Faculty and Staff News
COVID-19: News you need to know
Editor’s note: In the coming weeks, look for “News you need to know” in INScope. This weekly update will include key messages of importance to the IU School of Medicine community as the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
News you need to know – April 16, 2020
- IU School of Medicine leadership extends heartfelt gratitude to our fourth-year medical students who made the decision to graduate early. When the governor sounded the call for medical students to join the fight against COVID-19, our learners responded in force, with more than one third of the Class of 2020 stepping forward. School leaders shared their pride and extended their best wishes in this video, which was sent to early graduates on Wednesday, April 15—their official graduation date.
- Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, has been asked by IU President Michael A. McRobbie to lead a Restart Committee, which will include IU’s two deans of public health, along with infectious disease experts from the university’s health sciences schools and IU Health. This committee will begin meeting immediately, and will advise and make recommendations to IU administration on when and under what conditions IU can resume normal or partial operations.
Register to attend the virtual All School Meeting on April 29
The spring All School Meeting will be held via Zoom from 4:30-6 pm EDT, Wednesday, April 29. IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, will reflect on recent accomplishments, provide important schoolwide updates and share plans for the future. The meeting is open to all faculty, staff and learners.
Have a COVID-19 story to share? We want to hear from you
The world has changed dramatically in just a few short weeks. From faculty physicians, researchers and graduating medical students joining the fight against COVID-19 to the swift move to online learning and working from home, IU School of Medicine is facing unprecedented challenges—and achieving extraordinary successes.
If you have a unique story or photo of your COVID-19 experience or how teams are adapting and working together during this time, the Office of Strategic Communications wants to hear from you. Email photos or story details to Katie Duffey, interim director of strategic communications and visual media, at email@example.com.
Sharing stories with one another and with those outside our community is an important way to reinforce that we’re all in this together.
Department of Emergency Medicine staff collects signs of support for ED doctors
The signs say it all:
“You are superheroes in scrubs.”
“IU Docs Rock.”
“We appreciate you.”
To support their colleagues on the front lines of the life-saving battle with COVID-19, staff from the IU School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine are making signs of encouragement and thanks—and asking the community to do the same.
In a recent news report on WTHR, Chris O’Day, vice chair of administration and finance for the Department of Emergency Medicine, explained the department’s community-based effort:
"Emotionally, you can only imagine the toll day in and day out it takes on physicians and all the providers on the front lines, so we're having the community come together and show support...asking people to get out their crayons, poster boards, markers and glue guns and make signs."
More than 100 signs have been delivered to doctors and care teams at IU Health Methodist, Riley and Eskenazi hospitals.
Reminder: Wellness resources are available
Need some extra support during this time? IU employees can take advantage of a number of wellness resources to help cope with the emotional impact of COVID-19:
In addition, the American Psychiatric Association offers specific information related to coronavirus and mental health, including tips for both providers and patients/patient families. Also for providers, the CDC offers guidelines for identifying burnout and secondary traumatic stress, as well as self-care strategies. For details, visit Emergency Responders: Tips for taking care of yourself.
For help making a financial plan, IU MoneySmarts offers virtual one-on-one financial wellness appointments and many online resources.
On the blog: Global health experience helps faculty member lead COVID-19 response
As division chief, Kara Wools-Kaloustian, MD, MS, relies on her many years of clinical and research experience in resource-limited settings to lead the Division of Infectious Diseases at Indiana University School of Medicine in preparing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Health care workers in low-resourced areas have to be inventive and creative,” said Wools-Kaloustian, who is also director of research for the IU Center for Global Health. “I think those skills are going to be important in the upcoming weeks to address this virus and how it’s impacting our health care systems,” she continued.
Read the Global Health blog post to learn how Wools-Kaloustian’s experiences with global health are influencing her approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.
IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center seeks pilot project proposals in SARS-CoV-2 and cancer
The IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is working with the Indiana CTSI to request applications to address relevant issues surrounding the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and its intersection with cancer. This current crisis provides an opportunity to better position the health care community in improving public health issues such as screening and prevention. The purpose of this request for application (RFA) is to identify and pilot small projects that have a high likelihood of completion within six to nine months. Awards up to $25,000 are anticipated. The application deadline is Thursday, April 30. Get more details.
Indiana Biobank is the central repository for all IU COVID-19 related research samples
The Indiana University Institutional Review Board (IRB) has recommended the Indiana Biobank serve as the centralized collection and storage repository for all COVID-19 related sample banking taking place at IU Health, Eskenazi Health and IU School of Medicine.
The Indiana Biobank has a broad protocol that links samples to the participants’ electronic medical records. The Indiana Biobank protocol allows for the collection of blood, urine and other specimen types and can be used to support researchers studying a broad range of health-related outcomes, including COVID-19. For this reason, the Indiana Biobank is working with researchers and clinicians across campus to bank specimens now from COVID-19 positive and negative individuals.
“The collection of samples for future research is a key institutional priority and will support many future research questions including the development of diagnostic tests and future COVID-19 treatments,” Samir Gupta, MD, vice chair of research for the Department of Medicine at IU School of Medicine and co-leader of the effort to collect COVID-19 samples.
The Indiana Biobank infrastructure includes a kit production core that can provide sample collection kits for a wide range of sample types, as well as a rapid processing lab and storage services. So far, the Indiana Biobank has already collected blood samples from pediatric patients who have been treated for COVID-19 at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
“Blood has been the most discussed sample researchers are interested in collecting and storing at the moment, but we are also fielding calls about urine,” said Tatiana Foroud, PhD, chair of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at IU School of Medicine, and director of the Indiana Biobank.
Centralized receiving, processing, storage and distribution of samples are some of the services the Indiana Biobank provides, in addition to database and IT support. The Indiana Biobank has a review process in place for researchers requesting samples. A special committee has been formed to consider COVID-19 related requests. For more information, contact Indiana Biobank Program Manager Brooke Patz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 and research at IU: Check out the video Q&A with Fred Cate
In a Facebook Live Q&A last week, Fred Cate, IU vice president for research, discussed COVID-19 research at IU and how university researchers are having an impact on the virus and its spread, as well as how IU is helping faculty, staff and students manage ongoing research activities.
Faculty and Staff News
Geraci steps down as Department of Medicine chair
Mark Geraci, MD, stepped down as chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Medicine on Friday, April 3. Naga Chalasani, MD, is serving as interim chair of the department.
Chalasani joined the IU School of Medicine faculty in 1997 and became the director of the department’s division of gastroenterology and hepatology in 2007. In 2017, Chalasani was named associate dean for clinical research.
Take note of I-70 closures
INDOT has moved up plans to close sections of I-70 for major construction due to Indiana’s stay-at-home order. If you still need to travel downtown, take note of the following:
- I-70 eastbound from the north split to I-465 was scheduled to close Monday, April 13, for 30 days, reopening May 13.
- On Thursday, April 23, I-70 westbound from the north split to I-465 will close for 30 days, reopening May 23.
Visit the sites below to stay up to date on the north split progress, road conditions and traffic alerts:
Deadline extended: Apply for Kelley partnership programs by June 5
The application deadline for partnership programs with the IU Kelley School of Business has been extended to Friday, June 5. Program descriptions and application details are available.
PLUS career development program applications due April 30
Academic medicine faces ongoing challenges in recruiting, retaining and advancing faculty from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. PLUS (Program to Launch Underrepresented in Medicine Success) is designed to support the career development of underrepresented faculty in academic medicine. PLUS helps units retain and promote high-talent faculty from underrepresented groups who have the expertise and skills to enhance IU School of Medicine’s institutional mission.
PLUS is a two-year cohort program structured around the two pillars of leadership and scholarship, and bolstered by networking, advising, career coaching and wellness programming that is tailored to meet the needs of faculty underrepresented in medicine.
Application deadline is Thursday, April 30.
Virtual backgrounds available for Zoom
Customize your Zoom meetings with newly designed IU School of Medicine virtual backgrounds.
Easy steps for setting up your virtual background:
- Right-click on one of the backgrounds in Box (link above) that you would like to download
- Click “Save image as…”
- Save the image to your computer
Then on Zoom:
- Go to “Settings,” then “Virtual Background”
- Select “+”, then add image.
Check out upcoming medical library classes
The Ruth Lilly Medical Library is offering several online classes this spring. Check the links below for details, dates and times.
Apply by May 1 for ACS institutional research grant program
The IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is offering funds through the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS-IRG) for new pilot projects to assist new investigators who hold the rank of assistant professor, research assistant professor or assistant scientist, but without an active (i.e., NIH, NSF, ACS) national competitive research grant, regardless of the topic. This grant provides support for beginning investigators to enable them to initiate their independent research program.
The purpose of the ACS-IRG program is to attract new investigators from IU into cancer research and to provide support for new pilot studies that will produce preliminary data for the investigator to develop into studies that will compete successfully for external, national funds from both federal and private sources. Faculty from IU School of Medicine and its regional campuses and the schools of nursing, dentistry, optometry, public and environmental affairs, health and rehabilitation sciences, liberal arts, law, science and informatics are encouraged to apply.
More information is available, including a PDF of the application. With questions or to receive an application in Microsoft Word to complete electronically, contact Crystal Baker at email@example.com. Application deadline is Friday, May 1.
IU Health asking recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma
IU Health is seeking patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood plasma to aid critically ill patients battling the disease.
For those who have recovered from COVID-19, their blood may contain antibodies that are able to fight and control the virus. These antibodies can be collected from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and be transfused to patients who are struggling with the disease. This process is called convalescent plasma infusion.
“At this point there are no vaccinations or proven medications to treat COVID-19,” said Nicolas Barros, MD, transplant infectious diseases specialist at IU Health and assistant professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine. “The use of convalescent plasma is an investigational new treatment that could prove successful in the management of the disease.”
For more details, visit iuhealth.org.
Eskenazi Health Foundation receives grant to battle COVID-19
Bank of America has awarded a grant to Eskenazi Health Foundation to support Eskenazi Health’s efforts to care for and serve patients who have contracted COVID-19.
“We are grateful for this generous and timely contribution from Bank of America, which will support our team in caring for patients and help ensure that our community perseveres through this crisis,” said Lisa E. Harris, MD, chief executive officer, Eskenazi Health.
The Bank of America grant will support a centralized fund that will help Eskenazi Health be as nimble as possible in responding to the needs of patients and the community.