Faculty and Staff News

  • Richard C. Zellars to lead radiation oncology

    Richard C. Zellars, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has been named professor and chair of radiation oncology at the IU School of Medicine, pending approval by the IU trustees. He will begin his new duties in January.

    A breast cancer researcher, Dr. Zellars is an associate professor of radiation oncology at Johns Hopkins and assistant director of clinical trial accrual at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Zellars holds a medical degree from Johns Hopkins and completed his residency training in radiation oncology at the University of Michigan. He held faculty positions at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Georgetown University before returning to practice at his alma mater in 2001.

    Dr. Zellars’ research focuses on the safety and efficacy of radiation for the treatment of breast cancer. He also does research into health care disparities in African-American women who typically have more severe radiation toxicities. 

    Outside his research role at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Zellars founded the Cancer in the Under-Privileged, Indigent or Disadvantaged Summer Fellowship, which exposes first-year medical students who have a demonstrated interest in serving disadvantaged populations to the specialty of oncology. This popular program hosts medical students from across the country, including an IU School of Medicine student in 2011.

    Dr. Zellars is a member of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology and serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Breast Cancer Panel.

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  • New appointments in educational affairs

    Peter Nalin, M.D., executive associate dean for education affairs, has named Taihung "Peter" Duong, Ph.D., interim associate dean for admissions, and Jerry Rushton, M.D., MPH, co-investigator of a grant-funded IU Fairbanks School of Public Health program. 

    Dr. Duong is associate dean and director of IU School of Medicine-Terre Haute. In his new role, Dr. Duong  will provide leadership for the IU School of Medicine Office of Admissions as it supports the mission of the school as a national model in medical student education. His plans include increasing the diversity of the medical student population and expanding the membership of the admissions executive committee, as well as strengthening the school's visibility nationally with undergraduate pre-med programs.

    Dr. Rushton is an associate professor of clinical pediatrics and program director for the pediatrics residency program. He will work with colleagues Carole Kacius and Robert Das at Fairbanks School of Public Health to advance a new M.D./MPH degree program. The program allows medical students to pursue a graduate certificate in public health or a joint M.D./MPH degree.

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Research News

  • Indiana Project screenings show need for more mental health services in youth detention

    Indiana is at the forefront of providing mental health screening and services to juvenile offenders, but more efforts are needed to improve the services provided to detained youths, according to IU School of Medicine research findings published in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

    "A Statewide Collaboration to Initiate Mental Health Screening and Assess Services for Indiana Detained Youths" reviewed 25,265 detention visits of 15,461 youths occurring in 2008 to 2011. The youths were incarcerated in 16 detention centers participating in the Indiana Juvenile Mental Health Screening Project, a statewide collaboration of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the Indiana State Bar Association and other community members.  

    The intent was to implement mental health screening; determine the percentage of youth detainees in need of services; assess the availability and extent of detention center mental health follow-up and referral services; and assess whether a disparity exists due to the size and geographic location of the detention center.

    "The Indiana Project disclosed several important facts that validate arguments for the need for mental health screenings and services for youths in detention centers and after their release," said Matthew C. Aalsma, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics in the Section of Adolescent Medicine at the IU School of Medicine. "The study showed that youths in the juvenile justice system have very high rates of mental health issues and that the services available are disparate; improvements are needed to enable youths to receive services after discharge."

    For more on the study, visit the IUSM Newsroom.

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  • IU researcher urges changes in how primary care doctors treat pain, fatigue

    Common symptoms such as pain or fatigue account for over half of all doctor's office appointments in the United States, translating into more than 400 million visits annually.

    A new study from the Regenstrief Institute and IU School of Medicine reports that one in three common symptoms do not have a clear-cut disease-based explanation. The study also offers suggestions on how doctors can help patients deal more effectively with both physical and psychological symptoms.

    The peer-reviewed study, "A Practical and Evidence-Based Approach to Common Symptoms," is based on a review of studies on common symptoms plus a quarter-century of patient care and research related to symptom management by study author Kurt Kroenke, M.D., an IUPUI Chancellor's Professor and professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine The study appears in the Oct. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    Dr. Kroenke is also research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute and an investigator with the Veterans Affairs Center for Health Information and Communication.

    For more on this study, visit the IUSM Newsroom.

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  • Regenstrief conference focuses on health care innovations

    One hundred leaders and researchers from health care, technology and other fields -- many of them disruptive innovators and agents for change -- participated in the 13th Biennial Regenstrief Think Tank 2014 Conference this month.

    Regenstrief conferences have a long tradition of framing novel ideas that generate compelling research projects and effective real-world implementation.

    "The 2014 Regenstrief Institute Think Tank Conference: Using Innovation and Implementation Science to Transform Healthcare” provided an exceptional opportunity for discussions about the transformation of health care as well as a rich knowledge exchange about the future of care, according to Malaz Boustani, M.D., Richard M. Fairbanks Professor in Aging Research at IU School of Medicine, who chaired the event.

    Dr. Boustani is the chief operating officer of the Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science, a part of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, the chief innovation and implementation officer at IU Health and an investigator at the Regenstrief Institute.

    For more on the event, see the complete story.

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Student Showcase

  • Mark your calendars for the IUSM Second Year Show

    The IUSM Second Year Show, or "2YS," will be a "Saturday Night Live"-themed event about medical school life at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at Madame Walker Theatre in Indianapolis. All are welcome to attend.

    The event, which will feature both live and videotaped skits, is a class-wide effort, but also aims to reach out to all nine IUSM campuses, as well as alumni and faculty members. Skit submissions are currently sought. Although the event's theme is humor, skits may cover a range of topics.

    In hosting this show, student organizers aim to create a new tradition at the School of Medicine as well as build connections between students, faculty and alumni throughout the state. The show will put a spotlight on the importance of personal health through a balanced lifestyle that reaches beyond the classroom, including involvement in the community.

    Ticket prices are to be announced. 

    Questions to Rachel Frantz at rmfrantz@iupui.edu.

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News To Use

  • Fifth Annual Harry and Edith Gradstein Lecture -- Oct. 24

    Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, will present "The Coming Age of Personalized Medicine" from 12 to 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, in Walther Hall (R3) Auditorium (Room 203).

    The Annual Harry and Edith Gladstein Lecture aims to highlight the dramatic advances made in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer by genomic science.

    Questions to Cornelia Davis-Moore at cdavismo@iu.edu.

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  • Ebola: An Urgent Conversation About Ethics, Law, Public Health and Practice -- Oct. 24

    "Ebola: 'Over There'… Now 'Over Here' -- An Urgent Conversation About Ethics, Law, Public Health and Practice," will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, in the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Room 375.

    The initial outbreak of Ebola in West Africa presented many ethical, legal, logistical and clinical challenges for first responders, clinicians, politicians and researchers. A group of experts in the ethical, legal, public health and clinical care implications will discuss several key issues facing patients, practitioners and the public. Following short presentations, an open dialogue will allow for exchange of perspectives

    Panelists are Eric M. Meslin, Ph.D., director of the IU Center for Bioethics; Chad Priest, assistant dean for operations and community partnerships at the IU School of Nursing; Ross D. Silverman, professor and acting chair of health policy and management at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and Nicolas P. Terry, Hall Render Professor of Law and director of the Hall Center for Law and Health at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

    This is a free event, but registration is required. Light refreshments will be served.

    Questions to Eva Jackson at evajacks@iu.edu.

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  • Fall Faculty Meeting -- Oct. 27

    The 2014 Fall Faculty Meeting will be from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 27, in Walther Hall (R3) Auditorium.

    Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., dean of IU School of Medicine and vice president for university clinical affairs at IU, will deliver an update on clinical, research, education and faculty affairs topics. Mary E. Dankoski, Ph.D., executive associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development, and Peter M. Nalin, M.D., executive associate dean for educational affairs, will also provide brief updates.

    A Q&A session will conclude the meeting. Input is welcomed as the Faculty Steering Committee is working on ways to improve communication both within the faculty and between the faculty and the administration. To submit a question for the Q&A session, please use this online form.

    Faculty meetings are held twice a year to discuss issues of importance to the school of medicine. The Faculty Steering Committee encourages faculty to attend in person but a live stream is also available.

    Instructions to view the livestream are available on the IUSM website.

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  • #MedChat with Richard Frankel -- Oct. 28

    Do you want to interact with colleagues from medical schools and health centers across the country on some of the hottest topics in medicine? Join the conversation with IU School of Medicine’s live Twitter chats.

    These hour-long Twitter discussions are aimed at medical professionals and focus on a different health related topic. Each #MedChat is led by an IUSM faculty member and facilitated by the IUSM Twitter account (@iumedschool) managed by IU Communications. Followers are encouraged to participate in the conversation using the hashtag #MedChat.

    “Social media can act as a source of social support for patients with life limiting diseases to share their stories and best practices for dealing with symptoms and coping with everyday life problems,” said Richard Frankel, M.D., professor of medicine at IU School of Medicine, who will lead the next #MedChat on Tuesday, Oct. 28. 

    The topic of the chat, scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon, will be "Palliative Care." Follow Dr. Frankel on Twitter at @rfrankel1.

    “Isolation and depression are both common as patients transition to palliative care,” Frankel said.  “While clinical depression is best addressed by a medical professional, social media can be a source of support and encouragement.”

    October’s #MedChat coincides with the IU Simon Cancer Center’s Walther Program Palliative Care Symposium which will be held at the IUPUI campus next month. The focus of the symposium is on research for improving communication among patients, family members and clinicians in the context of advanced cancer and other advanced diseases. 

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  • IUSM Art Exhibit entries due Oct. 27

    The seventh annual IUSM Art Exhibition “Scientific Inquiry, Artistic Expression” is accepting entries to showcase the work of the students, staff, faculty and alumni of the IU schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry and health and rehabilitation sciences, Fairbanks School of Public Health and employees of Roudebush VA, Eskenazi Health and IU Health.

    The deadline for submitting work is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27. All artwork must be ready for display, particularly hanging items. To submit work, visit the submission page.

    "Scientific Inquiry, Artistic Expression" will begin with a one-day show in the atrium of the VanNuys Medical Science Building, followed by a month-long display in the IUPUI Campus Center Cultural Arts Gallery. The exhibit in the VanNuys atrium will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21. The works of art will also be displayed in the Cultural Arts Gallery from Nov. 29 to Jan. 2.

    A Meet the Artists Reception will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18. The exhibits and the reception are open to the public.

    For more information, contact Mary Hardin at 317-274-5456 or mhardin@iu.edu.

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  • IU cardiologist start-up earns technology transfer award

    An IU startup company co-founded by a member of the IU School of Medicine recently received a received Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer awards from the National institutes of Health

    Arrhythmotech LLC -- which is developing a new generation of cardio monitoring instruments -- received $212,634 in support of work on its neuECG, a device that can record and process both sympathetic nerve activity and electrocardiogram signals without entering the body.

    To date, no device allows simultaneous sympathetic nerve activity and electrocardiogram detection in this manner, said Joe Trebley, head of startup support and development for the IU Research Technology Corp. and its Spin Up program. While several electrocardiogram technologies are non-invasive, sympathetic nerve activity detection requires direct nerve contact.

    “This technology will significantly advance our understanding of the sympathetic control of heart rhythm in humans,” Arrhythmotech co-founder Peng-Sheng Chen said. “It may also help us develop better methods for sudden death risk stratification. I am very pleased that the NIH recognized the potential of this technology and funded the grant application.”

    Dr. Chen serves as division chief of the Krannert Institute of Cardiology and is the Medtronic Zipes Chair in Cardiology at the IU School of Medicine. His business partner, Shien-Fong Lin, is a professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine and director of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.

    The pair launched Arrhythmotech in 2012 and have collaborated in arrhythmia research for more than 15 years, Chen said.

    To learn more about the company, visit the IU Newsroom.

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