Faculty and Staff News
Alumnus Will Cooke earns Family Physician of the Year honors for his efforts to combat opioid abuse
IU School of Medicine graduate Will Cooke, MD, has been fighting the good fight since 2004 when he first began his family medicine practice in Austin, Indiana. Cooke had always planned to practice in a rural, underserved area of his home state, but he was shocked by the toll that decades of high unemployment and generational poverty had taken on his new community. There was a hunger for narcotics that was way out of proportion for a town of only 4,300 residents.
By February 2015, the tiny rural town of Austin found itself in the crosshairs of two deadly epidemics. The worsening opioid crisis led Austin to become what the CDC confirmed was the epicenter of the country’s most serious drug-related HIV outbreak. Not only were members of the community dying of overdoses, they were also suffering the dire consequences of sharing dirty needles. As these two epidemics raged, Cooke welcomed all people to his clinic who needed help, regardless of their illness or ability to pay.
Cooke’s unrelenting commitment to his patients, as well has his many successes, have earned him national recognition by the American Academy of Family Physicians as the AAFP’s 2019 Family Physician of the Year. The award honors one outstanding American family physician who provides compassionate, comprehensive care, and serves as a role model in his or her community and to other health professionals. Cooke, who talked about his commitment to community-based medicine in this video, is the first Indiana physician to earn the prestigious award.
“My training in the specialty of family medicine is honestly the only training that could have prepared me to provide this level of comprehensive care to the people of my community,” Cooke said. “I’ve seen a lot of suffering, but I’ve also seen a lot of joy and progress.”
As of today, 76 percent of Cooke’s patients with HIV have undetectable viral loads and are therefore unable to spread the disease to others. That compares to 49 percent nationally. Cooke gives plenty of credit to his clinical team who, in addition to their regular job duties, stepped up and quickly learned how to care for people with this chronic disease.
Drug use remains a problem in Austin, but the community is slowly beginning to heal.
“What people need to understand is that stories of drug abuse, addiction and HIV are not what define Austin and other cities struggling with this epidemic,” Cooke said. “Each community has its own story and obstacles to overcome. The success stories will be of the communities that work together to meet people’s needs at the local level.”
Don Brown, alumnus and donor, to share insights on computing and health care
One of Indiana’s most successful entrepreneurs, Don Brown, MD, an IU School of Medicine alumnus and graduate of IU’s master of computer science program, will deliver a presentation, “How Big Data, Al, and Mobile killed healthcare, but nobody knows it yet,” from 9-10 am, Friday, October 26, in Dorsey Learning Hall on the IU Bloomington campus.
Brown is the founder and CEO of LifeOmic, Inc. LifeOmic has created a cloud-based platform that combines the data for millions of patients, including data from electronic medical records, genetic tests, diagnostic images and mobile fitness data, with machine learning to allow health care providers and medical researchers to identify new biomarkers, analyze trends and predict health problems before they are clinically diagnosed.
Brown is one of the most successful serial software entrepreneurs in the Midwest. He was founder of the first software company in Indiana to go public, Software Artistry, in 1986, and he was the founder and CEO of Interactive Intelligence, which was sold in 2016 for $1.4 billion. LifeOmic’s platform is a foundation of the IU Precision Health Initiative, part of the university’s $300 million Grand Challenges program.
At IU School of Medicine, Brown gifted $30 million to the school in December 2017 to establish the Brown Center for Immunotherapy, which aims to develop new treatments and cure disease through the use of cell-based immunotherapies.
Nominate a colleague for a Trustees Teaching Award
The Indiana University Board of Trustees annually recognizes excellence in teaching through the Trustees Teaching Award. Nominations for the 2019 awards are now being accepted with a deadline of Friday, January 18. More than 50 IU School of Medicine teachers are expected to receive the award this year.
Tenured and tenure-track faculty and librarians engaged in teaching are eligible, as are full-time clinical faculty and full-time lecturers whose primary duties are teaching, including IU School of Medicine faculty who may be located at medical centers or be paid by institutions other than Indiana University (e.g., IU Health Physicians, Eskenazi Health, Purdue University, Veterans Affairs, Ball State University, etc.).
Take note of IU policy reminders as Election Day nears
Need a refresher on the university’s policies regarding political activity and paid time off to vote? InsideIU offers a complete summary. Highlights include:
- Staff employees whose work schedules prevent them from voting between 6 am and 6 pm may be allowed time off with pay to vote, up to a maximum of two hours. (See this article for examples of when paid time off is allowed.)
- The university has developed guidelines for political campaigns, invitations, events and activities to clarify the types of activities that are permitted and those that are restricted. Full policy details related to political activities are available.
Additionally, IU School of Medicine Medical Student Education is allowing students to request time off from class to vote on Tuesday, November 6. The deadline for Phase 1 Year 1 and 2 students to request time away is Monday, October 22.
Questions about the IU policies? Contact Human Resources.
Researchers study a new way to possibly prevent miscarriages
Researchers at IU School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology are learning more about how to prevent miscarriages.
The team, led by David Haas, MD, reviewed clinical trials published in the past about women who have a history of recurrent miscarriages. They found for those women, the use of progestin medication could reduce the chance of miscarrying in a future pregnancy.
“Having miscarriages can be both physically and emotionally difficult for women and their partners. Finding a therapy to help reduce recurrent miscarriages could help them avoid a miscarriage and have a live baby,” the team says in a recently published paper.
Progesterone is a female sex hormone that is essential for successful implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Miscarriage generally happens during the first trimester. While the cause is sometimes found, often there is no clear reason for the miscarriage. Some past studies suggest some women who miscarry may not be making enough progesterone during that early phase of pregnancy.
Learn more about the study led by Haas’s team in this Research Updates blog post.
IU cancer researcher seeks cause, solutions to low number of lung cancer screenings performed nationwide
An IU cancer researcher will study why high-risk patients eligible for lung cancer screening are not referred in greater numbers for the non-invasive procedure.
Lisa Carter-Harris, PhD, has been awarded $100,000 by the American Lung Association for a two-year behavioral study of primary care clinicians to identify barriers associated with low referral rates for the screening that has been recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force since 2013. Carter-Harris is an assistant professor of nursing at the IU School of Nursing and a research member of the Cancer Prevention and Control program at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.
“Compared to colon cancer and breast cancer screening, lung cancer screening has much lower rates of participation,” Carter-Harris said. “Our hypothesis is that there are specific biases and stigma related to smoking as a cause of the cancer. What we want to look at nationally is what’s driving the low rates of discussion between clinicians and patients and the low rates of screening.
For more on Carter-Harris’s research, read this Newsroom blog post.
Faculty and Staff News
Cybersecurity awareness month: IU study finds that strict password policies help prevent fraud
Findings of an Indiana University study on password reuse—released just in time for the October observance of cybersecurity awareness month—indicate that the all-to-common practice of using the same email address/password combination to log into multiple websites can be damaging, especially for employers with many users and valuable assets protected by passwords, like universities.
"If someone uses their university email address and passphrase to sign up for, say, LinkedIn, and LinkedIn is breached by cybercriminals, that would mean their university password is sitting on the web for everyone to see," said Indiana University's Dan Calarco, co-author on a new paper that examines the practice of password reuse.
But researchers at IU have discovered a simple way to foil criminals intent on breaking into university data.
"We found that requiring longer and more complicated passwords resulted in a lower likelihood of password reuse," the authors write in the paper, Factors Influencing Password Reuse: A Case Study.
Read this IU IT News & Events post for more on the study and how IU’s passphrase requirements and two-factor authentication perform compared to other universities when it comes to information security.
November 12 Teaching with Technology webinar to highlight Piazza
Participate in an upcoming webinar to learn how to use Piazza to deliver course content online and increase learner engagement. The Piazza platform allows faculty to establish a collaborative learning community in which learners help one another. Register for the webinar, which will take place from noon-1 pm, Monday, November 12.
Peer review workshop is December 5
Peer review is an important part of helping all faculty develop and refine their teaching skills. An upcoming workshop will train IU School of Medicine faculty reviewers how to conduct peer reviews of teaching in the classroom, lab and clinical settings. The session is required for new reviewers and will be a great refresher for veterans. Register for the workshop, which will be held from 8-10 am, Wednesday, December 5, in the Daly Center, Room (MF) 186.
Apply for global health research pilot project funding by December 10
The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) with the IU Center for Global Health is accepting proposals from applicants developing or currently involved in collaborative global health research projects. The goal of the grant program is to encourage the development of new collaborative interdisciplinary research that identifies innovations to address key global health challenges and improve health outcomes in resource-limited settings.
Eligibility information and submission details are available. Application deadline is Monday, December 10.
Funding now available for reciprocal global health innovation
The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) with the IU Center for Global Health is soliciting proposals from applicants developing or currently involved in collaborative global health research projects. The purpose of this program is to encourage reciprocal global health innovation among Indiana CTSI partner institutions (IU, Purdue and Notre Dame) and their academic research partners abroad. The grant award will support the co-development and evaluation of high-potential research to address critical health challenges in Indiana and/or at CTSI LMIC partner sites globally. Special emphasis will be given to projects that address high-priority needs, such as reducing infant mortality and opioid addiction.
Eligibility information and submission details are available. Application deadline is Monday, December 10.
Register by Friday for upcoming Indiana CTSI retreat at Notre Dame
Researchers and the public are invited to attend the annual Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) retreat at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The event will take place at Notre Dame’s McCourtney Hall on Friday, October 26, from 9 am-4:15 pm EDT.
Research teams will present on a variety of topics, including an overview of CTSI programs, global health, translational drug discovery, promoting collaborations and more. Additionally, attendees will be able to participate in poster presentations and attend panel discussions with drug discovery leaders who have university and industry backgrounds.
Event registration will close on Friday, October 19.
Choi and Nanagas selected to attend AAMC leadership seminar
Jennifer Choi, MD, associate professor of clinical surgery, and Kristine A. Nanagas, MD, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine, have been selected to attend the 2018 Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar in early December.
The seminar is designed to provide mid-career faculty with the knowledge and skills to advance into leadership roles in academic medicine.