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Center for Community Engagement and Health Equity

The Center for Community Engagement and Health Equity (CEHE) within Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center, builds on a longstanding commitment to high-quality, expert, and patient-centered cancer care, screening, and prevention across the state of Connecticut. The Center is dedicated to ensuring cancer health equity and improving outcomes, with an emphasis on traditionally underserved neighborhoods. The Center leverages a wide range of approaches to community-engaged research, community outreach, education, policy & advocacy, and access to clinical care.

Mission: To bridge partnerships between patients, communities, scientists, and providers and use data-driven approaches to achieve equitable care delivery and research across the cancer care continuum.

Aims: The aims of the Center for Community Engagement and Health Equity are to: 1) define our catchment area, identify disparities in cancer burden, and help YCC prioritize the cancer research and control needs of catchment communities; 2) collaborate with YCC scientists and clinicians to communicate community needs, catalyze high impact science, and drive community-responsive clinical care; 3) involve community stakeholders in planning, participating in, and conducting cancer research; 4) disseminate innovation to reduce cancer burden and disparities, including dissemination to catchment communities (e.g., novel therapeutics, study findings), and influence policy at the local, national, and global levels.

Strategic Functions

  • Leadership & Administration
  • Community Engagement
  • Participatory Informatics & Data Analytics
  • Education & Professional Development
  • Clinical Collaborations
  • Community Dissemination & Programming
  • Policy & Advocacy


Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, is Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Health Equity. Dr. Nunez-Smith’s accomplished leadership since joining the faculty at Yale in 2006, innovative ideas for expanding our positive impact in our communities, and passionate and determined values will propel our efforts to improve our understanding of and reduce health disparities relevant to cancer care.

Deputy Director

Jessica Lewis, PhD, MFT, Associate Research Scientist in Epidemiology, has directed research projects on health behaviors, health equity, and women’s health at Yale for more than 25 years. Her research investigates the interplay of complex biomedical, behavioral, social, and structural factors that influence individual and family health. She uses this lens to examine challenges faced by those often marginalized by the health care system and by society.

CEHE Core Faculty

Beth Jones, PhD, MPH , Research Scientist and Lecturer in Epidemiology, is a cancer epidemiologist whose work and teaching focus is on health disparities. Her research is focused on racial/ethnic differences in cancer screening and cancer outcomes.
Xavier Llor, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, systemizes risk stratification processes to ensure consistency throughout Smilow Cancer Hospital and our Care Center delivery Network and directs screening services across the health system and in community settings. Dr. Llor also works with health system leadership to implement new screening services driven by Yale Cancer Center research findings.
Brita Roy, MD, MHS, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, is a clinician-investigator, researching ways to use assets-based approaches to mitigating disparities in health outcomes by identifying and promoting positive psychosocial factors at the individual and community levels.
Andrea Silber, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, is a leader in clinical trial engagement among underserved and under-represented minorities, personal relationship building, and designing patient navigator programs. Dr. Silber works to expand clinical trial participation across the region.
Karen Wang, MD, MHS, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics, works at the intersection of health equity, informatics, and data justice with a focus in optimizing health and health-related information, data, and technology for marginalized communities.


Program Manager

Erin Singleton, MPH, Program Manager, collaborates closely with leadership to support the development of a robust infrastructure to ensure Yale cancer science is responsive to the needs of all Connecticut residents. She has 15 years of extensive project management experience and working at the University and Smilow Cancer Hospital.

Community Research Liaison

Maurice Williams, BA, MPA , Community Research Liaison, leverages his relationships with community-based organization leaders, personal contacts, and connections to local and state institutions, to support the work of Yale Cancer Center. He has extensive civic engagement and community outreach experience from his work with NAACP, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, and Yale Center for Clinical Investigation.