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Clinical Research Institute

Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute

The Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI) is a multi-disciplinary entity that facilitates research throughout Methodist Health System, its hospitals, and its affiliates. The MHSCRI was established to facilitate a culture of clinical innovation that benefits our patients and their families. The MHSCRI strives to ensure that researchers conduct their work in such a way that it meets or exceeds international, federal, and state regulations.

Our Mission

The mission of the MHSCRI is to provide professional, ethical, and relevant clinical research support to clinical investigators and research staff at Methodist Health System.

MHSCRI areas of expertise include:

  • Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Surgery
  • Endoscopy
  • Endovsacular
  • Endocrinology
  • Family Practice
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hematology
  • Hepatology
  • Hepatopancreaticobiliary
  • Infectious Disease
  • Internal Medicine
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Neurology
  • Nursing
  • Obstetrics
  • Oncology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pain Management
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Surgical Transplantation
  • Trauma
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Wound Care

Visit for a database of clinical trials.

To learn more about our Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute, call (214) 947-1280.


Crystee Cooper, DHEd, MPH, CLSSBB, CRA®, Vice President of Research & Simulation

Dr. Crystee Cooper is the Vice President of the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI) and the Center for Simulation and Wellness (C-SAW). As Vice President, Dr. Cooper leads a team of investigators, research administrative and clinical support staff, fellows, and volunteers in the conduct of high-quality, safe, and compliant clinical trials in collaboration with industry, academia, and government sponsors. Prior to joining Methodist Health System, Dr. Cooper served in several leadership roles with high-profile organizations and held an adjunct faculty appointment with the University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health in the Department of Health Behaviors and Health Systems.

Dr. Cooper is responsible for general oversight of the institute, including resourcing, business development, and client services. She establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with industry sponsors, academia, and other research and education organizations in an effort to support the provision, collection, and dissemination of high-quality services, data, and information. Under Dr. Cooper's leadership, and in collaboration with an esteemed group of medical providers and study teams, the MHSCRI continuously strives to improve communities one life at a time by doing its part to help increase access to new treatments, bridge research-practice gaps, and support nationally recognized programs across Methodist Health System and its affiliates.

Dr. Cooper holds a Doctorate of Health Education and Master of Public Health from A.T. Still University, formerly Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM), located in Kirksville, Missouri. She is a former National Institutes of Health (NIH) scholar at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine where she helped to design the Graphics Assisted Learning Environment (GALE) for computer-assisted instruction and clinical observation of rheumatic diseases. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the areas of research, healthcare administration, quality-assurance, compliance, grants administration, and public health. Dr. Cooper is certified in several disciplines, including health education, research administration, and Lean Six Sigma.

Priyanka Acharya, MPH, MSc, Director

Priyanka Acharya is the Director of the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI). As the Director, Priyanka works closely with the MHSCRI Executive Medical Director, investigators, and industry sponsors to secure and oversee clinical trials across the Methodist Health System. She also provides leadership to the MHSCRI clinical operations managers and their teams.

Priyanka is a results-driven research professional with over seven years’ experience in both public health and clinical research operations, including clinical research management, clinical research regulatory compliance, clinical research methodologies, study budgets, finances/contract negotiation and healthcare data science and statistics. At the MHSCRI, she has served in various roles, including clinical research coordinator, biostatistician, and most recently as data science and biostatistics manager. She has gained hands-on experience with overseeing clinical research from initiation to completion with proven history of successful research execution. She is a team player with an excellent history of strategic relationship building with Methodist Health System faculty, residents, and principal investigators.

Administrative Staff

Heather Grossman Verner, MS, ACRP-CP, Clinical Trials Manager (Trauma)

Heather is a scientist with over 10 years’ experience in multidisciplinary translational research. She earned a master of science in biological sciences focusing on pathogenesis modeling systems of emerging infectious disease. Heather has a passion for collaborative science and effective science communication. Her areas of expertise include in vivo and in vitro modeling as well as battlefield trauma standard of care. Heather served as a third-party manuscript editor, promoting the publication of scientific findings from non-native English speaking scientists.

At Methodist Health System, Heather manages an interdisciplinary research program fostering collaboration between system physicians and the trauma research team. Her program research aims currently target geriatric trauma (G60), mass casualty preparedness, penetrating trauma and antibiotic stewardship. Heather works to facilitate multi-center research trial in alignment with institutional investigator interests, provides research mentorship to surgical residents, and manages a Trauma Research Fellowship for aspiring surgeons. With her diverse background, she provides a unique lens to collaborate, drive, and report on projects aimed at developing and improving the standards of trauma care.

Zaid Haddadin, BS, Regulatory Specialist

Zaid is a graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in medical imaging. Prior to joining the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI) as a Regulatory Specialist, Zaid worked on a number of cancer studies as a student researcher and then as a regulatory engineer with the medical device company Cook Medical. As a member of the MHSCRI regulatory team, Zaid has the opportunity to combine his interests in medicine and research as well as to work alongside investigators to help them achieve regulatory compliance in their clinical trials.

Ashley Haider, BS, Regulatory Specialist (IRB)

Ashley is a clinical research regulatory professional with experience as a regulatory associate, clinic liaison, and a customer service representative in clinical laboratory sciences. She earned a bachelor of general studies degree from Texas Woman’s University. Her previous experience in clinical research allowed her to gain knowledge in human subject research regulatory compliance, the preparation of clinical trial regulatory documents, and institutional review board (IRB)/ institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) guidance. At the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI), Ashley will support and contribute to the MHSCRI by delivering high-quality data and ensuring patient safety through regulatory compliant and operationally efficient clinical trials. She assists in the development of clinical trial documents, IRB submissions, conducting monitoring visits, and by obtaining and tracking relevant regulatory documents for clinical trial submission and management.

Anne Murray, PhD, MWC®, Lead Medical Writer

Dr. Anne Murray holds a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and has over nine years of scientific writing experience in basic science research in the areas of cell and molecular biology, endocrinology, genetics, retina biology, and immunology. She is an active member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). Through AMWA, she earned a Composition and Publication Certificate, attends education sessions to expand her medical writing knowledge, co-leads educational sessions at local and international medical writing conferences, and earned a Medical Writer Certified (MWC®) credential.

At the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI), Dr. Murray performs comprehensive literature searches as well as writes, edits, and reviews manuscripts, abstracts, posters, and study material for Methodist Health System researchers. She ensures quality control review of all final documents, verifying that all documents comply with regulatory, journal, and other guidelines. Dr. Murray assists Methodist Health System researchers in developing comprehensive document strategies and detailed timelines for research dissemination. She also developed curriculum for an annual manuscript development seminar for residents, clinicians, and staff in several service lines at Methodist Health System. Dr. Murray also creates and disseminates informative documents to Methodist Health System researchers and employees associated with MHSCRI. In 2021, she completed the Emerging Leadership Program offered at Methodist Health System, which identifies and recruits aspiring leaders and prepares them for possible leadership roles at Methodist Health System.

Celesta Myles, MBA, Senior Accountant

Celesta is an innovative and driven accounting professional with many years of experience. Celesta strives to learn new ways of doing things and takes on challenges that sometime are out of her comfort zone. Celesta holds a MBA from University of North Texas-Dallas and Bachelor’s degrees in both accounting and management from University of North Texas. Her previous work experience in the healthcare industry allowed her gain knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles, financial reporting, accounts receivable/account payables, and accounting transactions. At the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI), Celesta maintains accounting systems that facilitate accurate and timely reporting of both MHSCRI and clinical trial activities. These systems include assisting with the development, execution, and monitoring of program budgets; accounts receivables activities for clinical trials, grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements; analysis of budget variances; and reconciliation. Celesta promotes well-organized financial operations at the MHSCRI by maintaining databases and overseeing the development and implementation of financial standard operating procedures.

Colette Ngo Ndjom, MS, Research Regulatory Compliance Manager

Colette is a research and regulatory professional with several years of experience in the areas of compliance and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI), Colette served as a research manager with an interest in immunotherapies. She holds a M.S, in Biotechnology with a concentration in enterprise and entrepreneurship / regulatory affairs from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in Biology from Oklahoma Baptist University.

At the MHSCRI, Colette has direct experience in regulatory oversight for all clinical trials issues in drug products and medical devices. Colette is involved with study startup and aptly interacts with stakeholders and sponsors to assist researchers in maintaining regulatory compliance during their studies. In 2019, she completed the Emerging Leadership Program offered at Methodist Health System, which identifies and recruits aspiring leaders and prepares them for possible leadership roles at Methodist Health System.

Clinical Staff

Brittney Parker, LVN, Lead Nurse Coordinator

Brittney Parker received her Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) credentials from Concorde Career Institute. Brittney has over five years’ experience in healthcare, bringing her LVN expertise to skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, and assisted living facilities. Before joining the clinical research coordinator team at the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI) she worked as an Assistant Director of Nursing in the long-term care setting serving the geriatric population. Brittney’s experience as a nurse and seasoned healthcare provider allows her to provide not only quality and patient-centered care but to also diligently follow strict study protocol criteria and ensure that the studies run smoothly. She is also essential in helping the MHSCRI administrative team in assessing the clinical supplies needed for day-to-day clinical operations.

Araceli Torres, NRCMA, Clinical Research Coordinator

Araceli has 15 years’ experience in the medical field, including five years at the Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas. She holds a certification from the National Association of Health Professionals as a Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA). Araceli transitioned to the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI) to expand her knowledge about clinical trials and her ability to help patients in the future. At the MHSCRI, she coordinates clinical trials in multiple medical disciplines, and she works with principal investigators and study staff to navigate the strict eligibility criteria for every study’s unique inclusion/exclusion criteria.

Gloria Valdez, NRCMA, Clinical Research Coordinator

Gloria Valdez has six years’ experience in health care, and has worked in the Liver Institute at Methodist Health System as well as the Methodist Health System Clinical Research Institute (MHSCRI). She holds a certification from the National Association of Health Professionals as a Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA). At the MHSCRI, she coordinates clinical trials in multiple medical disciplines and helps ensure compliance with overall scientific study objectives. In her current role, Gloria works closely with principal investigators to ensure that each study’s unique inclusion/exclusion criteria are followed as per the study protocol. She is very passionate about providing excellent patient care and using her clinical skillsets to help others and to improve the quality of life for patients.