OhioHealth Research Institute
About Us and Leadership Team
More than 15 Years of research and innovation
Since 2006, the OhioHealth Research Institute has developed a reputation as a national leader in facilitating medical breakthroughs, evaluating new procedures and exploring innovations in patient care to meet the needs of our community.
Our mission is to support innovation and excellence that improves the health of those we serve.
Our vision is to be nationally recognized as an institute with the expertise and passion to deliver quality service and exceptional value that makes a difference.
The OhioHealth Research Institute redefines clinical research in a community health system. Our teams consists of:
- Clinical trials operations with dedicated clinical research and regulatory coordinators who support seven OhioHealth service lines.
- Research business services (RBS) consisting of a pre and post billing office, sponsored programs office and data technology professionals to support research needs.
- Academic research services (ARS) with technically-trained research scientists to support scholarly activity and medical education at all OhioHealth care sites.
- Office of human subjects protection (OHSP) who protects the rights and welfare of human research participants.
Our top research areas
OhioHealth Research Institute aims to increase access to emerging therapies that otherwise would not be available to our patients.
Our institute continues to diversify our research portfolio to support:
- Oncology research through industry trials, trials supported by the National Cancer Institute and clinical trials originating from MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Heart and vascular, through new industry device trials in various sub-specialties including structural heart disease, endovascular, electrophysiology and general cardiology.
Neuroscience research focused on multiple sclerosis and stroke with expansion to other therapeutic areas.
How we support clinical research
Clinical trials are carried out by a team of over 80 healthcare experts who are dedicated to connecting patients with the latest advances in care. We partner with OhioHealth clinicians and associates to allow them to:
- Conduct their own clinical research by providing guidance and support services to plan, write, submit, conduct, analyze and publish research.
- Facilitate grants and conduct industry or externally-sponsored clinical research at OhioHealth.
- Ensure that the rights and welfare of human research participants are protected by the OhioHealth Institutional Review Board.
- Provide the highest-quality, operational and regulatory support through a comprehensive centralized research infrastructure.
Meet the leadership team
Through guidance, support and expertise, our leaders foster research and make a way for health innovation.
Brien Smith, MD, MBA
Vice President, Neuroscience Services
OHRI Interim Institutional Official
Dr. Brien Smith is a nationally recognized epileptologist and brings over 40 years of patient care, research and education experience to OhioHealth. He earned his medical degree at Wayne State University in Detroit. He subsequently completed a neurology residency at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit followed by a fellowship in electroencephalography (EEG) and epilepsy at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis and a MBA at Grand Valley State University. In the past, he has researched gap junction protein changes in an epilepsy animal model, magnetoencephalography, antiepileptic drug trials and intracranial responsive neuro-stimulation for epilepsy.
Soun Khountham, MS, CCRP
Senior Director, OhioHealth Research Institute
Soun has two decades of experience in various research spaces including academia, contract research organization, industry and healthcare systems. Prior to joining the OhioHealth Research Institute, Soun led research operations for Ohio State University’s Drug Development Institute and has directed research for various biotech startup companies. She received her education from The University of Minnesota, Barry University and Harvard University, and is completing her MBA at Boston University. You can typically find Soun on an outdoor adventure, exploring new cuisines or entertaining family and friends.
Robin Devine, DO, CIP
Senior Medical Director, Academic Research & Human Subjects Protections
Dr. Robin Devine has over twenty years of experience in clinical medicine and research. Prior to joining the OhioHealth Research Institute, she served as faculty in a full-spectrum Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited family medicine residency program and developed curricula, symposia and print monographs as a healthcare communications consultant. She received her medical degree from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, refinishing furniture and traveling with family and friends.
Jennifer Sexton, MHA
Director, Research Operations
Jennifer has nearly two decades of experience working in medical research as a laboratory assistant, research coordinator and operations leader. Prior to joining OhioHealth Research Institute in 2017, she worked in oncology research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jennifer received a Master’s of Health Administration and a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Ohio State. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking, camping, watching college sports and taking beach vacations.
Chris Belcher, BSN RN
Director, Research Operations
Christina joined OhioHealth Research Institute (OHRI) in 2012 as a clinical research coordinator and currently oversees clinical research operations for the OHRI. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Otterbein College. Prior to working in clinical research, she worked as a bedside nurse providing care to cardiovascular patients. She is a twenty- year associate with OhioHealth. In her free time, she enjoys outside activities, cooking, reading, decorating and spending time with family.
Michael Brechbuhler, MPH
Director, Research Business Services
Michael has been in clinical research nearly two decades, starting out as a clinical research coordinator and then moving into research finance. He has been with OhioHealth Research Institute for 6 years leading the Research Business Services team. Michael has a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology from Miami University and a Master’s of Public Health from Ohio State University. When Michael is not at work, he enjoys riding his bike, spending time outdoors with his family and being his daughter’s biggest supporter at dance competitions and horse shows.
Connie has over 40 years of experience assisting executives, physicians, corporate leaders and teams at OhioHealth. In her downtime she enjoys travel, time with family and friends, and walking her dog.