Faculty and Staff News
Direct from the Dean: Standing together through COVID-19
Editor’s note: The following message from IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, was emailed to the school community on Monday, March 16. IU School of Medicine has convened a task force with representation from all mission and operations areas to coordinate the school’s response to COVID-19. A list of online resources for the latest information is included at the end of this message.
Members of the leadership team here at IU School of Medicine are in constant contact with university officials and our clinical partners, to navigate a situation that is changing by the hour.
As we enter a new week, most of us are facing landscapes both at work and at home that are dramatically altered. Many of you are now working remotely for the next few weeks. Others are working on the front lines in our hospitals and clinics and are bracing for the days ahead.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly created stress and sacrifice for all of you in different ways … stress about your education and your career … economic uncertainty … the demands of your residencies … the patients requiring your care … the research you have devoted your careers to … the strain of keeping up on work while also caring for children who are out of school and at home … and above all, for the safety and health of yourself and loved ones.
In these unprecedented times, I thank you for your dedication and resiliency. The people of IU School of Medicine have always stepped up to face big challenges. Together as a school, I am confident we will continue that proud tradition once again. That responsibility is now more important than ever.
Online resources for the latest IU School of Medicine and Indiana University COVID-19 updates
Indiana University policies and public safety advisories: coronavirus.iu.edu
Teaching faculty/instructors: keepteaching.iu.edu and Teaching Through COVID-19 (on MedNet)
Time off and other HR matters: hr.iu.edu/relations/coronavirus
Medical students: mednet.iu.edu/support-services/coronavirus
“Virtual Match Day” is tomorrow: Celebrate with our students on Zoom
While Match Day won’t be held in the traditional way this year, you can celebrate the success of IU School of Medicine’s fourth-year students through a special virtual Match Day celebration via Zoom. Log in to Zoom at 11:45 am EDT, Friday, March 20, to view messages from Class of 2020 President Zain Abedali and the IU School of Medicine deans.
The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) has agreed to send students their matches via email at noon. The school will celebrate with a virtual countdown and then invite students to share their matches in the Zoom Chat. For inclusion in a special video, students, faculty and staff can direct message photos and videos to @iumedschool on Instagram and Twitter or add photos and videos to a shared Google photos album.
Be sure to tag @iusmmatch2020 and @iumedschool on Instagram or Twitter and use #IUSMmatch2020 to share the joy on Friday.
Check out IU School of Medicine’s social media channels, including @iumedschool and @iusmmatch2020, a student-led Instagram account, for photos, videos and comments celebrating the outstanding achievements of our students.
IU School of Medicine issues research guidance in light of COVID-19
On Thursday, March 19, Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, executive associate dean for research affairs, IU School of Medicine, issued guidance for the school’s researchers regarding patient-oriented research, as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve.
In the message emailed to researchers, Shekhar said, “I know we are in an extraordinary situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is also challenging for conducting clinical research. We know there are over 1,400 active clinical research protocols in various stages of activity with unique protocol requirements, and we are deeply appreciative of the additional limits and work the pandemic has imposed on all of you. Our institutions are dedicated to continuing clinical research with the greatest caution so that desperately needed treatments are still available to our citizens and so that new discoveries and novel treatments continue unabated. IU anticipates that most human subjects research should continue provided that other university policies and CDC guidelines can be followed.”
The email included specific guidelines and information related to human subject studies, observational studies and interventional studies, as well as guidance on taking research binders home for remote data entry. Shekhar said the guidelines communicated on March 19 should be used immediately and that researchers can expect regular updates.
Researchers should contact the Clinical Trials Office at OCR@iu.edu with questions.
Medical student participation in all clinical activities temporarily suspended
Based on the changing demands of the current COVID-19 pandemic, IU School of Medicine has temporarily suspended medical student participation in direct clinical care activities. The suspension is anticipated to last two weeks and may be extended. The school is transitioning to virtual learning and telehealth opportunities, and Medical Student Education leadership is considering alternative approaches for education and clinical care in the best interest of students, faculty and patients.
In a message to medical students earlier this week, IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, and MSE leaders explained the decision, “Medical students, as junior colleagues, play an important role in the care of our patients and are valued members of our healthcare teams. The current COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly transforming the environment of care, calling for tremendous flexibility and creativity as we work together to make necessary adaptations. Information from our clinical partners and educators indicates that there is a need to reallocate resources and personnel to serve the health of our communities.”
Medical student updates related to COVID-19 are available on MedNet: mednet.iu.edu/support-services/coronavirus
Taking care in uncertainty: Well-being resources available
As responsibilities and pressures increase with the current spread of COVID-19, physicians, direct care providers and staff are reminded to take time out for self-care and personal well-being. Jennifer Hartwell, MD, associate dean and chief wellness officer, IU School of Medicine, offers the following perspective:
“One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was from my Dad. He said, ‘Always assume the other person has your best interest at heart.’ While there are times when this may not feel like it's true, approaching my relationships with this mindset has served me well to diffuse a lot of frustration and to maintain trust. During this time of preparations, while much is happening behind the scenes, we may find ourselves disappointed with decisions made on our behalf. But now is a crucial time to consider that others are trying to make the best decisions for the good of all of us. This mindset helps us to ask questions and provide feedback that is productive and strengthens relationships. If we all believe that we are working in each other’s best interests, we will come through this tough time even stronger.”
The American Psychiatric Association offers specific information related to coronavirus and mental health, including tips for both providers and patients/patient families. For providers on the front lines of the outbreak, the association recommends:
- Meeting basic needs by eating properly, staying hydrated and getting regular sleep.
- Taking breaks.
- Staying connected with sources of support, including family, friends and colleagues.
- Self-monitoring for signs of increased stress.
- Reminding yourself and those around you of the important work you’re doing; recognizing colleagues for their service whenever possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers self-care tips to support well-being and overall health.
For IU employees, there are resources to help cope with the emotional impact of COVID-19.
- Call the IU Employee Assistance Program (IUEAP) at 888-234-8327. This service is available 24/7 to benefits-eligible employees and family members. The program offers no-cost, short-term counseling to help cope with these types of events.
- Employees enrolled in an IU-sponsored Anthem medical plan can schedule time to speak with a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist from the privacy of their home through LiveHealth Online, the plan’s telemedicine option.
- A list of counseling resources, including national, statewide and IU campus-specific resources, is available at the Healthy IU website.
In addition, the CDC offers guidelines for providers for identifying burnout and secondary traumatic stress, as well as self-care strategies. For details, visit Emergency Responders: Tips for taking care of yourself.
IU Health posting COVID-19 updates on new resource page
IU Health is providing the latest COVID-19 updates, critical information, tools and guidance on a new resource page on the IU Health team portal. The resource page, which is available to IU School of Medicine faculty and staff with access, contains:
Information for team members in patient care
- Policies, procedures and guidance on protection, testing and clinical care
Information for all team members
- New visitor restrictions
- Travel restrictions, remote work options and work accommodations
- Enhanced screening guidelines
- Personnel restrictions for volunteers and learners
- Contact information and guidance related to exposure
IU School of Medicine faculty and staff with access can find the page on the IU Health team portal: team.myiuhealth.org/covid-19.
Need current info about an event? Check the events calendar
Based on the latest guidance from IU School of Medicine and Indiana University, many events in the coming weeks have been cancelled, postponed or are transitioning to virtual access. Be sure to check the IU School of Medicine events calendar for the latest details on events. Organizers are reminded to update the calendar if changes or cancellations occur or to add virtual access information.
Latest Healthcare Triage podcast highlights precision genomics and pediatric cancer
Dive deep into precision medicine and pediatric cancers on the latest Healthcare Triage podcast. Aaron Carroll, MD, talks with Karen Pollok, PhD, and Jamie Renbarger, MD, as they share stories about Tyler Trent, who used his voice and curiosity to raise awareness of cancer research. Listeners will also learn about the development of cell lines and creation of models that can be used to battle cancers like osteosarcoma.
Faculty and Staff News
Check out the remote teaching resources available for faculty
As IU School of Medicine moves a good portion of its non-clinical and lab-based educational activities online, there are a variety of resources to help faculty during the temporary remote teaching period. Faculty are not expected to design extensive online activities in a short amount of time. Many planned activities will transfer using Zoom web-based conferencing or other technologies. Faculty have received guidance and recommendations for clinical and lab-based education.
Zoom web-based conferencing
An important note about Zoom conferencing for IU School of Medicine faculty: If you will be reviewing/discussing anything protected by HIPAA or classified as PHI, please use Zoom Health. Otherwise, you may use the standard Zoom account. Access both Zoom and Zoom Health here: https://uits.iu.edu/zoom. You may only have one Zoom account (Zoom or Zoom Health). Visit https://kb.iu.edu/d/atps to request a Zoom Health account.
In addition, the following resources are available for faculty:
Teaching Through COVID-19
IU School of Medicine-specific tips about how to deliver a lecture online, ways to conduct small group learning sessions, ways to manage assessment and more.
Keep Teaching at IU
Useful actions and tools when making a quick shift to teaching online.
IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)
CTL is offering a range of online workshops on how various technologies work and can support your teaching. These are available to any IU School of Medicine faculty regardless of campus.
Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity is collaborating with colleagues in Medical Student Education, Graduate Medical Education, the Graduate School and the Health Professions Programs to offer online consultations for individuals or groups. To request a consultation, please complete this short online form.
IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning is also offering consulting services.
IU able to meet remote working needs
Indiana University has the ability to handle all videoconferencing needs for everyone working remotely. In addition to Zoom, the university has two backup services: Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts.
“Everyone at IU already has an account,” said Dan Calarco, chief of staff, IU Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer. “They can be up and running in minutes.”
For more about IU’s capabilities to handle the influx of faculty and staff working remotely, visit News at IU.
University expands childcare benefit through the Care@Work program
To assist IU employees in benefit-eligible positions, the university provides childcare resources through the Care@Work program. Over the past week, IU has enhanced this benefit to include using a caregiver or childcare center from your personal network and being reimbursed for a portion of the cost, in addition to other services provided by the Care@Work program. Access Care@Work benefits by creating an account at iu.care.com or by downloading the Care.com app on your Apple or Android device. Program details are available at iu.care.com.
Working through COVID-19: A guide from Human Resources
IU Human Resources continues to respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation by reviewing and updating related policies and procedures. Check the dedicated webpage, Working Through COVID-19, frequently for the latest information, guidance and FAQs.
OVCR RSFG internal grant deadline extended to May 1
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) is moving the Research Support Funds Grant (RSFG) internal grant deadline from Wednesday, April 1, to Friday, May 1, to accommodate the faculty’s immediate need to focus on their online classes. RSFG information is available (IU login required). Questions? Contact Alicia Gahimer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Military Health System Research Symposium accepting abstracts until March 25
The Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) is the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier scientific meeting where key DoD decisionmakers and DoD-funded principal investigators converge. It provides a collaborative environment for military medical care providers with deployment experience, DoD scientists, and representatives from academia and industry meet and exchange information on the unique medical needs of the warfighter.
The 2020 MHSRS is focused on four primary presentation areas: warfighter medical readiness, expeditionary medicine, warfighter performance and return to duty. Attending this meeting, typically in Orlando, Florida, during the third week of August, is a great first step for those interested in DoD funding. Importantly, IU has a booth that is a valuable networking tool for faculty.
This is the first year that IU is pleased to offer travel stipends (air, registration and hotel) for a few select first time presenters to MHSRS. For more information, please contact Laura Kolton.
Visit the MHSRS website for titles and descriptions of the 2020 scientific breakout sessions and to submit abstracts through the MHSRS website. If you are submitting an abstract for the first time, you will need a username and password. Visit MHSRS Website Registration. If you registered previously and have forgotten your username and password, email email@example.com for assistance; do not register again.
Abstract submissions are due Wednesday, March 25.
Note: Due to the evolving nature of COVID-19, this event may be subject to future travel restrictions.
Looking for ways to help? Blood donations are needed
During this time of COVID-19 uncertainty, many people are looking for ways to help. A stable blood supply is critical for hospitals to care for the sick and injured. Because blood is perishable, ongoing donation is necessary at all times. Currently, the American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Blood donation is safe for people in good health who are feeling well. Appointments can be made through Versiti Blood Center of Indiana (Indiana Blood Center) or the American Red Cross. Coronavirus information, including safety details, is posted on both websites.
In this time of concern about community health, donating blood is a great way individuals can help while home from work or school.
IU Health security update: Outlook auto forwarding feature to be turned off
The auto forwarding feature in IU Health Outlook email will be removed in mid- to late April. The only exception is for emails forwarded from IU Health email accounts to IU School of Medicine accounts; those will not be affected by this change.
Auto forwarding is used by many physicians working for multiple systems to limit the number of inboxes they have to check throughout the day. However, using the auto forwarding feature to forward to personal email addresses puts patient and team member information at risk. IU Health safeguards its patient and team member information and continually monitors activity to prevent any malicious intent. Unfortunately, non-IU Health email accounts cannot be trusted because there is no record that the same safety precautions are followed.
Questions? Contact the IU Health Service Desk at 317.962.2828.
Wintermeyer to retire as director of IUPUI Campus Health
Stephen Wintermeyer, MD, will retire as director of IUPUI Campus Health on Tuesday, June 30. Over the next several weeks he will be reducing his time at IUPUI, as he transitions to a position in student health at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Since joining IUPUI as medical director of IUPUI Campus Health (formerly known as Student Employee Health) in 1996, he has worked to develop collaborative partnerships with numerous units on and off campus. During his time as medical director and then director of IUPUI Campus Health, he led the department through a variety of transitions and achievements, including opening the Campus Center Student Health Clinic, adding travel medicine services, enabling students to use private insurance coverage, increasing the number of providers and enhancing the department’s ability to assist the campus’ response to contagious diseases and other emergencies.
Details about a reception honoring Wintermeyer will be announced in the coming weeks. Scott Renshaw, MD, has been appointed interim medical director.