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The Leadership Council includes academic, community, and health system participants, who all ensure that the materials and methodology of the study are a reflection of the community at large.  Members of the Leadership Council guide all aspects of the study including collaboration principles; leadership responsibilities; and issues such as data access, reviewing and sharing publications, and handling conflict. The Leadership Council meets biweekly to discuss various topics related to C-LEARN and operate under CPPR principles. Our current Leadership Council includes the following members:




Armen is the Assistant Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA; Director of the Innovation Lab at the Semel Institute at UCLA; Director of the Translational Technology and Communications Core at the California Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health; and Director of the Consultation-Liason and Telepsychiatry at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. His research can be broadly described as “participatory informatics” – the intersection of neuroscience, information technology, psychiatry, and community-partnered participatory techniques. This is a combination of community-based participatory research techniques (CBPR), translational neuroscience, and predictive analytics. Over the last several years, he has worked to create “Chorus Participatory Mobile Framework” – a web application to help bring down the technical and financial barriers of mobile health technology development and to engage broad stakeholders in health intervention creation and dissemination. With Chorus, non-techy people can create their own mobile health apps themselves in a matter of minutes. This dramatically increases the amount of creativity and types of individuals in creating health technologies than would be possible using traditional development methods.

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Catherine is the Community Service Program Manager for Tulane’s Prevention Research Center and the current chair for Louisiana Community Health Outreach Network. Catherine received her BSW from Southern University @ New Orleans. Catherine has worked for the last 30 years advocating for individuals living below the poverty levels, also, working to educated communities around health disparities such as HIV/AIDS, breast and cervical cancers, and other cancers, obesity and active living, She’s one of the founding member of Women with a Vision, a non- profit organization that has been in existence for the last 25 years. . She provides structured mentoring process for community members about the PRC’s activities. She also implements training programs for community residents, barbers, stylists and health care providers around health issues. Catherine provide information on webinars that presents CBPR for organizations and neighborhood associations. In the past she has worked with ex-offenders in the pre-release program through Community Service Center. She is the Co-Regional Director for the South region for the National Community Committee (NCC), on the Executive Board of the Louisiana Cancer Control Partnership, and the leadership committee for the American Cancer Society’s Coffee Program. Also, a Community Health Worker Common Core (C3) fellow and Chair of Louisiana community Health Outreach Network.

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Arthur was born in the Nation’s Capital but his roots are in New Orleans and date back to visits with his grandmother who lived in the Lower Ninth Ward on Fostall Street.   He grew up in Washington, DC, and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The George Washington University and the University of the District of Columbia, respectively. He relocated to New Orleans in 1999 where he has established himself as an accomplished fundraising professional and non-profit leader with a number of educational institutions and non-profit organizations. This has included work with Tulane and Xavier Universities and the New Orleans Public Schools. More recently, he has served as Regional Vice President for Major Gifts with the American Heart Association, Director for the Office of Development for Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana, and Chief Development Officer for Operation Reach. As CSED’s Chief Executive Officer, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and works closely with staff and volunteers to advance CSED’s key initiatives focused on Food Security, the Natural Environment and the Built Environment. Being on the Board of New Harmony High School provides opportunities to explore and development young minds and leaders of the future!



Michael has worked in disaster recovery research for the last 5 years. He received his BA in History from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Southern California. He works at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, previously working on the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience project, where communities throughout Los Angeles County developed tailored strategies for resilience in response to disasters. He is also interested in technology and its applications in healthcare and health service delivery.



Diana is the Director of Mission for Anna’s Place NOLA, a mission of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans, where she planned and implemented St. Anna's Medical Mission in 2006.  Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Diana held positions in local hospitals and was named a “Great 100 Nurse” of Louisiana in 2004.

Diana was a founding Board of Director of REACH-NOLA, a community-academic partnership with the goal of improving access to quality healthcare in New Orleans and was instrumental in coordinating their Mental Health and Infrastructure Training Program with special emphasis on Community Health Workers.  She was recognized as a Team Member in the presentation of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science, 2014 Team Science Award, Community Partners in Care Council as a result of this work.  Diana served as Coordinator of the Louisiana Mobile Health Clinics Coalition, board member of 504Healthnet, Clinical Instructor for the Tulane University School of Medicine, co-lead for NOLA Partnership for Mental Health, and on the councils of Community and Patient Partnered Research Network (CPPRN) and Resiliency Against Depression Disparities (RADD).

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Mara Polk is a local artist, member of the NOLA Partnership for Mental Health, heavily involved in the New Orleans NAMI chapter. Mara has served as a panelist, community partner, and participant in several community partnered research efforts.



Jessie has served as a trainer for those working with persons suffering from mental illness for many years. He has regularly presented to the recruit class of the New Orleans Police Department and deputies from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office being trained to join the Crisis Intervention Team. Jessie also serves as a consultant to the Tulane School of Medicine Mental Health Department. Jessie served as the Peer Support Specialist for NAMI New Orleans’ Mental Health Court as well as being a staff support person for the Uptown Drop-In. Jessie is a presenter for NAMI Signature Programs, In Our Own Voice and Sharing Hope, as well as a NAMI Peer-to-Peer teacher, a dedicated NAMI Connection support group facilitator and NAMI Connection State Trainer. Jessie is also a 1-on-1 Peer Educator and was named as NAMI New Orleans’ 2015 Peer Educator of the Year. Jessie Smith has lived with mental illness throughout his life, being diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was twelve or thirteen years old.

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Ben is a primary care internist in New Orleans who works in partnerships to improve health outcomes in under-resourced communities. Ben is an associate professor at LSU School of Medicine and School of Public Health, where he serves as Section Chief of Community and Population Medicine, Director of the Center for Healthcare Value and Equity, and Director of the MD/MPH Dual Degree Program. He is an active clinician, researcher, and educator at LSU Health Sciences Center.

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Prior to working at LSUHSC-NO, Olivia’s work focused on health and social justice issues for LGBTQ+ students in college athletics, low-income persons with HIV/AIDS, and justice-involved persons. Olivia’s current efforts are centered in community partnered research to address mental and behavioral health disparities in underserved communities. Olivia is also a first year PhD student at LSUHSC-NO School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Health and Community Sciences. Olivia seeks to extend her current work into incarceration and reentry health disparities and services, Medicaid expansion evaluation, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. 



Kenneth is Director of the Center for Health Services and Society at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Weil Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at David Geffen School of Medicine and Professor of Health Policy and Management, Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA.  He is staff psychiatrist at the West Los Angeles VA and affiliated adjunct staff at the RAND Corporation. He is Associate Director of the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program. His work focuses on using Community Partnered Participatory Research to improve equity in services access, quality and outcomes for persons with behavioral health needs. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and Principal Investigator of Community Partners in Care (CPIC), a group-randomized trial of community engagement to improve outcomes for depressed adults in under-resourced communities. He co-led the American Red Cross post-Katrina mental health recovery effort in New Orleans and is PI of the PCORnet Community and Patient Partnered Research Network across Los Angeles and New Orleans for partnered research to improve behavioral health equity. He is co-Director for Research for the UCLA/VA Center of Excellence for Veteran Resilience and Recovery, to address issues of homelessness and behavioral health.  



Ashley is an associate professor at LSU Schools of Public Health and Medicine.  She directs the Louisiana Community Health Worker Institute and serves as a board member for the National Association of Community Health Workers.  She has over a decade of experience conducting community-academic partnered research.    

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