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Donna Cochran will begin work as assistant vice chancellor for research finance administration on July 26.

Cochran comes to the Office of Research and Engagement from the Knoxville Dermatology Group, where she was chief financial officer.

Cochran replaces Beth Neilson, who announced her retirement earlier this year after having served in the role since 2008.

The AVCRFA serves as a primary advisor to the vice chancellor for research and engagement on financial, human resource, and operational activities.

“I am excited to return to a university setting which provides an energetic and challenging environment,” said Cochran. “I look forward to working with the research finance team and exceptional ORE staff.”

Cochran spent the majority of her career in Tucson, Arizona, working at the University of Arizona. She was assistant dean for finance and administration of the UA College of Nursing, which involved not only accounting and budgeting but grant and contract administration as well as facilities and human resources oversight. She was also the director of business development for the UA Medical Center, responsible for identifying business development opportunities and for oversight and review of rate proposals, financial models, and contract language.

Before working at the University of Arizona, Cochran spent several years in health care administration, responsible for managing and growing surgery, emergency, and business development departments. Her experience includes strategic planning, human resources management, and performance reporting and analysis.

“We are delighted to add Donna to the ORE team,” said Taylor Eighmy, vice chancellor for research and engagement. “Her experience in Arizona has equipped her with a broad skill set, which will be of great value to the division. I look forward to her vision and leadership as we continue to expand our research opportunities for the UT research community.”

Cochran earned her Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is a certified public accountant and has served on several health care boards, including Salud Para Todos (Health for All).