IU School of Medicine, Lilly partner on rotation program for medical students

March 19, 2015

Students from the IU School of Medicine are getting a first-hand look at how new medicines are discovered. Through a partnership with Lilly USA, third- and fourth-year medical students are learning about drug development and how the many physicians working at Lilly play different and important roles in bringing new and innovative medicines to patients.

IU School of Medicine is partnering with Lilly USA to offer medical students a closer look at how medicines are developed. | Photo By Eli Lilly and Company

"As a former medical educator, scientific investigator, and health system administrator, I recognize that there are few opportunities for medical students to learn about the scientific rigor and complexity involved in developing new medicines," said Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., senior vice president and Lilly USA medical leader.  

"Future physicians will be dependent on new medicines for their patients and will benefit from learning about the discovery and approval process. I am thrilled that we can offer this unique educational experience," said Dr. Pescovitz, former executive associate dean of research affairs at IU School of Medicine and former CEO of the University of Michigan Health System.

The Medical Student Rotation Program is a four-week experiential learning program. Through real-world projects and workshops, the students become directly involved with various departments within Lilly, such as research, clinical trial development, medical affairs, regulatory, bioethics, and patient safety. Students also get the opportunity to meet and network with Lilly medical leaders.

George Venious, a fourth-year IU School of Medicine student, is participating in a four-week experiential learning program at Lilly USA. | Photo By Eli Lilly and Company

"I was initially attracted to this program because I had some experience in early drug development while working in a research lab as an undergraduate, and I was interested to learn more about the entire drug development and approval process," said George Venious, a fourth-year medical student at IUSM. "Through the program I've gained a more accurate understanding of how drug companies operate and the role they play in medicine today."

The rotation program is designed around a student-centric curriculum and is guided by experienced, knowledgeable mentors at Lilly who help students explore drug development and diverse career options in health care. Through these experiences, students learn about the pharmaceutical industry and its place in the practice of medicine.

"The IU School of Medicine is proud to partner with Eli Lilly and Company to provide an innovative educational experience about pharmaceutical discovery," said Sara Jo Grethlein, M.D., associate dean for undergraduate medical education at IUSM. "As Indianapolis neighbors, we have a long history of collaboration in research and are eager to build this industry-academic project.

"Grounded by a foundational exploration of the ethical and regulatory aspects of drug development, this partnership gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge of how translational research happens, and how an idea moves from the bench to market," said Dr. Grethlein. "Our graduates will participate in all aspects of medicine including clinical practice and academics, inspiring many students to become leaders in pharmaceutical research."