Alycia Santilli, Director

Alycia Santilli, MSW is Director of the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), co-housed at Southern CT State University and the Yale School of Public Health. Building on her previous work as a community organizer – organizing people to influence state health policy – she started her research career exploring the important link between policy change and research. She began coordinating community-engaged research projects at the Yale School of Public Health in 2005. Alycia then joined CARE shortly after its inception in 2007 and has been integral to providing administrative oversight and strategic direction for the organization, quickly rising to a leadership position. In addition to managing grants, budgets, and human resources, she directed all research and other activities conducted in community settings, including organizing with low-income communities to develop health interventions. Alycia brings research skills in survey design; recruitment of hard-to-reach study participants; project management; training lay-people in research, including data collection; IRB and data collection protocol development; and dissemination of research results to the community. In 2009, 2012, and 2015, she hired, trained, supervised, and directed 20 surveyors to complete >1200 household surveys in two months, as part of Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment. In 2016, Alycia transitioned to the role of Director when CARE merged with Southern CT State University, bringing with her a decade of experience in community engagement and deep ties to the New Haven community. Alycia is a Connecticut native and has lived in New Haven for nearly 15 years.

501 Crescent Street
EN B110
New Haven, CT 06515
(203) 392-9950

Kathleen O'Connor Duffany, Director of Research & Engagement

Kathleen O’Connor Duffany, PhD, MEd, is an Associate Research Scientist in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at the Yale School of Public Health and Director of Research and Evaluation for CARE (the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement). Dr. O’Connor Duffany’s research examines the social, biological, behavioral, and structural barriers to health equity. Over the past two decades, her work included extensive interactions with schools and community-based organizations to improve health and education outcomes. From large scale multi-national projects, to local community-based programs, she has designed and collaborated on research studies and evaluations assessing and addressing social determinants of health with an interest in long-term structural and policy change. She works collaboratively with community partners to identify ways to improve health in the community at large and communicate findings in multiple formats to reach academicians, community residents, and policy makers – conducting ‘rigorous community research for practical benefit’. Dr. O’Connor Duffany was one of the lead developers and co-director of the Community Interventions in Health (CIH) study, the multinational study on chronic disease prevention, from which CARE’s research in schools and neighborhoods evolved. She was responsible for grant development across sites (India, China, Mexico), survey and protocol development, operations, implementation, and evaluation. She currently serves as interim-PI for the CDC Prevention Research Center. Locally, she serves on committees related to New Haven’s health assessment, community partnerships, and food insecurity in Greater New Haven. Additionally, Dr. O’Connor Duffany is co-lead of C3E (CARE Center for Community Evaluation), an evaluation center designed to meet assessment and evaluation needs of agencies in Greater New Haven.

135 College Street
Suite 200, Room 224
New Haven, CT 06510

Valen Grandelski, Program Manager for REACH

Valen Grandelski, MPH, MCHES, is the Project Manager for the CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program at CARE. Valen earned her B.A. in Healthcare and Health Disparities from the University of Connecticut in 2011. She then launched her public health career at Yale University, where she worked for over five years coordinating a diverse array of research projects that ranged from a relationship-strengthening HIV/STI prevention intervention for adolescent parenting couples in New Haven to a multi-site, longitudinal study examining genomic, psychological, and environmental influences on blood pressure among Black women and their children in Connecticut. While working at Yale, Valen earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from SCSU (class of 2017), interned for CARE as part of her MPH program, and the rest was history! In the fall of 2017, Valen began her full-time work with SCSU, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health, teaching both graduate and undergraduate public health students, and as Project Manager at CARE, supporting research, evaluation, and grant writing. In 2019, Valen transitioned full-time to CARE as the REACH Project Manager and she is so excited to be a part of a stellar team who is so passionate about working alongside the New Haven community in the pursuit of health equity and social justice. Valen’s public health interests are health equity, social justice, sexual health promotion, family health, and dissemination and implementation science.

501 Crescent Street
EN B110
New Haven, CT 06515
(203) 392-5431

Sharon Taylor, Community Engagement Manager

Sharon Taylor, MPH, is the Communication Engagement Manager for CARE, working to support SCSU students and community partners in shared programming and community organizing efforts. She also serves as a Research Associate at Community Health Center, Inc., evaluating their care coordination model. Sharon received her B.A. in Community Health & Psychology in 2009 from Tufts University, going on to receive her MPH from Yale School of Public Health in 2011. Sharon’s interests within Public Health are centered around health disparities and social justice issues and she has focused on food insecurity and advocacy in her previous work with CARE from 2013-2015. Sharon is thrilled to be working with CARE again and re-engaging with neighborhood partners in New Haven to promote a healthier environment where all residents are able to thrive. Sharon’s Public Health research interests include social determinants of health, health equity, and community intervention evaluation.

501 Crescent Street
EN B110
New Haven, CT 06515
(203) 640-6557

Sarah Gordon Headshot

Sarah Gordon, Communications

Sarah Gordon, MA, is the Communications lead for CARE, working to create strategic and theoretically based communications initiatives that align with the CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program at CARE. Sarah brings 8 years of experience in educational communications and marketing, as well as academic experience in her own research on health communications and social norms. She has a passion for social justice, gender equality, sexual assault awareness and prevention, and is a State Certified Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor. Sarah earned a Masters of Arts in Communications & Organizational Leadership from Marist College in 2018, and holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts, from Paier College of Art. Sarah is thrilled to be able to combine her knowledge of communication, her passion for equality, and her roots as a New Haven resident, to drive systems change with the rest of the CARE team.

501 Crescent Street
EN B110
New Haven, CT 06515
(203) 415-4431

CARE Student Alumni

Adrian Paulsen is a Graduate Assistant providing Communications and Administrative Support for the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Adrian is currently pursuing an MPH in the SCSU Department of Public Health. Adrian earned his B.A. in English and Mediterranean Studies from the University of Connecticut (UConn) in 2009. Adrian first developed an interest in public health and health promotion when he was asked to help research and draft a health promotion plan for Horizons Inc. back in 2015, where he served as a Support Coordinator for three individuals with disabilities. However, even before then Adrian had worked in a variety of fields that inform his approach to public health, ranging from academic editing and graphic design to providing paraprofessional supports to individuals with disabilities and students facing academic challenges. Adrian began his Graduate Assistant work with SCSU and CARE in the fall of 2017; currently he is primarily responsible for interfacing with the SCSU IT department and providing editorial, website design and management, and graphic design services for the CARE team, but is looking forward to contributing to grant writing and developing a more robust social media platform for CARE. Adrian is excited to be a part of a stellar team of enthusiastic professors, researchers, and students advancing the health of New Haven residents through Community-Based Participatory Research and related health promotion projects. Adrian’s public health research interests include systems science, health promotion, preventative and alternative health promotion modalities, social network analysis and theory, dissemination and implementation science, and intervention development, implementation, and evaluation.

EN B110
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515
(860) 617 – 6985

paulsena1@southernct.edu.

Cerella Craig is a Graduate Assistant, and Neighborhood Health Leaders Fellow for the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). As a Neighborhood Health Leader, Cerella is currently partnering with a community resident to identify priority health problems in the Beaver Hills neighborhood of New Haven. The team will use a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to develop programming that meets the communities identified needs, prioritizing those that address the Social Determinants of Health. Cerella is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BS in Health and Social Inequalities, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health at SCSU. As a dedicated member of the New Haven community, Cerella has worked in various capacities assessing health needs and linking communities to resources to help meet those needs.

 

EN B110
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515

craigc3@southernct.edu 

Meadeshia Mitchell is a graduate student in the master of public health program at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Meadeshia also serves a Graduate Assistant and a Neighborhood Health Leaders Fellow for the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE). Meadeshia received her B.A. in both Neuroscience and Psychology from Smith College in 2016. As a Neighborhood Health Leader for CARE, Meadeshia partnered with a resident from the West Rock neighborhood to identify solutions to pressing social and health issues. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) will be used to develop intervention plans and to understand the social and economic complexities of the community. In addition, Meadeshia worked as a graduate intern for CARE in which she helped to create and deliver a nutrition education program that served residents of New Haven. Meadeshia is delighted to be working with the CARE team and she is also excited to be working with New Haven residents. Meadeshia’s work at CARE is definitely a stepping stone to her future work as a public health practitioner.

EN B110
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515

mitchellm11@southernct.edu

Kelsey Urbano is an undergraduate student in the Public Health department at Southern Connecticut State University working as an intern for the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE). Kelsey will be graduating in the Spring of 2018 with a BS in Public Health and hopes to further her education in the near future.  During her internship with CARE, Kelsey will be focusing on the Know Your Numbers pilot program. Kelsey is very grateful and excited to have this opportunity to be a part of the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) team. Kelsey’s public health research interests include health promotion, sexual health promotion, family health, mental health, intervention development, implementation, and evaluation.

 

EN B110
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515

urbanok2@southernct.edu