SJIPH is led by two distinguished faculty members of Rowan University and Rutgers University-Camden. Together, they bring more than four decades of research excellence and community-based, collaborative investigation into some of our region’s most complex challenges. Both have published in their respective areas of focus, and led other academic-community partnership funding initiatives of varying scales.


Nicole A. Vaughn, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Health and Exercise Science

Rowan University


Nicole A. Vaughn, MS, PhD is a faculty member and research health psychologist in the Public Health and Wellness program in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Her research over the past 20 years has focused on community-based participatory and community-engaged methods to reduce health disparities in African American and Hispanic/Latino/Latinx communities, primarily. She has led evidence-based and evidence-informed chronic disease prevention interventions in urban and rural settings including churches, community centers, after-school centers and grocery stores. She has been a principal investigator and co-investigator on multiple, federal, state, local and industry funded grants. Dr. Vaughn has presented at national conferences and published in scholarly journals focused on reducing disparities for minority communities. She has served on national review boards and as an ad hoc reviewer for the National Institutes of Health. She has been a peer reviewer for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Journal of Community Psychology and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.

Dr. Vaughn has BS in psychology from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD and a MS and PhD in medical psychology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ F. Hebert School of Medicine in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Vaughn was selected for the prestigious Ford Foundation Fellowship as a pre-doctoral scholar. Additionally, she completed a 1-year postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular behavioral medicine and led a family based intervention on health in Washington, DC. She also completed a 2-year MT-DIRC fellowship in dissemination and implementation with Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Vaughn has taught high school, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students across her career in higher education.

Over the years, Dr. Vaughn has received awards for her community engaged work in Philadelphia, PA and Southern New Jersey. Recently, she was part of a team that received the 2020 Best Collaborative Award from the Non-Profit Development Center of Southern New Jersey. She received the 2019 Unsung Hero in Public Health Award from the National Community Based Organization Network and was named as 1 of 4 finalists for the 2021 Remarkable Woman initiative for PHL 17 News. Dr. Vaughn’s current research involves engaging with multi-sectoral community partners on research focused to address food access and food insecurity for adults and families in New Jersey.

Sarah Allred, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Director, Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs

Rutgers University-Camden


Sarah Allred, PhD, is Associate Professor in Psychology at Rutgers University – Camden, and came to the University in 2009 after three years of postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Allred earned her Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of Washington. She also holds a BS in Applied Physics with minors in mathematics and philosophy from Brigham Young University in Utah. 

For her primary research on the relationship between visual perception and memory, Dr. Allred received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award. She also teaches courses on research methods, experimental psychology, and perception and evolutionary psychology; she is a past recipient of both the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Presidential Teaching Award.

Broadly, Allred’s academic research approach is to find sensible and useful interpretations of large and noisy data sets through computational and statistical modeling techniques. This includes research projects: (1) Bayesian modeling of publicly available local area health data (funded by RWJF and UW-Madison ); (2) Predicting an individual’s health from objective and subjective measures of neighborhood quality; (3) How population vs county-based analysis of data affects the utility of Community Health Needs Assessments; (4) Leveraging big data to benefit small communities (funded by RWJF). 

As Faculty Director of the Walter Rand Institute, Dr. Allred marshals the academic and intellectual resources of the university to help fulfill Rutgers’ foundational obligation to civic and community engagement. To do this, she fosters partnerships between academic researchers, WRI staff, and community stakeholders. Dr. Allred enjoys delving into complex data sets and working with staff to extract from the data content that will be meaningful for South Jersey.

oversight committee

The oversight committee plays an integral role in establishing and leading the inaugural funding cycle of SJIPH by providing key support to the co-leads in the call for proposals, evaluation process, and dissemination efforts. The committee brings diverse expertise and invaluable local and regional perspectives that are vital to this initial funding process.

Darrin W. Anderson, Sr., PhD, MS, CSCS

Darrin W. Anderson, Sr., PhD, MS, CSCS

New Jersey YMCA Alliance

Dr. Anderson is the CEO of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and leads a statewide organization consisting of 32 YMCAs focused on statewide initiatives, public policy, service delivery and strategic partnerships. Through team synergy and operational alignment, Darrin drives fundraising, communications, capacity building and program development. Darrin earned his BS and MS from the University of Delaware and a PhD in Applied Kinesiology from Temple University. He completed a Clinical Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Internship at Christiana Care’s Eugene DuPont Preventive Medicine & Rehabilitation Institute.

Darrin is the former chair of the US Regional II Health Equity Council; serves on the NJ Governor’s Taskforce for Cancer & Chronic Disease Prevention and a board member of the Advocates for Children of New Jersey. His research interest is in pedagogy, exercise science, health policy and equity. He has a professional interest in non-profit leadership, fund development, youth development and community engagement.

Carly Melchert

Carly Melchert

Meals on Wheels of Salem County

Carly Melchert serves as the Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Salem County (MOWSC). For 40 years, MOWSC has served home delivered nutritious meals and the comfort of friendship to home-bound senior and disabled residents in Salem County, delivering between 35,000 and 40,000 meals to clients throughout the county annually and engaging a network of volunteers who drive more 60,000 miles and provide over 5,000 hours of service per year. Her visionary leadership style along with a deep knowledge of community resources affecting seniors, has elevated MOWSC to be lauded as “The Best Organization,” and “Best Service Benefiting Adults” by the Salem County Chamber of Commerce several years in a row.

Carly holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Fitness Management form Rowan University.

Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts

Cooper Lanning Civic Assocation

Mrs. Roberts has served as the President of the Cooper Lanning Civic Association for the past 16 years. Previously, she taught for 10 years in the Camden City Public Schools.

A lifelong Camden resident, Mrs. Roberts volunteers her time by contributing to food banks and homeless shelters, and providing clothing for the needy. In addition, she is a committed community partner for the Camden Cooper Lanning Promise Neighborhood Initiative, which focuses on creating opportunities for children and families, who live within the Cooper Plaza and Lanning Square communities.

Dana Redd, MAHS

Dana Redd, MAHS

Rowan University / Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors

Dana Redd currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors.

In this role, Ms. Redd is responsible for overseeing agency operations, as well as, the construction and management of a 95,000-square-foot Joint Health Sciences Center located at Broadway and MLK Boulevard in Camden. The building is designed around the spirit of collaboration and shared spaces in order to deliver interdisciplinary education and training opportunities to a new generation of health care providers while also providing world-class research space for Rutgers, Rowan and Camden County College faculty developing innovations in the biosciences and allied health.  Additionally, Ms. Redd is charged with developing programmatic and policy initiatives which reflect the Board’s mission and overarching objectives of education, economic development and civic engagement. Dana completed the Master of Arts in Human Services (MAHS) Program at Lincoln University, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers School of Business–Camden.

Megan Sheppard, MPH

Megan Sheppard, MPH

Cumberland County Department of Health

Megan has worked in Public Health for 14 years and prior to that worked in the Health and Wellness profession.  Megan is currently the Health Officer for the Cumberland County Department of Health and oversees all aspects of the Health Department, which includes assuring that all programs meet New Jersey Department of Health standards and that the department stays true to their mission of being dedicated to the promotion, protection, and improvement of the public’s health.

Megan combines her health and wellness and public health experience when working to achieve healthier outcomes and lifestyles for Cumberland County residents.  Megan holds a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Exercise Science from Rowan University.  Megan is a Licensed New Jersey Health Officer and is a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.  

Tysha Saffold, MSN, RN, PhD

Tysha Saffold, MSN, RN, PhD

Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden

Dr. Tyshaneka Saffold is an Assistant Professor at the Rutgers University School of Nursing-Camden. Dr. Saffold is an advocate who is passionate about improving the health of those in underserved populations. Her core values shape her philosophy of nursing: everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and compassion regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Her service relates closely to her commitment to ensure fair and equitable service to all regardless of their income level. Dr. Saffold volunteers both locally and internationally, providing free health and education services to community members.

Dr. Saffold’s program of research is health disparities in urban populations; prevention of both social and racial injustice; impact of poverty on health; and improving the health of vulnerable populations. Dr. Saffold has been a nurse for 18 years, with clinical expertise in the areas of cardiac care, community health, geriatrics, and leadership. Currently, her research centers on social determinants of health; particularly health disparities, social injustice, racial injustice, and inequalities in healthcare.

Robert R. Weaver, PhD

Robert R. Weaver, PhD

Rowan University, School of Health Professions

In 2016 Robert Weaver joined the faculty of Health and Exercise Science at Rowan University, after serving as a faculty member in Sociology at Youngstown State University and in Health Sciences at Ontario Tech University.

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Dr. Weaver has taught numerous classes in Sociology and the Health Sciences and Community Health, and has engaged in a variety of public health and healthcare research projects using a variety of research approaches – quantitative, qualitative, and community-based. His main interest lies in examining how social conditions shape individuals’ health and well-being, and most recently has examined the prevalence and dimensions of food insecurity among university students.

Anthony Welch, MBA

Anthony Welch, MBA

Cooper University Health Care

Anthony Welch serves as Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Cooper University Health Care.  Anthony provides strategic guidance on public policy issues affecting health care and Cooper, and helps to oversee Cooper’s advocacy efforts in connection with legislative, policy, and regulatory initiatives.

Prior to joining Cooper, Anthony served as Director of Policy and Strategic Planning for the New Jersey Department of Health.  Previously, Anthony served as a senior policy advisor in the Office of Governor Chris Christie.  He has also served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Newark Now, a community organization co-founded by Senator Cory Booker.  In addition, he has served as a program officer at The Nicholson Foundation, as a project coordinator at Rutgers University, and as President of the national youth leadership organization Do Something, Inc. Anthony received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Rutgers University – New Brunswick, and a MBA from Rutgers University – Newark.

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