The CTTI staff supports the development and execution of projects and dissemination of project results. In addition, staff members organize and support activities of the Executive and Steering Committees. Below, you will find a list of our staff members:

Leanne Madre, JD, MHA
Senior Director, Strategy and Partnerships

Ms. Madre is the acting executive director at the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) where she provides senior level oversight of the day-to-day operations of CTTI and orchestrates efforts to effectively engage all interested stakeholders to improve the conduct of clinical trials. Prior to joining CTTI in 2008, Madre was a fellow in the Office of the Secretary at the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, contributing to policy discussions on a range of issues inclusive of water access and quality.  She has more than 20 years’ experience in leadership roles of public-private partnerships, hosted by Duke University, on clinical and translational research issues. Madre served as program director of the Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) Coordinating Center, playing an instrumental role in creating and managing the CERTs program organization, including the establishment of a model for public-private partnership. Before joining Duke, Madre held positions at several health care systems, including as an attorney for Sentara Health System. She received her JD from the University of Richmond, her MHA from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, and her BS (biochemistry) from North Carolina State University.

Sara Bristol Calvert, PharmD
Senior Project Manager

Dr. Calvert is responsible for managing the development and implementation of CTTI projects. In collaboration with team leaders, she leads the creation of project plans and budgets, as well as the implementation of those plans.

Prior to joining CTTI, Dr. Calvert was a clinical pharmacist and project leader in the Outcomes Group at the Duke Clinical Research Institute. She has eight years of clinical research experience at the DCRI, which included managing projects, conducting a randomized intervention to improve medication adherence, and serving as the anticoagulation monitor for a multi-center clinical trial. She also practiced as a clinical pharmacist at the Duke Outpatient Clinic from 2007-2015. Her therapeutic experience includes cardiology, diabetes, hypertension, and anticoagulation. Dr. Calvert received her doctor of pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh and completed a specialty residency in primary care pharmacy practice at Duke University Medical Center and Health System.

Zachary Hallinan
Project Manager

Mr. Hallinan manages the development and implementation of CTTI projects. In collaboration with team leaders, he creates project plans and budgets, and manages the implementation of those plans.
Prior to joining CTTI, Mr. Hallinan directed the patient communication and engagement programs at the nonprofit Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation, where for five years he led efforts to help the research enterprise better understand and meet the needs of the participants who make research possible. Among other initiatives, he worked with leading industry sponsors to implement programs for routinely providing plain-language summaries of clinical trial results to research participants in more than forty countries. Mr. Hallinan's experience also includes science curriculum development at the Education Development Center, as well as basic research in organic chemistry and biology. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he has been recognized by CenterWatch as an innovator changing the face of the clinical trials industry, and has also been a National Science Foundation IGERT fellow, as well as an AmeriCorps volunteer.

Lindsay Kehoe
Project Manager

Ms. Kehoe manages the development and implementation of CTTI projects. In collaboration with team leaders, she creates project plans and budgets, and manages the implementation of those plans.
Ms. Kehoe has close to 10 years of experience coordinating clinical research. Prior to joining CTTI, she served as a clinical trial lead at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., coordinating both physician-driven and industry-sponsored trials.  She also served on the Institutional Review Board, charged with reviewing human research protocols and ensuring that they met relevant ethical standards. Ms. Kehoe is a certified genetic counselor with extensive experience in both pediatric and adult genetic counseling. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kehoe worked in the pharmaceutical industry, first in early phase drug development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals (now Takeda Oncology) and then in post-marketing laboratory surveillance at Sanofi Genzyme. Ms. Kehoe has a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Boston University School of Medicine.

Laura Shannon
Communications Manager

Ms. Shannon oversees CTTI’s communications strategy with the goals of increasing visibility of CTTI’s work and driving adoption of our recommendations. Coordinating closely with project teams, members, stakeholders, and CTTI staff, she leads our digital channels, public relations outreach, collateral development, and additional communications activities.

Prior to CTTI, Ms. Shannon was an associate director of development communications at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she played a key role in developing and executing marketing campaigns that helped raise more than $225 million, annually, for cancer research and patient care. Previously, she also led U.S. communications efforts for the World Society for the Protection of Animals and worked at Lois Paul & Partners, a healthcare and technology public relations agency. Her communications work has earned her accolades including a New England Society for Healthcare Communications - Gold Lamplighter Award and a Publicity Club of New England - Gold Bell Ringer Award. Ms. Shannon earned her MA in Mass Communications and her BS in Public Relations from the University of Florida.


Amy Corneli, PhD, MPH
Social Scientist

As CTTI’s lead social scientist, Ms. Corneli oversees the work of the CTTI social science team and works closely with the CTTI project teams to provide guidance on the design, implementation, analysis, and write up of CTTI’s quantitative and qualitative research studies. She is an Associate Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, at Duke University. She is also a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Over the past 20+ years, Ms. Corneli has conducted research in health and empirical bioethics in multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and North America through her positions at Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and FHI 360. Since 2001, she has been involved with multiple HIV prevention drug trials, and most recently served as the behavioral principal investigator for the FEM-PrEP clinical trial, a multi-site, phase III, placebo-controlled trial of emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate as pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention among women in sub-Saharan Africa. She had led NIH-funded research on topics related biomedical HIV prevention and research ethics, and has numerous publications from her involvement in clinical research, including manuscripts on informed consent and assent, participant product adherence, reasons participants enroll in clinical trials, community involvement in clinical trial design, and the functioning of research ethics committees. Ms. Corneli received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MPH from Emory University.

Brian Perry, MPH
Associate Social Scientist

Mr. Perry works closely with the CTTI project teams and other social science researchers to design, implement, analyze, and report CTTI’s evidence-generating research activities. Along with his role with CTTI, he is a Clinical Trials Project Leader at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

Mr. Perry has over 12 years of experience conducting social science research around the globe on topics such as stakeholder acceptability of innovations in treatment, patient engagement in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa, and constructs of identity formation among marginalized populations in South Asia. Prior to joining CTTI, Mr. Perry’s research focused on investigating the cultural and social contexts surrounding clinical trials and how these may impact patient behaviors and trial outcomes. He has served as the study coordinator and lead analyst on over a dozen qualitative and mixed methods studies funded by the FDA, USAID, NIH, and NSF. He has expertise in social science research development, research project management, field work (including participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys, pile sorting, PhotoVoice), qualitative data analysis, and scientific writing. Mr. Perry received his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Teri Swezey, PhD, MA
Assistant Social Scientist

Dr. Swezey works closely with the CTTI project teams and other social science researchers to design, implement, analyze and report CTTI’s evidence-generating research activities. Along with her role with CTTI, she is a Clinical Trials Project Leader at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

Dr. Swezey has ten years of experience specializing in qualitative research, focused primarily on the sociocultural aspects of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research expertise includes developing data collection instruments, conducting focus groups and in-depth semi-structured interviews, developing codebooks, coding and analyzing data, and writing up results for reports and peer-reviewed publications. She also has seven years of experience working on clinical trial–related research. Prior to joining CTTI, she combined her clinical trial and qualitative research skills as a research associate in the Department of Epidemiology and the Department of Social Medicine’s Center for Bioethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was also a clinical research coordinator on dementia trials in the Department of Neurology at UNC. Dr. Swezey received her MA in Anthropology and her PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University.

Erin Bland Baker
Engagement Specialist

Ms. Baker designs and manages communication and engagement activities.  She also coordinates member communications and events.


Ms. Baker has more than 15 years of experience in global event management and facilitating the seamless end-to-end delivery of learning and development programs. Prior to joining CTTI, she spent seven years at Duke Corporate Education, where she worked as a senior program manager and served clients such as Boehringer Ingelheim, AbbVie, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Citibank, and Rolls-Royce. Ms. Baker has also worked as an account manager for Digiton Corporation and as event manager and assistant executive director for Foundation of Hope. She holds a BA in Communication and Public Relations from North Carolina State University.

Karisa Merrill
Project Manager

Ms. Merrill develops and implements strategic initiatives supporting CTTI’s impact framework, transparency goal, stakeholder reports, and use case library, as well as driving adoption of recommendations and resources.

Ms. Merrill has over 20 years of experience in healthcare program and project management.  Prior to working at CTTI, she served as a State Project Director, Planner, and Liaison for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  Earlier in her career, Ms. Merrill served as the State Alzheimer’s Specialist and played an integral role in the development of programs that provide critical respite care, education, and support to individuals and their families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.  Ms. Merrill is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).  She earned her MA in Gerontology and her BS in Psychology from Appalachian State University.

Kristi Geercken
Communications Specialist

Ms. Geercken manages CTTI’s websites, e-newsletters, and social media channels. Working closely with CTTI staff, she keeps CTTI’s websites dynamic and current, and works with the Communications Manager to coordinate the distribution of news and materials to members, staff, and external audiences via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Vimeo and other platforms. She also plays an important role in measuring and analyzing CTTI’s online metrics, in an ongoing effort to improve and enhance CTTI communications.  

Prior to CTTI, Ms. Geercken spent 18 years in digital media at The McClatchy Company, most recently as a social media specialist. During her tenure at McClatchy, she created compelling research presentations and collateral that drove revenue for a national advertising network, and worked closely with digital staff in newspaper newsrooms to help keep them at the forefront of digital change. In addition, she has served as a board member for a local Little League baseball organization, where she managed all communications for the league. Ms. Geercken earned her BA in Journalism & Mass Communication from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Rae Holliday
Communications Specialist

Ms. Holliday supports CTTI’s communications strategy through thought leadership, media relations, and other related efforts. Working cross-functionally with CTTI staff, project teams, vendors, and other key stakeholders, she works to raise the visibility of CTTI, its work, and its mission to increase the quality and efficiency of clinical trials.


Ms. Holliday is a communications expert with more than 20 years of experience serving renowned organizations, institutions, agencies, and companies including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has received national and international accolades for her communications leadership, including being named to PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 list as a person who is leading the charge for the next generation of communicators, and earning a Silver Anvil Award, considered the PR industry’s highest level of achievement. She holds a BA in English from North Carolina State University. 

Jamie Pollenz
Event Coordinator

Ms. Pollenz oversees the planning and execution of all CTTI events. Collaborating closely with CTTI leadership, members, communications team, and external vendors, she manages all logistics coordination for our Executive and Steering Committee meetings, project team meetings, and other events.


Ms. Pollenz has more than 8 years of event coordination experience, having worked previously at Duke Clinical Research Institute, the Durham Convention Center, and Living Arts College. She has expertise in aligning events with organizational goals, negotiating contracts, managing budgets, coordinating vendors, and conducting event evaluations. She received her BA in Business Administration – Productions and Operations Management and Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and earned her Meeting & Event Planning Certificate of Credit from Meredith College

Cassandra Royal
Staff Assistant

Ms. Royal provides administrative support for the Clinical Project Managers and the project teams.

Ms. Royal has been with Duke University Medical Center for 6 years, working initially with the department of Duke Orthopaedics.

Lorri Bingham
Staff Assistant

Ms. Bingham provides administrative support for the Executive Director of CTTI and the CTTI Executive Committee. She has over 25 years of administrative experience working at clinical research, architecture, financial planning and manufacturing organizations.

Carmen Hembrick
Staff Assistant

Ms. Hembrick provides administrative support for the communications and engagement activities of CTTI.  Prior to CTTI, Ms. Hembrick was with Duke University Medical Center for 13 years, working in the department of DCRI/Grants & Proposals Services, Contracts Management, and the Office of the COO. Overall, Ms. Hembrick has 25 years of administrative experience in various organizations.