Mt. Vernon Clinical Research
Mt. Vernon Clinical Research
755 Mount Vernon Hwy NE Unit 200
Atlanta, GA 30328
Mount Vernon Clinical Research was founded in 2004. Although our current research center is relatively new, our management and staff have considerable previous clinical trial experience. Mount Vernon Clinical Research is a trusted partner of the Wake Research network.
Benjamin Thomas, MD, Internal Medicine Principal Investigator
Dr. Thomas has been an investigator with Mt. Vernon since 2013 and has decades of experience in the medical and clinical research field. Dr. Thomas attended Duke University for his undergraduate degree and obtained his M.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1980. He is a board-certified family medicine physician and is currently a practicing locum tenen physician for various medical practices in Georgia. Dr. Thomas is also a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Georgia Academy of Family Practice. His clinical research experience includes many different therapeutic areas including, but not limited to, constipation, IBS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, overactive bladder, and atopic dermatitis.
Stephen Blank, MD, Principal Investigator
“My caring and compassion for people show through my ability to be fully present and listen to my patients. As my communication style is direct and clear, I connect easily with my patients. My patients know that they are heard and understood and that their concerns are being addressed.”
Dr. Stephen Blank received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his medical degree from the College of Medicine of New Jersey. He moved to Atlanta in 1977 to begin his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Emory University and has called Atlanta home ever since. He’s been in private practice since 1981 and founded Mt Vernon OB/GYN Associates in 1986.
A board-certified OB/GYN, Dr. Blank specializes in obstetrics, gynecology, high-risk obstetrics, infertility, laparoscopic surgery, PMS, and perimenopausal and menopausal medicine. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is an active member of the Georgia OB-GYN Society, The Medical Association of Georgia, and The North American Menopause Society.
Dr. Blank is a past Chairman of the Department of OB/GYN at Northside Hospital. As an early proponent and advocate for the establishment of specialized women’s health care centers, he was instrumental in the development, design, and construction of Northside Hospital’s Women’s Center, acting as Lead Physician Liaison. The Women’s Center was constructed during his watch as Chairman of the OB/GYN Department.
Dr. Blank believes that research is a vital part of healthcare. He has been a Lead Medical Investigator for Clinical Research Trials in Gynecology and Obstetrics for the past eight years.
Dr. Blank and his wife reside in Northwest Atlanta. They are blessed with three sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grandsons. For relaxation and fun, he enjoys golfing, skiing, reading and spending time with his family.
Lauren Jones, NP, Sub-Investigator
Lauren has almost 20 years of experience in the medical field. She started as a RN on postpartum, newborn nursery, and NICU units and graduated with her Nurse Practitioner degree from University of Cincinnati in 2010. Her NP experience includes OBGYN, breast surgery, and clinical research. Lauren joined Mount Vernon Clinical Research in January of 2021. Her research experience includes vaccines, women’s health, NAFLD/NASH, urinary incontinence, COVID-19 testing and treatment, cancer screening, eosinophilic esophagitis, osteoarthritis, and medical device studies.
Christy Schmeck, CMA, CCRC, Clinical Site Manager
Christy Schmeck joined M3 Global Wake Research Team at Mount Vernon Clinical Research in July 2021 as the Clinical Site Manager. She got her start in research at ClinSearch in Chattanooga Tennessee in 2009 under Dr. Richard Krause as a Laboratory Technician. She was given the position of Clinical Research Coordinator in 2011. Christy achieved her ACRP certification in 2012. ClinSearch was acquired by M3 Global Wake Research in 2016. She was advanced to Senior Clinical Research Coordinator in 2019. She has a strong clinical trial background in Vaccines including mRNA Vaccines, NASH, Migraine, Celiac Disease, Atopic Dermatitis, and Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Christy was promoted to Clinical Site Manager and relocated to Mount Vernon Clinical Research in Atlanta, Georgia. Christy previously worked as a Certified Medical Assistant in Family Medicine/Gynecology for 8 years in Gainesville, Florida.
Christy Sweet-Karakos, LPN, CCRC, Regional Operations Manager
Christy provides operational management and support to our Southeast Region at our Tennessee and Georgia facilities. Christy joined ClinSearch in October 2008. She began her research career as a clinical research coordinator in 2007. She achieved SOCRA Certification in November 2011. Christy is a licensed practical nurse and previously worked for eight years as a nurse supervisor in geriatrics. She is certified in IATA, CITI, OSHA, CSSRS, CPR, and dietary counseling. Christy has extensive research experience in neurology conditions such as migraine, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Christy’s research experience also includes OIC, weight loss, gastroparesis, and IBS-constipation.
Isaac Cenescar – Clinical Research Coordinator
Isaac Cenescar joined Mount Vernon Clinical Research in 2021, bringing two years of prior experience in clinical research. Upon graduating from North Dakota State University with a Bachelors in Biological Sciences, Isaac got his start in the field in 2018 by working as a research assistant at Axis Clinicals in Morehead, Minnesota. He was promoted to clinical research coordinator at Axis Clinicals, where he gained experiences in various therapeutic fields such as pain management, dermatology, Infectious disease, and Neurology. Isaac then went on to earn a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and served as Chairman of Organizational Development and Leadership concentration. Isaac’s research studies currently consist of Hepatology, women’s health, and various Vaccine trials. He has completed training in CITI, IATA, GDP, and different EDC and EMRs. Isaac is the founder of JustOne sponsorship in his free time, an organization focused on sponsoring a child’s education in Haiti.
David Oguoma-Richards – Clinical Research Coordinator
David joined the M3 Global Wake Research team in December 2021, at the Mount Vernon site located in Atlanta, GA. He has over 7 years of general experience in research primarily in scientific research before crossing over to clinical research 2 and half years ago. He has worked in the governmental, academia, public and private sector too date from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to most recently Emory University. His research study experience too date includes Sleep Apnea, Mental Health, Diabetes, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Women health and Respiratory illnesses. He has completed trainings in CITI, OSHA and multiple condition-specific ratings scales and assessments. David is an avid learner and stands firmly on the quote: ‘Prevention is better than a cure.’
Cornelia Washington – Clinical Research Assistant
Cornelia Washington joined Mount Vernon Clinical Research in January 2022 as a Clinical Research Assistant. Cornelia has over 20 plus years’ experience in the healthcare field. She started her career as a C.N.A with 10 years of experience, she now has 11 years as a Medical assistant, which led to her getting into clinical research. She’s hoping to continue to expand her knowledge and gain new skills as she continues this journey.
Zetta Lucas – Front Desk Coordinator
Zetta Lucas Joined Mt. Vernon Clinical Research January 2022 as a Front Desk Coordinator. She worked as a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant for 6 years at Grady Asa Yancey Clinic. Most recently, she worked for a Private Practice in Douglasville GA and became familiar with working at the Front & Back Office. She spent 5 years working as an executive secretary prior to getting Certified as a Medical Assistant.
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