Faculty and Staff News
AMPATH celebrates 30 years
Thirty years ago, physicians from IU School of Medicine traveled to Kenya to begin a decades-long partnership with Moi University. A vision of hope was shared by all: build a holistic health program for the people of Kenya.
In 2001, the successful collaboration became known as AMPATH—western Kenya’s first system of sustainable healthcare for an entire population. And a new and deliberate decision was made: take on the growing HIV epidemic in Kenya, one patient at a time.
Today, AMPATH is one of Africa’s largest and most successful HIV care programs. Led by Indiana University, it’s become an internationally recognized global healthcare model that provides lifesaving care for chronic diseases and tools for empowerment. It’s also grown to include 12 North American universities, in addition to Moi University, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and the Kenyan government.
“There’s a whole new generation of Kenyans who now understand they can dream, they can vision and they can make important things happen,” said Joseph Mamlin, MD, professor emeritus of medicine, IU School of Medicine, and founding member of AMPATH.
Learn more about the partnership and it’s 30-year history in Let’s Change the Paradigm.
Liangpunsakul awarded $1.8 million NIH grant for cirrhosis clinical trial
Suthat Liangpunsakul, MD, professor of medicine, has been awarded a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a clinical trial aimed at providing new avenues to improve liver function for patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which is part of the NIH, is funding the project led by Liangpunsakul, principal investigator on the grant. He is collaborating on the project with co-principal investigator Shelly Lu, MD, from Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, along with Bin Gao, MD, PhD, of the NIAAA.
The project will focus on the use of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) to improve liver function in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. SAMe is a natural compound found in the human body that helps maintain cellular function. A synthetic version of SAMe is available as a dietary supplement in the United States, and can be purchased at some grocery stores. According to Liangpunsakul, a decades-old study scratched the surface of discovering SAMe’s effect on people with alcoholic cirrhosis. This collaborative study hopes to delve deeper into the compound’s potential.
“There was a study published almost 20 years ago showing the signal that SAMe may be useful to prevent mortality in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis who are not too sick,” Liangpunsakul said. “However, the study did not include enough people to have scientifically meaningful results. More importantly, the study did not investigate how SAMe works in improving liver function.”
Liangpunsakul’s group will study the role of SAMe compared to placebos in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. During the clinical trial, patients will take either SAMe or a placebo for two years—with researchers studying if SAMe can improve liver function and mortality. The study will also look into the mechanisms and pathways that SAMe influences in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.
Read more about the study in the Newsroom.
Reminder: Flu vaccination deadline is November 14
It may be Halloween, but this is no trick. The deadline to receive your flu vaccination is right around the corner. All IU School of Medicine faculty, house staff and students who provide clinical care at Indiana University Health or Eskenazi Health, perform clinical research at these facilities or whose primary office is in an IU Health or Eskenazi Health hospital are required to receive a flu vaccination before Thursday, November 14.
On the IUPUI campus, free flu shots are available at Campus Health (Coleman Hall, Suite 100) or at a Campus Health flu shot outreach clinic. Students (only) also may obtain a flu shot at Campus Center Student Health. There are no out-of-pocket costs for flu shots. IU School of Medicine staff are also eligible to receive flu shots at no cost.
Dates, times and locations of Campus Health flu shot outreach clinics are listed on the IUPUI Events Calendar. Use the “Health and Wellness” filter to find flu shot clinics quickly.
Other details to know for flu vaccinations on the Indianapolis campus:
- No appointment is necessary to receive a flu shot.
- You must present a valid university picture ID.
- Students will be asked to present a health insurance card but will be able to receive a free flu shot regardless of insurance.
Schneider earns Susan G. Komen grant for breast cancer outcomes disparities research
A grant from Susan G. Komen will help bolster research at IU School of Medicine aimed at addressing outcome disparities in African-American patients being treated for breast cancer. Bryan Schneider, MD, Vera Bradley Chair of Oncology, is the recipient of a $250,000 Komen Breast Cancer Disparities Research Supplemental Grant, which will support his research on how genetic ancestry affects the response to breast cancer therapy in African-American women.
Schneider’s work, launched as a National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trial, EAZ171, focuses on taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy (TIPN), a serious side effect which is linked to worse outcomes in patients. Neuropathy is nerve damage that can show up as weakness, numbness or throbbing pain in the fingertips and toes. It can occur during treatment and has the potential to be irreversible.
“The goal of this study is to personalize the best type of chemotherapy for African-American women who require therapy in the curative setting for their breast cancer,” said Schneider. “We found that African-American women are markedly more likely to get neuropathy from the class of chemotherapy called taxanes when compared to Caucasian women. In this trial, we will use the genetic makeup of each patient to unravel which taxane may cause the least amount of neuropathy and result in the best quality of life, while still being effective at killing cancer cells.”
For more on the research, read the full Breast Cancer Research blog post.
Faculty and Staff News
Faculty: Deadline is November 8 to submit committee preferences
As a reminder, the deadline for faculty to submit preferences for school-wide committee service for the 2020-2021 academic year is Friday, November 8. Ballot information was sent to eligible voting faculty via email in early October.
Each year, the Faculty Steering Committee partners with Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity to solicit faculty interest in serving on school-wide committees in appointed and elected roles. Due to the April 2019 constitutional changes, each department will now have a chance to elect a representative to serve on the Faculty Steering Committee.
Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open enrollment is November 11-22: What you need to know
Indiana University open enrollment begins Monday, November 11, and will run through Friday, November 22. IU employees can make changes to their medical and dental insurance, add or remove eligible dependents, determine their needs for their Health Savings Account contribution, decide whether to save money through the Tax Saver Benefit plans and more.
Informational emails were sent to all benefits-eligible employees in October, and information booklets are being delivered through campus mail. More information is available from IU Human Resource, or you can attend a campus information or webinar. Times and locations are available on the HR open enrollment website and in open enrollment booklets.
Visit News at IU for a list of what’s new in benefits for 2020.
Learn more about Fidelity: IU’s new retirement plan provider
Indiana University has selected Fidelity as the sole provider of administrative recordkeeping services to the IU retirement plans. In addition, a new simplified investment menu was introduced. Information about the changes and enhancements was sent to active IU employees, retirees and people who no longer work for the university but were fully vested before they left.
Effective January 1, 2020, the following changes will be introduced:
- Fidelity will be the sole recordkeeper for IU retirement plans.
- New reduced fees under the IU retirement plans will be more transparent.
- A new streamlined investment menu will be offered. A self-directed brokerage window also will be available for investors who want access to additional options.
- Rollovers from other plans or IRAs will be permitted into the TDA and 457(b) Plan.
- Roth contributions will be permitted to the TDA and 457(b) Plan.
John Whelan, IU vice president for human resources, will be at the Indianapolis Faculty Council (IFC) meeting from 3-5 pm, Tuesday, November 19, to explain the changes and answer questions. The meeting will be held in the IUPUI Campus Center Theater.
Other ways to learn more
- Visit the Retirement Plan Enhancements site.
- Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a Fidelity representative. Appointments are available at no cost. Schedule online, call the Fidelity reservation line at 800-642-7131 or text “MeetAtIU” to 343-898*. Meetings will be available on every campus throughout the fall semester.
- Attend an on-site seminar. Reservation is not required.
- Can’t attend in person? Register for a webinar:
Tuesday, November 5; 2 pm EST
Fidelity NetBenefits 101
Thursday, November 7; noon EST
Fidelity NetBenefits 101
Wednesday, November 13; noon EST
Fidelity NetBenefits 101
Wednesday, November 20; 2 pm EST
Fidelity NetBenefits 101
Marfurt named emeritus professor
Carl Marfurt, PhD, who retired from IU School of Medicine on October 31, has earned emeritus status with the new title of professor emeritus of cell biology & physiology.
In 35 years of distinguished service to IU School of Medicine, Marfurt has been an active and accomplished faculty member. As a teacher, he served as course director and primary instructor for the school’s neuroscience course for 35 years and also served for 12 of those years as course director for the neuroscience course on the South Bend campus. As IU School of Medicine went through curriculum reform, Marfurt played an active role in the process and helped to develop, and served as the first statewide leader, of the neuroscience and behavior course. Marfurt is the recipient of 28 teaching awards, including the IU School of Medicine Golden Apple Award and five Trustee Teaching Awards.
In research, Marfurt has maintained an internationally recognized research program on corneal innervation, nerve regeneration and dry eye disease. He has been the recipient of 20 extramural grants including several from the National Institutes of Health. Marfurt has published 50 peer-reviewed research publications and three book chapters, and was a member of the editorial boards of two prestigious eye research journals.
In service to the school and university, Marfurt served as interim center director on both the South Bend and Northwest-Gary campuses.
Emeritus designation may be awarded upon retirement from IUPUI to faculty members and others as recognition of "substantial contributions to the university in the fields of teaching, research and/or service." Marfurt’s emeritus status was approved by IUPUI Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Kathy Johnson. IU School of Medicine congratulates Marfurt and appreciates his contributions to the school and university.
Department of Family Medicine’s Medical Miles run/walk is Saturday
It’s time to lace up those running shoes for the Medical Miles 5K Run & Fun Walk, which will take place from 9-11 am, Saturday, November 2, at the Indianapolis downtown canal. The event is part of the Department of Family Medicine’s 45th anniversary celebration. A portion of the proceeds will support the medical student outreach clinic affiliated with the Department of Family Medicine. Register for the event.
Plan to attend the Beering award lecture on November 6; learner lecture is November 5
George R. Stark, PhD, the 2019 Steven C. Beering Award winner and a cancer biology researcher from the Cleveland Clinic, will present his lecture, "The two faces of interferon: Is our major antiviral defense mechanism a friend or a foe in cancer?," at 9 am, Wednesday, November 6, in Walther Hall (R3), Room 203. Registration is available.
Stark also will present a learner lecture, “My life in science, not the restaurant business,” from 8:30-9:30 am, Tuesday, November 5, in Walther Hall, Room 203. More information and registration for the learner lecture are available.
The IU School of Medicine Steven C. Beering Award honors an internationally recognized individual for outstanding research contributions to the advancement of biomedical and clinical science. Established in 1983, the award honors the important contributions Beering made to the school as its dean from 1974 to 1983.
Fall IU School of Medicine Orchestra concert is November 10
The IU School of Medicine Orchestra will perform its fall concert at 2 pm, Sunday, November 10, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., in downtown Indianapolis. The orchestra, featuring the musical talents of faculty, learners and staff, will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 and Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra Overture.
Admission and parking are free. For more details, visit the orchestra’s Facebook page.
Apply by November 25 for two IU Health Values Fund grants
Indiana University Health seeks applicants for two IU Health Values Fund grants—one related to spiritual and religious dimensions in health care, and the other related to education.
IU Health Values Fund for the Integration of Spiritual and Religious Dimensions in Health Care
IU Health defines spirituality broadly, based on the international consensus definition: Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred. Application details are available. Note that letters of intent are optional. Contact Alexia Torke at email@example.com with questions.
IU Health Values Fund Grant Pilot & Feasibility Program – Education
This grant program focuses on curriculum development for point-of-care ultrasound or areas of scholarly concentration that support the IU Health strategic and enterprise goals. Funding is limited to a maximum of $50,000 per year for two years. More information and list of scholarly concentrations are available.
Plan ahead: LGBTQ Health Care Conference is March 23-24
Mark your calendar for the 2020 LGBTQ Healthcare Conference on Monday, March 23, and Tuesday, March 24, at the IUPUI Campus Center. The conference is designed for nurses, physicians, physician assistants, psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers and others who seek to better understand the unique health considerations and barriers to health care in the LGBTQ population. More details and registration are available.
Downs honored by the Society for Medical Decision Making
Stephen Downs, MD, MS, Jean and Jerry Bepko Professor of Pediatrics, has received the John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research. The award, presented by the Society for Medical Decision Making, recognizes “individuals or organizations for sustained leadership in translating medical decision-making research into practice and work to communicate those findings to policymakers and the public.”
McHenry and colleagues author paper on global health education
Megan McHenry, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, and colleagues from IU, University of Virginia and Mount Sinai recently had their paper “Leveraging Economies of Scale via Collaborative Interdisciplinary Global Health Tracks (CIGHTs): Lessons from Three Programs” published by Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The paper examines the unique characteristics of three universities’ interdepartmental global health residency programs and offers insights on how similar programs might be structured. Interest in global health among medical trainees continues to increase, but resources and opportunities for authentic experiences can be limited.
For more details, read the Global Health blog post.