Meredith Smalls, MPH, Joins the MVA as Clinical Research Coordinator

Meredith Smalls, MPH, Joins the MVA as Clinical Research Coordinator

Meredith Smalls, MPH has a passion for public health outreach and being an advocate for communities of color.

Her interest in health began as a pharmacy technician while in college, and through volunteerism with the Gateway to Hope Syringe Services Foundation. At this organization she helped with programming events for their health education classes and organizing harm reduction kits for mobile units.

These experiences developed her hands-on knowledge in understanding prevention and intervention efforts within community settings, as well as the specific health needs of different populations.

After receiving her undergraduate degree in public relations from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), she continued her education at Indiana University- Bloomington (IUB), where she earned a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Community Health in May 2021.

While earning her MPH degree, she participated in published research titled “Acceptability of Buprenorphine as a treatment for opioid use disorders: Experiences of Health Providers in Indiana rural counties,” which focused on MAT – Medicated Assisted Treatment, and was presented at the APHA student annual meeting and poster expo.


Early Careerist

As an early careerist, Meredith has worked for Tough Start Inc. from 2018-2020, a community organization and 501(c)(3) nonprofit that addresses growing disparities among minorities and urban youth in Central Indiana.

At Tough Start she was an assistant in developing a pilot research project that was grant funded by the Indiana Minority Health Coalition. The project, titled “Empowering Racial and Ethnic Minority, Transition-Age Youth to Achieve Health Equity and Become Community Change Agents,” identified new and innovative strategies to enhance health and economic outcomes for project participants.

Through this project, she helped create and facilitate online engaging workshops/seminars to educate young adults about Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and the importance of health insurance for millennials.


New Beginnings

Meredith is excited to join the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She finds it important for minorities to have access to clinical trials, because when they take part, it helps to improve the health of all people and provide greater understanding of health disparities.

 Meredith believes “While it’s important to recruit minorities for clinical trials, it’s also important to understand and overcome the barriers to keeping them enrolled.”


About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the Alliance bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas—community engagement, interprofessional education and research—by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the Alliance serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.