Junta for Progressive Action. She graduated from the University of Texas at Brownsville with a BA in psychology. She received her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas-Pan American. In 2003, she was accepted into the social work fellowship program at the Yale Child Study Center. She is a Licensed Certified Clinical Social Worker specializing in childhood mental disorders.

In 2007, Ms. Trevino joined Junta to work with the Latino...

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Cheila Serrano

Program Director, Family Management

Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Cheila Serrano is currently pursuing a career in social work. In 2004 she joined Junta for Progressive Action as a volunteer for the Energy Assistance program. Seven months later she joined the staff as program director for the Family Management program. As a well known and trusted member of the community, she enjoys helping people and making their goals a reality.

Ms. Serrano decided to become a Cultural Ambassador because she recognized the importance for...

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Fernando Faneyte

Executive Assistant and Economic Development Program Manager

Fernando Faneyte is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He graduated from the Catholic University of Santo Domingo with a degree of business administration. He also studied for a Diploma in Management at Santo Domingo Technological University and a Masters in Business from the University Henriquez Pedro Urena.

In 2010, he joined the Junta team as a volunteer on the Board of Economic Development program. He joined the staff to work part time for the Family Management Program, assisting in the...

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Janine Dogolo

Director of Development

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Kattia Mendez

Instructor

Kattia Mendez is originally from Cienfuegos, Cuba. She became a Doctor of Medicine in 1996 in Cuba, receiving a specialist degree in general medicine in 2003. She continued to work in medicine until her immigration to the United States in 2008.

In 2008, Ms. Mendez received certification from RMA. She volunteered at the Hospital of Saint Raphael and Yale-New Haven Hospital from 2009 to 2011 and has also worked as a community educator and patient coordinator for Kool Smiles Company. In 2011, she...

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Julynette Quiles

Administrative Assistant

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Rev. Dr. Leroy O. Perry, Jr.,

Rev. Dr. Leroy O. Perry, Jr., Pastor, St. Stephens AME Zion Church and Clutural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research Program

The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church, the nation’s oldest denomination, is a major faith-based organization servicing more than 1,000,000 members. Throughout its history, AME Zion has made the salvation of the whole person--mind, body and spirit--its top priority, with an emphasis on religious, educational and social causes.

The AME Zion Church and its members have been instrumental in many of the freedom struggles of this nation, including the first wave of Black social activism and the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s. Along with its emphasis on ministry and social change in the United States, the denomination has focused much of its attention and energies on outreach abroad. As the Church continues to expand and diversify its ministry, it is also preparing to lead an ever increasing youthful church body into the next century.

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Reverend Leroy Perry

Pastor

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...

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Reverend Elvin Clayton

Pastor

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...

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Reverend Derrill Blue

Pastor

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.

Reverend Blue began his pastoral vocation at the age of 23. He has served AME Zion congregations in Erwin, North Carolina; Batesville, Mississippi; Oklahoma...

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Reverend Kelcy Steele

Pastor

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...

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Sundae M. Black

District Youth Director of Christian Education

Sundae M. Black is a member of Mt. Olive AME Zion Church of Waterbury CT. She is a graduate of Albertus Magnus College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management. She has been employed in a leadership role in management with The Hartford Insurance for many years. She is the district youth director of Christian education for the AME Zion New England Conference. She is also the local director of Christian education at Mount Olive. Her passion centers on educating others. She is...

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Joyce Patton

Member

Joyce Patton is a member of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church in New Haven, CT. She is a graduate of Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC, where she received a BA in elementary education and has completed further studies at Winthrop College and Southern CT State University. She is a retired educator from the New Haven Public School System. She serves as the secretary of the Bureau of Overseas Supplies, which provides supplies to disaster-stricken areas and to the homeless, victims of domestic...

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Lillian Reason

Member and Missionary

Lillian Reason is a graduate of Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC. She earned a Masters of Arts in teaching as well as a 6th year certificate in supervision and administration from Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport, CT. Ms. Reason is a retired New Haven teacher and literacy coach and continues to tutor first graders in reading. She is a member of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, where she serves as a missionary. She is a receptionist at the food pantry on a monthly basis and has held...

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Irene Saunders

Member

Irene Saunders is a Member of Mt. Olive AME Zion Church of Waterbury CT. She has been a registered nurse for 31 years with clinical expertise in medical/surgical, orthopedic, and neurosurgical nursing.

Ms. Saunders received her degree in nursing from St. Mary's School of Nursing in Waterbury CT. She has established a rapport with the elderly that attend the Mt. Olive AME Zion church Senior Center and they look forward to her visits, where she provides blood pressure screenings and information...

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