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Community Advisory Board

Community Advisory Board (CAB)

The Clinical Translational Science Institute at Children’s National (CTSI-CN) Community Advisory Board (CAB) is a diverse group of individuals that meets regularly throughout the year with the purpose of advising and guiding the CTSI-CN Steering Committee, Principal Investigator, and CTSI Cores on community engagement issues.

A major goal of the CAB is to collaboratively involve community partners in the research process in a bi-directional, co-learning environment. The CAB facilitates linkages between community members and researchers at CTSI-CN and GWU at all stages of the investigative process, from identifying research topics, to participant recruitment, and dissemination. Importantly, the CAB provides guidance to ensure that CTSI-CN researchers become more aware and respectful of the needs and interests of our local communities throughout the research process.

Community engagement for the CTSI-CN is defined as working collaboratively with and through groups who may be affected by translational research. Thus, CTSI CAB members are experienced with and dedicated to improving child and adolescent health in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. CAB members provide input on the CTSI-CN’s work based on their diverse professional and personal backgrounds, and serve as the voice of different stakeholder perspectives, including service providers, the private sector, advocacy groups, special populations, and parents.

Ultimately, the CTSI-CN CAB strives to encourage, support, and conduct collaborative work that contributes to reducing health disparities and increasing health equity among the most vulnerable populations in our region.

CTSI-CN Community Advisory Board Members

Andres Márquez-Lara (

Andres Marquez-Lara is the Founder and Passion Catalyst at Promethean Community LLC, a social enterprise that supports leaders by increasing their capacity to drive social innovation. His company designs interactive workshops to help leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to approach complex social problems in new ways that are more inclusive, participatory and systemic. This involves shifting the way leaders think, feel and interact within their organizations and communities. Andres is Faculty at the Executive Masters in Policy Leadership at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, and a Guest Lecturer on leadership at Georgetown University Institute for Transformative Leadership. He is also a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership. He has collaborated with multiple national and international organizations that include the Inter-American Development Bank, Global Giving, the Organization of American States, Feedback Labs, Carlos Slim Scholars at GWU, Root Change, the INCAE Business School in Costa Rica, the US Office of Personnel Management, and the DC Department of Mental Health. In 2014, he was named one of the emerging social innovators of the year in North America by Ashoka and American Express. In 2011, he received the George C. Askew Award from the American Academy of Certified Public Managers for his exceptional curriculum.

Whitney Ortiz, MA (

Ms. Ortiz is the founder of Eliana’s Light, a non-profit organization that supports integrative care services for children with complex medical conditions and their caregivers ( Eliana’s Light was established in loving memory of one of her twin daughters, Eliana, who passed away from a heart condition in March 2016. She has expertise in partnership building, outreach, program management, and youth development from professional roles that she has played in diverse sectors for over 20 years. Ms. Ortiz is dedicated to improving the well-being of children with complex medical needs through leveraging partnerships that use systems- and family-based approaches. With her expertise, dedication to child health, and as a parent who has interacted extensively with CNMC care providers, she offers valuable input to the CTSI-CN.

Emily Putzer, MA (

Emily Putzer has over 10 years of both domestic and international experience working directly with communities in the public health field. After serving for three years as a Health and Sanitation Volunteer with Peace Corps in El Salvador, Ms. Putzer moved to the DC metropolitan area, where she has served immigrant Latino youth, families, and communities, as well as individuals living with and at risk for HIV. She currently works to set heath priorities to improve population health in the District. Ms. Putzer appreciates the opportunity to advocate for community perspectives in clinical and translational research through her involvement in the CTSI-CN CAB.

Maria Ivonne Rivera, MPH (

Ms. Rivera is the President of Rivera Group, LLC, a DC-based organization that focuses on conducting community-engaged research. She has been conducting mixed methods research with hard-to-reach populations for over 25 years, with a focus on hard-to-reach Latino populations. She has extensive experience collecting health assessment data, conducting formative research, developing and implementing health promotion interventions, implementing media campaigns, providing interpretation and translation services, and recruiting Latinos for broader participation in research and community development. Previously, she worked at CNMC for 13 years, where she led the creation of a Language Services Program to provide medical interpretation for children and parents. As a native of El Salvador, a long-time DC resident, an advocate for Latino health and a community-based researcher with extensive networks, Ms. Rivera is an asset to the CTSI-CN CAB.

She has extensive experience leading the Rivera Group to collect health assessment data, conduct formative research, develop and implement health promotion interventions, implement media campaigns, provide interpretation and translation services, and in recruiting Latinos for broader participation in research and community development. I am highly experienced in the bilingual conduct of interviews and focus group facilitation, including the provision of logistical services with respect to coordinating research locations, participant recruitment, recording and transcription services, language translation, editing, oral interpretation services, and drafting of research reports.

Charneta Scott, PhD (

Dr. Scott is a Senior Associate with Francis and Associates, PC where she works in the capacity of a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Group Psychotherapist. Additionally, she is a Diplomate with the Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress in collaboration with the National Center for Crisis Management. She has been involved in the human and social services field for over 31 years providing social and psychological services to children and families. Dr. Scott has dedication and expertise in the application of a systems approach to promoting collaboration and learning within group process and group dynamics. Dr. Scott’s clinical experience and training in group relations offer an important contribution to the CTSI-CN CAB.

Maurice Smith, MEd (

Mr. Smith consults on Educational Programs and Community Outreach at The Rodham Institute, where he has lead the development of the Pathways to Healthcare Careers (PATH-C) initiative, the Health Education Leadership Academy, and provides advising and mentoring to interns, fellows and students. Mr. Smith has expertise in faculty and student leadership development, community capacity building, and integrating civic engagement into higher education. With this expertise and his track record of building community-academic relationships, community advocacy initiatives, and diversity and inclusion programming, Mr. Smith offers an important perspective to the CTSI-CN CAB.

CTSI-CN Community Engagement Core Members

Katy Roche, PhD
George Washington University
Director, CTSI Community Engagement Core
Chaya Merrill, DrPH
Children’s NationalMedical Center
Co-Director, CTSI Community Engagement Core
Elizabeth Andrade, DrPH, MPH
George Washington University
CTSI Community Engagement Core