Our Staff

ColeMariah Cole, J.D.
Director, Program Management

The Center welcomed Mariah Cole in May 2014 as the Director of Program Management. She will manage the day-to-day activities of the RWJF Center for Health Policy in addition to teaching and evaluating health policy courses. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi where she earned a BA in English. She also earned a JD degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Tennessee. Her legal background allowed her the opportunity to complete an internship with the Mississippi Center for Justice, where she worked with a public health law attorney and advocated for the rights of underserved citizens to access free or reduced health care. Dr. Cole spent eight months working for a solo practitioner after completing law school and focused primarily on family law, probate and criminal defense. From there, she transitioned into higher education and worked as the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee.

stephen_smithStephen J. Smith, M.Ed.
Program Manager


Stephen Smith joined the staff of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College in September 2015. Mr. Smith is responsible for the Center's marketing and communications activities, in addition to student engagement initiatives. Mr. Smith received his undergraduate degree in political science from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, a master's degree in higher education administration from Middle Tennessee State University, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in public administration at Tennessee State University. Before accepting the position with the Center, he served as Program Manager in the Office of Student Life at Meharry Medical College.

SampsonTerrica Sampson, M.Ed.
Program Coordinator


Terrica Sampson provides overall staff support, manages the Center’s research, faculty, and community engagement initiatives, and assists with planning events. Ms. Sampson received her undergraduate degree in political science from Fisk University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Tennessee State University, and is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in higher education administration from Tennessee State University. She has dedicated over five years to higher education in the areas of student life, civic engagement and community-based minority health disparity research and programming. She holds membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Middle Tennessee Urban League, and Women in Higher Education in Tennessee.