staff

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.

co-leads

Sarah Allred, PhD

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

Rutgers University-Camden

Bio

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.

Sabbatical 2022-2023

Nicole A. Vaughn, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Health and Exercise Science

Rowan University

Bio
Nicole A. Vaughn, MS, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science in the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Her research as a health psychologist 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/health 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 long career in higher education. She worked as part of a small team of faculty to develop the Public Health & Wellness undergraduate degree program at Rowan University and teaches upper-level courses in program planning and leadership, public health methods and interventions and US Healthcare Systems.

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. She enjoys working with communities and researchers to design mutually beneficial quantitative and qualitative research projects that can provide data as well as direct impact to improve health and wellness for populations in the region.

RURCBOG Leadership & Staff

Dean D’Astuto

Dean D’Astuto
Chief Operating Officer
Rowan University / Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors

Bio
Corey Hoffman
Coordinator – Academic Programs
Rowan University / Rutgers – Camden Board of Governors
Bio
Corey serves as the Coordinator – Academic Programs for the Rowan University / Rutgers – Camden Board of Governors. In this role, Corey oversees the administration, strategic partnerships, data collection, and evaluation of the Joint Board’s existing academic and workforce training programs. His work also focuses on the development of new workforce training initiatives and special projects at the Joint Board.

Corey received his master’s degree in public administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania in 2020 and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech in 2011.

staff

Amanda R. Ekelburg, MA

Operations and Research Coordinator
RURCBOG/ South Jersey Institute of Population Health

Bio

Prior to joining the South Jersey Institute for Population Health (SJIPH) Amanda attended Rutgers University-Camden. In 2020 she received her B.A. in Sociology and Childhood Studies and in 2022 she obtained her M.A. in Criminal Justice. During her time at Rutgers, she served as a research assistant at the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs where she worked on numerous projects relating to understanding and addressing challenges held by residents of southern New Jersey.

Amanda’s research interest lies in the overall development of societal norms, bonds, relationships, and behaviors. She has much experience with adverse childhood experiences and disparities as they relate to both individual and family health. In joining the South Jersey Institute for Public Health (SJIPH), Amanda assists with coordinating and organizing materials relating to research funding. In addition, she helps to plan, facilitate, and lead both virtual and in-person functions such as the annual Sandbox event.

Crashell A. Allen, M.Ed, M.S., CF-SLP

Public Health Analyst
Rowan University / South Jersey Institute of Population Health

Bio

Crashell Allen, M.Ed., M.S., CF-SLP is a Speech Language Pathologist Clinical Fellow. She works as an Speech Pathologist for Burlington County Special Services School District full time. She currently holds two master degrees in Speech Language Pathology and Higher Education. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Language Hearing Science in 2018 and a Master of Education in Higher Education with a concentration in Leadership Development in 2020 from Temple University. And received her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Baylor University in 2022. She has 3 years’ experience in event planning, budget management, supervisory experience, food bank management, and website development.

Ms. Allen serves as a part-time Public Health Analyst at Rowan University with the South Jersey Institute of Population Health (SJIPH). In this role, she supports the Co-Leads in coordinating and organizing materials for the research funding initiative. She coordinates, meets and works with appropriate personnel and community stakeholders. Ms. Allen helped organize and plan the Sandbox event that supports project groups with their proposals.

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
CEO
New Jersey YMCA Alliance
Bio
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
Executive Director
Meals on Wheels of Salem County
Bio
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 Adult 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
President
Cooper Lanning Civic Assocation
Bio
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

CEO / President
Camden Community Partnership, Inc.

Bio

Dana Redd is President/CEO of Camden Community Partnership, Inc. a private nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve as the catalyst for the preservation and growth of a vibrant Camden. In this role, Ms. Redd is the key management leader responsible for implementing the strategic plan and managing a diversified special project portfolio, including neighborhood initiatives, public infrastructure, and business development.

Dana has worked in various positions from local government to the New Jersey State Senate, most recently serving as CEO of the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors. As former CEO, Ms. Redd was responsible for board operations, construction, and management of a 95,000-square-foot Joint Health Sciences Center. Ms. Redd worked to develop programmatic and policy initiatives that reflected the Board’s mission and overarching objectives of education, economic development, and civic engagement.

While serving as Mayor of Camden, she successfully transitioned the city from state takeover to local control. Camden emerged as a national model for urban recovery in America during her tenure. Redd rallied a coalition of citizens, community organizations, faith-based leaders, businesses, universities, healthcare providers, state officials, and local government entities to improve the quality of life for Camden residents.

Dana Redd is a graduate of Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey (Camden Campus) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Studies. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Human Services Administration from Lincoln University.

Megan Sheppard, MPH
Health Officer
Cumberland County Department of Health
Bio
Megan has worked in the Public Health field since 2006. Prior to that she worked in the Health and Wellness profession for 6 years. 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. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Exercise Science from Rowan University. In addition to being a licensed New Jersey Health Officer, Megan is a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Tysha Saffold, MSN, RN, PhD
Assistant Professor
Rutgers School of Nursing – Camden
Bio
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
Professor
Rowan University, School of Health Professions
Bio
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
Vice President of Government and Community Relations
Cooper University Health Care
Bio
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.