Debra Marcelle-Coney

Founder, Director of Marketing & Community Coordinator

Dr. Debra Marcelle-Coney has worked in the Public Health & Human Services industry for over 30-years in various capacities, which ranged from health services to healthcare management. She is a Nova Southeastern University alumnus whom graduated in 2007, with her Ph.D. in Family Therapy, specializing in Family Systems Healthcare.

Dr. “D” as she is known at the West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center (WPB VAMC) in the Mental Health & Behavioral Services Department as an Addictions Psychotherapist in the Substance Abuse (SA) Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).  Since 2009, she has been instrumental in launching the evidenced-based Stages of Change Model development by theorist Drs. Prochaska & DiClemente, Steve DeShazer’s Solution-Focused Best Practices, formulation of the group treatment protocols, and further development of the newly revised Substance Abuse Outpatient Program Brochure.

Dr. Marcelle-Coney has served as a Federal Grants Reviewer for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) from 2005-2016, which laid the foundation for her selection to serve as a member of Secretary Shinseki 2010 Robert W. Carey Performance of Excellence Evaluator Teams. As a veteran herself, Dr. Marcelle-Coney is aware of the needs of fellow soldiers, maintains contacts in the local communities with both the faith-based and other area organizations, as well keeps abreast of the latest developments through the Unites States Department of Veteran’s Affairs Central Office and beyond. She pledged during her 5-year appointment Minority Veteran’s Program Coordinator (MVPC) to collaboratively bridge the gap between the real and perceived disparities for veterans and their families as noted below.

  • 2010 – Established the Leveling Minority Health Disparities Campaign which includes health education, conduct community open forums & town hall meetings through educational systems i.e. libraries, colleges and the faith-based arenas; as well as advocating on behalf of the veterans by collecting data to identify gaps in services & make recommendations to improve service delivery at the organizational, regional (VISN), and VA’s national headquarters (Central Office) levels. ** Developed and co-presented the Community Informational Lecture: What Can the Center for Minority Veterans Do for You? Boynton Beach Library.
  • 2011 – Created the Impact for Veterans Campaign-Weekly Open Forum. * Facilitated Brainstorming Staff Engagement through Teamwork: WIIFM – What’s in it for Me! Ice Cream Social ** Piloted the State of the African American Families in St. Lucie County – Addressing medical and homeless issues with potential solutions. Greater Deliverance Church. ** Piloted the State of the African American Families in Palm Beach County – Addressing education, end of life issues with potential solutions. Pahokee Church of God. ** Developed and co-presented the Community Lecture Series: What Can the Center for Minority Veterans Do for You? Lantana Road, Belle Glade and Jupiter Libraries. ** Patient Forum: Recovery Benefits Everyone – Chat with the Experts – 9A Waiting Room.
  • 2012– Created & Showcased the Herbal Connection between good Food & good Health. * Education Roundtable: Retirement, EEO Process and Diversity & Inclusion Training. ** Health & Education: A Winning Combination for Success in College & the Workplace at Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth, Florida.
  • 2013 – Developed the Eat Healthy Live Well Campaign and collaboratively launched the first Farmers Market at the WPB VAMC & Growing a Healthy Body in Your Backyard. ** Created the Health & Wellness Demonstrations with Seed, Seedling & Plant Xchange held monthly in the VA Community Living Center – CLC Solarium where we build and foster relationships.

Created the Answers for Veterans Campaign: Q & A with Claims & Benefits VSO ** Co-created the Veterans Retraining Assistance (VRAP) Showcase at Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth, Florida & Indian River State College, Fort Pierce, Florida. ** Developed – How can we Help Address your Healthcare Needs through Community Engagement? American Legion Post 199 - West Palm Beach, Florida.

  • 2014 – Conducted the Caring for Each Other as We Embrace Our Destiny Forum and VA Liaison for the Faith-Based Sponsorship - Stop the Violence & Crime Prayer Walk. * Created the Caring For Veterans Campaign: VA Cares for All Veterans.
  • 2014-2015 – Lead Grant Writer for the VISN 8 Center for Excellence funded Therapeutic Sensory Garden Project, Coordinator for the Rural Community Veterans Forum in Partnership with the City of Pahokee & Farm Share. ** Co-developed, organized and operated the Garden Project in conjunction with the VRC to have 2-CWT Staff assigned to maintain the grounds, work with fiscal & provide guidance to administrative CWT personnel. ** Board Member for the Planned Approach to Community Healthcare (PATCH), a rural initiative, which encompasses the Cities of Belle Glade, Pahokee & South Bay, Florida. ** Developed Growing Ur Esteem with Garden Therapy and initiated the Change Container Garden still thriving at the WPB VAMC.




Published Articles & Presentations:


Molnari, M. & Marcelle-Coney, D. (Summer, 2014). Suicide Rates: The rise & decline in Active Military and Veterans. National Association of Social Work Mental Health Section Connection Publication. Issue 1.

Marcelle-Coney, D. & Molnari, M. (2013). Dyslexia: Not just a children’s condition. Profiles in Diversity Journal. July-August, 16-18.

 Nixon, D. A., Marcelle-Coney, D., Torres-Gregory, M., Huntley, E., Jacques, C., Pasquet, M., & Ravachi, R. (2010). Creating Community: Offering a Liberation Pedagogical Model to Facilitate Diversity Conversations in MFT Graduate Classrooms. Journal of Martial and Family Therapy, 3(2), 197-211.

Marcelle-Coney, D. & Williams-Brown, L. Presented: (March 17, 2015). The African –American Religious-Spiritual Journey: Was it Better Then or Now? Presented at the American Society on Aging: Aging in America 2015. Hyatt Regency Chicago, IL.


Volunteer Services:


Whole Health Intergenerational Nutrition Education (WHINE) Program 2018-2021

West Boca Library and Royal Palm Beach Library

Seed, Seedling & Plant Xchange... 2016 to present

West Boynton Beach Library 2021-2022

Community Garden Family Container Plots 2021 to present

Educates, train and provide beginning gardeners with the basics of growing their own veggies & herbs in large containers at the West Boca Library

Emmanuel Community Food Co-Op    2018

Food Sustainability Partnership with Emmanuel Deliverance Church of God, Palm Beach Harvest and Palm Beach County Food Bank to distribute food, offer hot meal service & foster relationships with the residents of Palm Beach County.


Seed, Seedling & Plant Xchange at the Lantana Branch Library     2017-2018                                        

Collaborative effort with Palm Beach County to facilitate a monthly exchange! The community brings their cuttings, seeds, seedlings and plants to trade. Share useful gardening tips, recipes and life experiences


Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International - 1st VP        2016-2018

Encourage the cultivation & use of tropical and rare fruit in South Florida & beyond. As 1st VP, register/coordinate the volunteers for the South Florida Fair (17-day event), prepare the booth, replenish display with fresh fruit, provide gardening information and collaborate with the Fair Agriculture Committee.

Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International - President      2018-2019

Recruit speakers for the monthly meetings, facilitate club meetings, lead board meetings

Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization - OCR     2015-2018

Establish the Front Yard Butterfly Garden Project, a neighborhood garden installation effort, which expands into the Intergenerational Community Garden in the Lantana Homes Development.


Community Life Food Pantry     2013-2016

Partnered with Palm Beach County Food Bank & Jesus is Life to distribute food and provide nutrition education in the Food Desert of Riviera Beach & the surrounding areas.


Dr. Marcelle-Coney is the founder of Community Faith Outreach Ministries, a not-for-profit charitable social services organization, which recently collaborated with Palm Beach County (PBC) Cooperative Extension, PBC Libraries,  Quantum Foundation, WPB VAMC, Soldiers Angels, J.P. Morgan Chase, Recovery First and 1k, Rakes, Bags & Brooms to install the first Veterans Community Micro-Farm in Palm Beach County.

She is also a licensed ordained minister in the Church of God - International Offices - Cleveland, Tennessee whom served faithfully at Emmanuel Deliverance for many years before joining LEAP International Family. She also established Food Ministries at Cathedral, Resurrection Life, Jesus Is Life Churches of God & LEAP International Ministries and continues to co-labor with her husband, Gary of 35-years at LEAP International in Boynton Beach, Florida.