Network of Community Advisors

During the Spring of 2020, the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods  began a multi-phase visioning and planning process to examine our strategic direction. We recently completed internal interviews of PRCHN faculty, staff and interns, and assessed them for main themes. For the next phase, we are seeking input from community partners and stakeholders. This will help establish a foundation for engagement and reframing our NOCA.

Please check back for updates. 

Thank you! 


About the Network of Community Advisors 

The Network of Community Advisors (NOCA) was the primary advisory body to the PRCHN (“the Center”) from 2009-2019. NOCA’s role was to provide guidance and leadership to carry out the goals and objectives of the Center, to provide annual feedback on the progress of the Center, and to bring current issues in area neighborhoods to the attention of the Center.

NOCA members worked side-by-side with the Center leadership and staff to:

    • define research questions,
    • determine how to best answer the questions, and
    • decide how to spread or act on the findings.

NOCA was comprised of two membership levels. An “Advising Partner” is a member who serves on NOCA and serves on a core sub-committee and/or research working group. An “Advisor” is a member who serves on NOCA but does not also serve on a sub-committee and/or research working group. 

Past NOCA Co-Chairs

  • Inaugural Co-Chair: Tim Tramble, MPA
  • Inaugural Co-Chair: Jennifer Scofield, MA, CHES
  • Helen Dumski, MA, RDN, LD
  • Stanley Miller, MNAL
  • Adriennie Hatten, PhD
  • Brandon King, MBA
  • Lena Grafton, MPH, CHES
  • Najah Muhammad, MPA
  • Morgan Taggart, MUPDD
  • Patricia Terstenyak, MPH

Governing Guidelines

  • Mission
  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Membership & Leadership
  • NOCA Committees
  • Leadership
  • Meeting Requirements
  • Communications
  • Amendments


The mission of the Network of Community Advisors (NOCA) is to provide guidance to the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) leadership to carry out the goals and objectives of the Center, to provide annual feedback on the progress of the Center, and to bring current issues in the neighborhoods to the PRCHN.

The NOCA/PRCHN collaboration benefits the PRCHN by addressing and meeting its mission to foster partnerships within urban neighborhoods to develop, test, and disseminate effective strategies and interventions to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic disease. Specifically, we will partner with neighborhood residents and leaders, and the community organizations that serve the neighborhoods, to address significant environmental and lifestyle issues that are not only strongly linked to chronic disease (e.g., asthma, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer), but are influenced by the conditions, disparities and resources of the neighborhood itself.

Roles & Responsibilities

The NOCA partners with leadership of the PRCHN to:

    • Identify community needs and concerns;

    • Provide a voice for their community regarding current and future PRC research and activities;

    • Set research priorities in the community and provide input as needed;

    • Identify community members to participate on working groups and ad hoc committees;

    • Promote community support for and involvement in community-based research, including the specific research carried out by the PRCHN;

    • Endorse, support and help to identify resources to implement and sustain local community-based research projects;

    • Assist in planning and implementation of activities to educate community leaders and health professionals about the strengths and potential of community-based research;

    • Attend NOCA meetings and serve on subcommittees, research working groups, and ad hoc committees, as needed; and

    • Assist in recruiting and mentoring new NOCA members.

Membership & Leadership

Membership: Members represent and/or closely work with the individuals that the PRCHN is designed to serve. The Network of Community Advisors (NOCA) is comprised of three groups including residents of underserved/disadvantaged neighborhoods, community leaders, and representatives of community organizations and health service providers. Each NOCA member will have one vote. Community organizations and health service providers may contribute not more than two voting members to NOCA.

Terms: NOCA members will commit to serve for 3 years. Members may serve up to two consecutive 3-year terms. One-third of NOCA will be replaced annually. New NOCA members can be nominated by NOCA Co-Chairs, current NOCA members and by the PRCHN Director to the NOCA Governance Committee. Nominations can be submitted to the Governance Committee up to 30 days prior to the final meeting of the calendar year. NOCA elections will take place during the final meeting of each calendar year. Three-year terms begin with the first meeting of the following year.

Election Process: At the first meeting of NOCA concurrent with or following the adoption of these Governance Guidelines, NOCA organized its membership into three tracks. Members of the first track served until the annual election of NOCA in 2011; members of the second track served until the annual election of NOCA in 2012; and members of the third track served until the annual election of NOCA in 2013. At the annual election of NOCA in 2011 and each following year, members of NOCA will be elected to serve three-year terms in the track of NOCA members whose terms just ended.

NOCA will be made up of no more than 30 members serving as Advising Partners. Approximately one-third of the membership will serve as Advisors while the remaining two-thirds will be Advising Partners.

Advisors will participate in quarterly NOCA meetings.

Advising Partners will serve on one or more of the NOCA Committees, PRCHN Core Subcommittees or Research Working Groups, providing regular input, guidance and oversight in addition to attending quarterly meetings.

Advisors will participate in quarterly NOCA meetings.

Advising Partners will serve on one or more of the NOCA Committees, PRCHN Core Subcommittees or Research Working Groups, providing regular input, guidance and oversight in addition to attending quarterly meetings.

NOCA Advising Partners who fulfill all requirements of their roles are provided a yearly stipend of $200 in the form of a gift card to cover costs associated with member responsibilities.

It is the responsibility of each NOCA Advising Partner to confirm the receipt and allowability of the gift card with his/her respective employer or represented organization, and to provide documentation to the IRS as applicable. For NOCA members unable to accept gift cards due to employer and/or organizational restrictions, or for members wishing to donate their $200 stipend, a NOCA discretionary fund has been created. NOCA members will vote on the use of this fund, and the funds from each stipend year must be spent within a one year time frame from the date of card issuance.

NOCA Committees

NOCA Committees provide guidance, oversight, and regular input into the efforts of the Center.
Governance Committee provides leadership and guidance to the NOCA membership and the PRCHN staff through effective engagement and communication. (Download the Governance Committee Charter.)
Community TIES (Training, Initiatives, Evaluation and Surveillance) Committee: In collaboration with the PRCHN leadership and staff, informs, provides guidance on implementation, and monitors the effectiveness of all PRCHN non-governance and non-research-related projects and activities. (Download the Community TIES Committee Charter.)
Research Committee: In collaboration with the PRCHN leadership and staff, informs, designs, monitors, reviews, and disseminates faculty-led PRCHN research projects that advance an understanding of critical health and social issues for the benefit of gaining knowledge in these fields (academic) and impact in neighborhoods and communities (functional). (Download the Research Committee Charter.)
PRCHN Research Working Groups are comprised of academic and community partners that work collaboratively on a chronic disease prevention topic relevant to local communities. Research Working Groups will work within the limits and boundaries established by NOCA and will provide updates during quarterly meetings. Academic partners bring research expertise in the topic, and community organizations and residents provide the local community expertise and knowledge.


The NOCA leadership will consist of two Co-Chairs and one Chair-Elect. One Co-Chair possesses a health background and one Co-Chair represents the demographic and neighborhood that the PRCHN serves.

otal term length, including the year serving as Chair-Elect, will be 3 years. If a NOCA Co-Chairs’ second three-year membership term is scheduled to expire during their leadership service, their membership term will be extended to permit the leadership term to be completed. Beginning with the 2012 calendar year, the Chair-Elect will begin a 3-year term, one Co-Chair will serve 2 more years while the second Co-Chair will complete one more year. After that time, one Co-Chair position will be ending annually and the Chair-Elect position will be filled by a NOCA member who represents alternately health service/community service providers or residents of underserved and/or disadvantaged neighborhoods.

In the event that a Co-Chair is unable to finish their term, the following process will occur:

    • The remaining Co-Chair, PRCHN Director and the NOCA Governance Committee will identify a replacement, confirm that person’s interest, and recommend her/him during the next quarterly NOCA meeting. Provided that the recommendation is accepted by the membership, a Governance Committee member will nominate the candidate and a vote of the membership will occur.
    • If at the time of this recommendation, another NOCA member wishes to nominate oneself for the vacant Co-Chair position, discussion will be tabled and a vote of the membership will occur at the following quarterly NOCA meeting.

Responsibilities: Co-Chairs(s) will preside over meetings and will coordinate the agenda with the PRCHN for these quarterly meetings. Co-Chairs will monitor the balance of representation from the priority populations. Co-Chairs will facilitate the operation of the NOCA Committees. Co-Chairs will coordinate the annual nominating, appointment and election process. Co-Chairs served as representatives on the CDC PRC National Community Committee from 2009-2019.

The Chair-Elect will assist the Co-Chairs in their responsibilities. In addition to activities consistent with being a NOCA member, the Co-Chair will attend monthly NOCA/PRCHN Leadership meetings, participate in the Governance Committee, and will serve as Chair of the annual Retreat Planning committee.

Election Process: Nominations for the Co-Chair position can be submitted in writing to the Governance Committee up to 30 days prior to the final meeting of the calendar year. Elections will take place during the final meeting. Terms begin with the first meeting of the following year.

Meetings and Participation Requirements 

NOCA Meetings: NOCA will meet quarterly; a meeting schedule will be determined one year in advance. A quorum (at least 50% of membership) must be present at the beginning of a meeting to conduct business. Meetings will be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order. Whenever possible, decisions will be made by consensus. A decision-making and conflict resolution process will be developed as an initial activity of NOCA.

NOCA Meeting Participation Requirements: All NOCA members will attend at least 3 of the quarterly NOCA meetings. If this meeting requirement cannot be met, membership will be terminated. Advising Partners will engage in regularly scheduled committee meetings and/or research working groups.


NOCA list-serve: PRCHN staff will maintain a list serve for direct communication with NOCA members.
NOCA, Subcommittee and Research Working Group meeting minutes: Minutes for each of these meetings will be taken by PRCHN staff or a designated individual. Once minutes are approved by NOCA leadership, they will be distributed electronically to all participating members and will be posted on the PRCHN website.
PRCHN brochure: NOCA membership will be listed on the PRCHN website, on NOCA letterhead, and when appropriate, on PRCHN publications.


These guidelines are to be amended as needed by group consensus. Proposed amendments should be submitted to the Governance Committee, and if agreed upon, must be distributed to NOCA members no less than 30 days prior to the meeting at which the amendment is to be voted upon.