Office for Research and Innovation

Office for Research and Innovation


The mission of Meharry’s Office for Research and Innovation (OfRI) is to empower all Meharry investigators in their efforts to conduct micro and macro scales of inquiry on the continuum of basic to clinical sciences as well as policy matters. The OfRI provides strategic direction by identifying the priority areas of emerging research as well as fostering transformative academic entrepreneurship, collaborative research, and innovation. Our mission aligns with Meharry’s vision as a global academic health sciences center that advances health equity through innovative research and evidence-based leadership.


  • Advance a conceptual realignment of research
  • Organize transdisciplinary research clusters
  • Build a physical, technological, and computational infrastructure that is conducive to transdisciplinary research and innovation
  • Define scientific, analytic, and administrative structures that enhance performance and excellence of the research clusters
  • Maintain a robust institutional research portfolio via faculty recruitment and retention in the research clusters
  • Promote career development and productivity of researchers by assisting with the development of their research projects and grant applications
  • Assure the integrity of research processes and compliance with regulatory policies
  • Forge strategic partnerships with institutional, state, federal, and corporate bodies to bolster funding from non-traditional sources
  • Enhance the intellectual property ecosystem at Meharry


The OfRI comprises four primary units: Grants Management, Regulatory Affairs, Support Services, and Technology Transfer. It oversees the conduct of all shared resources, core facilities, centers, and institutes, collectively known as Organized Research Units (ORUs). The OfRI collaborates with the President’s Research Advisory Council (RAC) to develop and implement policies that advance the research and innovation portfolio in support of Meharry’s mission as described in Meharry’s Sesquicentennial Strategic Plan.

The OfRI also proudly supports the Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, a Meharry-owned, peer-reviewed journal exclusively dedicated to contemporary health and healthcare issues of medically underserved communities.

Office for Research and Innovation Team

Karen Smith, BA

Executive Assistant
Office for Research and Innovation


Lisa Johnson, MBA

Assistant Dean for Administration and Finance
School of Graduate Studies and Research

(615) 327-6407

Victoria Leuang, B.S.

Manager, Community Outreach and Engagement
Office for Research & Innovation

Joan Kite, B.S.

Research Communications Coordinator
Office for Research & Innovation