Virginia Tech has appointed Leanna Blevins as the assistant vice president for health sciences education to steer academic program growth in Roanoke.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Blevins on our team working to build Virginia Tech’s growing health sciences campus and academic programming in Roanoke,” said Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences, and the executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.

In her new role, Blevins will be responsible for integrating undergraduate programs into the health sciences campus in Roanoke while building partnerships that will help establish an even more holistic, vibrant, and sustainable campus ecosystem in Roanoke.

“Our programming in Roanoke blends traditional academics with hands-on clinical and laboratory research experience,” said Blevins. “This work is typically reserved for graduate students, so expanding our programs to include undergraduate experiential learning opportunities will make our academic programs stand out in unique and positive ways.”

Blevins also assists in managing Virginia Tech’s participation in a $23 million Clinical Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) granted by the National Institutes for Health. This statewide collaboration, called the integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia, is a partnership between Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, the University of Virginia, and Inova Health System. Through the CTSA, Blevins and Friedlander are building out a new scholars’ program designed to support early career researchers develop successful careers in clinical or translational research.

Blevins, who earned a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech and a doctoral degree in higher education policy from the University of Virginia, has 25 years of professional experience in higher education. She has spent the past 15 years helping to establish the New College Institute, a collaborative model of postsecondary education for rural Southern Virginia.

Her research and work focus on engaging rural and underserved communities and improving access to both higher education and healthcare. Blevins has served in various leadership capacities on state and national boards.