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.


Robyn Folks, M.A.
Executive Assistant to the Executive Director


Robyn Folks, a native of Chaska, Minnesota, joined the team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College in April 2010. After serving five years in the United States Navy, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a master’s degree in organizational management from Concordia State University, also in St. Paul. Robyn brings a plethora of talent to the team having worked in the administrative field in the corporate sector for nearly ten years.

charlane_oliverCharlane Oliver, M.P.A.
Program Coordinator


Charlane Oliver joined the staff of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College in April 2011 as program coordinator. Mrs. Oliver is responsible for the Center's marketing and communications activities. Oliver has nearly ten years of experience serving the nonprofit, government and higher education industries. Charlane received her undergraduate degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in public administration degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is a member of the Nashville Young Leaders Council, Center for Nonprofit Management's Young Nonprofit Professionals, and a board intern for the YWCA Nashville. Before accepting the position with the center she served as the director of a youth mentoring program for the Knoxville Leadership Foundation.

SampsonTerrica Sampson, M.Ed.
Program Coordinator


Terrica Sampson is the newest program coordinator to join the staff of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. Ms. Sampson will provide overall staff support, manage the Center’s research, faculty, and community engagement initiatives, and assist 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.  


Alexandra B. Ewing, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ewing is an environmental professional with 17 years of experience in the U.S. and overseas. The bulk of her career has been spent on environmental and energy foreign assistance work in the former Soviet Union. Before moving to Nashville, she worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Project Officer managing projects in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea region that focused on supporting improved water sharing arrangements between riparian countries, improvements to water quality through policy and management changes, and multi-donor efforts to assess the environmental impacts of oil and gas development in the region.

After USAID, Dr. Ewing was an environmental consultant and focused on assessing the economic and environmental impacts of land privatization in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. She specializes in comprehensive economic, social and environmental analysis, environmental assessment, life cycle assessment, multi-criteria decision analysis, sustainability assessment and development of appropriate metrics

Dr. Ewing's research revolves around tangible ways to define, measure, and manage sustainability strategies and using life cycle assessment (LCA) to pinpoint key impact areas (hotspots) within a company's operations.

Dr. Ewing holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. in International Development & Economics, Russian, Energy & Environmental, and a B.A. in Russian Area Studies from Trinity College.