Mercy Research Leadership

Mercy Research Senior Leadership

JoAnne Levy, JD – Vice President

JoAnne has led Mercy Research for over five years, helping to consolidate all community health research support ministry-wide into a single not-for-profit entity operating with a high degree of standardization and compliance. Her tenure at Mercy includes leadership roles at ROi, a Top 10 health care supply chain organization, and in Mercy corporate operations. Before joining Mercy, JoAnne worked for 16 years with Covidien/Mallinckrodt in global logistics, international and market development and sales and marketing support. Before moving into management, she held various legal roles for Mallinckrodt and was in private legal practice. JoAnne received her undergraduate, law and master’s of business administration degrees – all with honors – from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a recipient of a 2019 Leader of Distinction in Health Management award from the YWCA, a 2017 Healthcare Accomplishment Recognition Award from the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association – St. Louis Chapter and a 2016 St. Louis Business Journal’s Top 25 Most Influential Businesswomen Award. JoAnne is active in the community and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy in St. Louis.

Kelle Laws, RN – Executive Director

Kelle joined Mercy Research in May 2017 and provides leadership support to the clinical and business operations teams. Previously, she served with ROi, Mercy’s supply chain organization in various roles, most recently as executive director of medical devices contracting and clinical support. Kelle also has nine years of supply standardization consulting experience with Cardinal Health as well as several years in various nursing leadership and staffing positions, focused on surgery services. Kelle received her BA from Washington University in St. Louis, her nursing diploma from Barnes-Jewish College of Nursing in St. Louis and her graduate degree in nursing, with a focus in education, from the University of Phoenix.

Jana Dock, CPA – Director of Business Operations

Jana joined Mercy Research in January 2018. She started her career at Mercy in December 2001 in clinic finance in Springfield and later moved to clinic administration to assist with financial analysis. For nearly 11 years before joining Mercy Research, Jana was the manager of the Springfield finance hub for Mercy. Jana has a BS in accounting from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Michelle Bryant – Director of Regulatory Operations and Quality Assurance

Michelle joined Mercy in October 2016 as a research regulatory coordinator then served as the manager of regulatory operations. Prior to joining Mercy Research her experience included research study coordination, quality assurance, and behavioral healthcare services. Michelle has a BS in health sciences from Truman State University and a master’s of public health in epidemiology and biostatistics from Washington University in St. Louis. She is certified in healthcare compliance through the Healthcare Compliance Association.

Amy Taylor – Director of Clinical Research, Non-Oncology

Amy has been with Mercy since May 2011. She first served in emergency medical services and then followed a path to research in 2015 with clinical coordinator experience in areas including cardiology, endocrinology, ophthalmology and pain management. At Mercy Research, Amy held the position of clinical manager in the Central region. She has been a member, chair and is now the sponsor of the Mercy Research Mission Team. Amy has a BS in cell and molecular biology with minors in chemistry and psychology from Missouri State University.

Laurie Nightengale, MD - Director of Clinical Research, Oncology

Laurie joined Mercy Research in October 2022. Prior to joining Mercy Research Laurie’s 14 years of research experience included management of Phase II-IV clinical trials, development and growth of multiple biorepositories, development of translational research protocols, management of multiple mRNA vaccine trials and development of investigator-initiated research trial protocols. Laurie has a BS in exercise science/kinesiology from Kansas State University, master’s of science in international public health and development law from Tulane University School of Law, and medical degree from All Saints University School of Medicine

Vicky Wheelock, RN – Research Marketing Manager 

Vicky has been associated with the Mercy system for 38 years. She has served in various nursing roles focused on oncology, gastroenterology, case management and as a clinical research nurse for 13 years. She has held several leadership roles as the GI lab manager, acting head nurse of the oncology floor and director of clinical non-cancer research. Vicky has a BS in nursing from Maryville University.

Mercy Research Physician Council

Carla Kurkjian, MD – Mercy Oncology - Oklahoma City

With a medical degree from University of Oklahoma and fellowship in hematology/oncology, Dr. Kurkjian did a drug development fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Kurkjian joined Mercy in September 2016 as vice president of oncology services for the West Communities. She maintains a clinical practice at Mercy Oklahoma City with a focus on gastrointestinal malignancies, where our Mercy Research team has enjoyed supporting her active clinical research activities. She also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Dr. Kurkjian serves as Mercy Research medical director, representing Mercy West Communities.

Gregory Ledger, MD – Mercy Endocrinology - Springfield

With a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and a fellowship at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Ledger does research in metabolic bone disease and osteoporosis. Dr. Ledger has 24 years of experience practicing general endocrinology with an interest in metabolic bone disease. He is currently the chief medical officer for the Mercy Springfield Community and medical director for Mercy Research for Mercy Central Communities.

William Logan, MD – Mercy Neurology - St. Louis

With a medical degree from University of Oklahoma and training in internal medicine and neurology, Dr. Logan has dedicated 35 years to Mercy and his patients. He is actively involved in stroke, seizure and various multiple sclerosis clinical trials, aiding patients and advancing alternative therapies, as well as providing leadership to Mercy’s residency education program. Dr. Logan serves as medical director for Mercy Research for Mercy East Communities.