Community Advisory Board (CAB)


The Community Advisory Board (CAB) oversees and guides core projects with the HPRC. The CAB provides important links to the broader Boston and Massachusetts community, other states, and the National Community Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Prevention Research Center (PRC) program. Members participate in strategic planning and project activities and assist with developing community-appropriate dissemination strategies.

CAB responsibilities have included:

    • Contributing to the HPRC’s Community Partners Meeting. Specifically, CAB members advise on the content of the meeting based on the interests and needs of various community members. Past meetings addressed screen time, sugar-sweetened beverages and water access in communities, schools, and work sites.
    • Engaging in strategic planning for the HPRC’s research agenda. This process will be guided by input received and ideas generated at the Community Partners Meeting.
    • Assisting in developing the structure and content of the Leaders in Health community training program.The goal of this program was to build the capacity of our community partners by providing staff with an introduction to the fundamentals of community-based participatory research, program planning, and evaluation.
    • Assisting in the development and dissemination of the Out of School Time Nutrition and Physical Activity (OSNAP). Members involved with out of school time programming, city and state agencies, and  local youth serving organizations, provided input on study design, identification and recruitment of out of school time programs and other collaborators, intervention materials, interpretation of results, and strategies for dissemination. Several organizations who have participated in the community committee over the years (the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health) have worked directly with the HPRC to disseminate OSNAP through Boston’s REACH initiative and the state’s Mass in Motion Kids program.


      Initial appointments are for two years and appointments will continue to be reconsidered on a two-year basis. Full meetings occur quarterly each year. Between meetings, CAB members have opportunities to get involved with specific PRC projects throughout the year.


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      Nineequa Blanding, MPH

      Vice President of Grantmaking
      Health Resources in Action

      Ms. Blanding serves as Vice President of grantmaking, overseeing the growth of biomedical research grantmaking through The Medical Foundation, as well as community health grantmaking in partnership with healthcare, governmental, and community-based clients. She brings over 12 years of experience in program planning, grantmaking, research, and evaluation in academia, health care, and local health department settings. Prior to joining HRiA, Ms. Blanding served as the Director of Health and Wellness at the Boston Foundation, where she oversaw the development, implementation, and evaluation of one of the Foundation’s strategic priorities to address the health needs of the people of Greater Boston, with a special focus on low-income people of color. She has also held positions at the Boston Public Health Commission, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Spelman College, a master’s degree with honors in public health from Long Island University, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health to conduct post-baccalaureate research in trauma-related risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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      Mary Bovenzi, MPH

      Director, Chronic Disease Prevention & Control Division
      Boston Public Health Commission

      Mary Bovenzi is the Director of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Division at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), leading BPHC’s work on primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases including obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The division implements high quality programs and policy/systems change projects focusing on increasing Boston residents’ access to nutrition and healthy foods, physical activity, workplace wellness, and cancer screening. Ms. Bovenzi has been with the BPHC for seven years, also serving as the division’s Associate Director and as Project Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded Partnerships to Improve Community Health project. Prior to BPHC, she served as a CDC Public Health Prevention Fellow, and received her MPH from the University at Albany School of Public Health.

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      Elana Brochin, MS, MPH

      Program Director for Health Equity

      Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

      Elana Brochin is the Program Director for Health Equity at the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC). In this role, she drives MACDC’s emerging work to promote health equity by accelerating the convergence of community development and health through policy, partnerships, technical assistance to MACDC’s members, training, research, and other strategies.

      Prior to working at MACDC, Elana worked as the Health Care Project Manager at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO), where she managed the update of the Attorney General’s Community Benefits Guidelines. Previous to her work at the AGO, Elana worked as a Research Coordinator and Research Associate at the Institute for Aging Research.

      Elana holds a MS/MPH in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition and Public Health from Tufts University, and a BA in Sociology and Feminist Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University

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      Fernanda Campbell, PhD

      Senior Manager of Research

      Boston Opportunity Agenda

      Fernanda Campbell is a researcher with experience in public health, neuroscience and education. She serves as the Senior Manager of Research for the Boston Opportunity Agenda. In this role, Fernanda works to increase cross-agencies collaboration around data on early education and care, leads analysis and publications about early education and care, supports a city-wide project to measure family engagement, and co-manages a three-year project to reduce disconnection rates among opportunity youth in Boston.

      She holds a degree in Speech & Hearing Sciences from the State University of Bahia and a Master’s Degree in Neuroscience from the Federal University of Bahia (Salvador-BA, Brazil). After working five years at a safety net hospital in Brazil, researching and mainly treating people with orofacial clefts, Fernanda moved to the United States as a Fulbright scholar and earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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      Jill Carter, MA, EdM

      Acting Assistant Superintendent, Office of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness
      Boston Public Schools

      Jill Carter, MA, EdM, is the Assistant Superintendent for the BPS Office of Health and Wellness, leading the district’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Approach. The Health and Wellness Office includes: Wellness Policy, Promotions and Evaluation, Social Emotional Learning Instruction, Health Education, Physical Education and Physical Activity. For more than 20 years, Jill has worked on policy, curriculum development, implementation, training and research of school-based health programs. She has held various leadership roles in BPS for more than 10 years. As the Curriculum Development Coordinator for the School-based Wellness Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health, she co-authored Planet Health: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Teaching Middle School Nutrition and Physical Activity, an evidence-based curriculum. Jill started her career in education as a high school and middle school science teacher. She earned her Master of Education degree in teaching and curriculum from Harvard University and her Master of Arts degree in exercise physiology from the University of Iowa. She is passionate about creating healthy schools, eating healthy and being physically active, and the power of teams to solve difficult problems.

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      Kristen McKinnon

      Assistant Director, Student and Family Support
      Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

      Kristen McKinnon is the Associate Director of the Office of Student and Family Support (SFS) at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. SFS works in partnership with educators, schools, students, families, and other agencies and organizations across the Commonwealth to advance the Department’s mission. This work helps further the Department’s strategic priorities, including but not limited to supporting social emotional learning, health, and safety.

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      Tish McMullin, JD

      Executive Director
      Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals

      Tish McMullin, JD is the Executive Director of the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals (COBTH). Prior to this role, Ms. McMullin served as Special Counsel and Director of Government Affairs for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). In this role, Ms. McMullin led the growing BIDMC system’s external relations with local, state and federal governments, and provided strategic guidance and legal counsel for a large, Harvard-affiliated academic medical center and its affiliated community hospitals.

      Before joining BIDMC in July 2007, Ms. McMullin led Government Affairs offices for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans and began her career in health care as a Government Relations Associate at Partners Healthcare. McMullin has also served as Assistant General Counsel in the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a Chancellor’s Scholarship for Excellence and earned her law degree from New England Law, Magna Cum Laude.

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      Ra'Shaun Nalls, MPA

      Director of Community Engagement
      Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

      Ra’Shaun Nalls has worked with Boston-area community-based organizations for more than 15 years, with an emphasis on youth development and community organizing. He has been acknowledged for his community service by the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), the Boston Foundation, Boston Police Department, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, and the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center. Prior to his work at Harvard Chan, Ra’Shaun was a program manager at the Boston Public Health Commission; a community coordinator at Project R.I.G.H.T.; and at Roxbury Youthworks as an advocate for young women under state custody and at high risk of sexual exploitation.

      Ra’Shaun holds a Master in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies, both from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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      Shari Nethersole, MD

      Medical Director for Community Health
      Boston Children’s Hospital

      Shari Nethersole is the medical director for community health at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). For over 25 years, she has served as a pediatrician in Boston. In her role as medical director, she oversees the hospital’s community health mission, which works to address the most pressing health issues affecting children in our city including asthma, mental health, obesity, and child development. Nethersole works with community organizations, community health centers, and city and state agencies to address health disparities and improve the health of children and families through programs, partnerships, and advocacy. She established the Community Asthma Initiative, as well as the Fitness in the City Program to address childhood obesity. She’s also an active advocate at the city and state level for child health priorities. Nethersole received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her pediatric residency at BCH.

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      Lea Susan Ojamaa, MPH

      Deputy Director, Bureau of Community Health and Prevention
      Massachusetts Department of Public Health

      Lea Susan Ojamaa, MPH, is a Deputy Director for the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In this position she provides strategic leadership and management to the Prevention and Wellness Branch of the Bureau.

      Within the branch are the Divisions of Community Health Planning and Engagement, Health Protection and Promotion, Clinical Preventive Services as well as the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. Programs include asthma, breast, cervical, colorectal and comprehensive cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, overweight/obesity, tobacco cessation and prevention, oral health, occupational health, rural health, primary care workforce, community health workers, Mass in Motion, and healthy community design initiatives.

      Lea Susan has held various positions since coming to the Department in 2000, including direct work in tobacco prevention and healthy communities. She has been in a leadership position since 2011 and took on the role of Chronic Disease Director for Massachusetts in 2013. As a Senior Manager in the Department, Lea Susan currently represents the Department on the MA Food Policy Council as well as the MA Healthy Aging Collaborative Executive Committee.

      Lea Susan is very committed to public health as social justice and has been pleased to have the opportunity to be part of a team at the Department working to move strategies upstream to address root causes of health inequities and the social determinants of health. Lea Susan actively works with her team to bring a leading with race and racism framework to all prevention and wellness activities. Creating healthy and more equitable communities is what brought and keeps Lea Susan in public health.

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      Carlene Pavlos, MTS

      Executive Director
      Massachusetts Public Health Association

      Carlene Pavlos is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, a statewide advocacy organization promoting policies that address the social and environmental conditions that determine health. MPHA is committed to health and racial equity and utilizes health equity framing in identifying policy goals. Prior to joining MPHA in April of 2018, Ms. Pavlos spent nearly 20 years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, most recently as the Director of the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention. As the Bureau Director she oversaw the Department’s work in the areas of violence prevention and services, suicide prevention, child fatality review, unintentional injury prevention, school and adolescent health, health access, nutrition and physical activity, tobacco control and prevention, chronic disease prevention and health systems transformation. Ms. Pavlos brings to her work a commitment to social justice and addressing health inequities – including racism, misogyny, homophobia/heterosexism, classism, and transphobia. She also has extensive experience working with incarcerated women, a population at particular risk for violent victimization and its associated health impacts. Ms. Pavlos holds a B.S. from Lafayette College and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

      Headshot of Claire Santarelli

      Claire Santarelli, RD, CDE, LDN

      Director, Division of Health Protection & Promotion
      Massachusetts Department of Public Health

      Claire Santarelli directs the Division of Health Protection and Promotion in the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. A registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, Claire spent the first ten years of her career in direct patient care before seeking the opportunity to have a broader population impact by transitioning to the Department of Public Health.  Her work focuses on implementation of policies and environments that protect and promote health in a variety of settings, and creating sustainable linkages between health systems and evidence-based resources in the community for the prevention and management of illness and injury. She is passionate about changing the conditions that impact people’s abilities to achieve their optimal well-being, and understands the critical role that structural racism plays in creating those conditions.