African American Cultural Ambassadors

Reverend Dr. LeRoy O. Perry, Jr.

Rev. Dr. LeRoy O. Perry, Jr.

Pastor, St. Stephens AME Zion Church and Cultural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research program

The Reverend Dr. Leroy O. Perry is the Pastor of St. Stephens AME Zion Church. He served on Mayor O'Leary's commission for diversity study for the City of Waterbury, and as chairman of the Clergy Support committee for Waterbury Opportunities Industrialization Center, where he worked to foster African American economic development in the area. His recent interests include building wells in Africa, establishing a community credit union with New Opportunities Inc. and development of low income housing, with veterans as a major concern.

Although he was aware of health care disparities before becoming a Cultural Ambassador, he was not aware of the clinical research conducted at Yale. Like many African Americans of his generation, there was an historical stigma dating back to the Tuskegee Study that stymied his interest in clinical research. He was pleased to discover that YCCI wanted to establish a partnership with the community that is built on an informed and clear definition of policies procedures, and practices regarding clinical research. He feels the partnership is a valuable learning exchange and a necessary adhesive needed to bridge an effective community relationship for the advancement of clinical research.

Reverend Perry is proud to be on the team of Cultural Ambassadors that includes doctors, scientists community members, and clergy leaders, whose participation will contribute to the building of a better and healthier tomorrow.

Reverend Eldren Morrison

Rev. Eldren Morrison

Pastor, Varick Memorial AME Zion Church and Cultural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research program

In 2007 Reverend Eldren D. Morrsion became the 42nd pastor of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church. Reverend Morrison served as a local minister at Steele Hill Church until he received his first appointment at the age of 18 to the Warner Temple AME Zion Church in Lancaster, South Carolina. Reverend Morrison has served several Zion congregations including Pleasant Hill, Heath Springs, SC, the Historic Metropolitan Church, Chester South Carolina and the Liberty Hill Church in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. The ministry has enabled Reverend Morrison the opportunity to travel both near and far, and he has been called on to preach, teach and conduct revivals in Europe and Africa. He was currently serves on the Board of Fire Commissioners for the City of New Haven.

Reverend Elvin Clayton

Rev. Elvin Clayton

Pastor, Redeemers Church and Cultural Ambassador to the Yale Clinical Research program

Reverend Clayton is a native of Waterbury Connecticut, where he attended the local schools and graduated from W. F. Kaynor Regional Technical Vocational School. Reverend Clayton worked in the automotive refinishing business for 25 years. He began his pastoral vocation in 1983, after years of a passionate pursuit of music that included playing in church. He matriculated at Slidell and Hartford Seminaries and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Hartford Hospital. He is now the chaplain for the Plainville fire department and has been the Pastor of Redeemers Church for 18 years.

Reverend Clayton became a Cultural Ambassador so that he could help raise awareness of the importance of clinical trials for his community. The program has taught him the importance of diversity among clinical trial participants to include people of different ethnic backgrounds, as well as women and children. He said that YCCI brochures and pamphlets on clinical research have been helpful in generating discussions about different diseases and have led to talk about cancer, diabetes, and research in general. “The program has helped to dispel the myths that clinical research means being a guinea pig,” he said. “It is also helping to inform my community that everyone needs to participate in research.”