Faculty and Staff News
School awarded $4 million grant to expand Addiction Psychiatry Program
A new grant is helping the IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry strengthen its position as a national leader in addiction psychiatry training and patient care through expansion of the addiction psychiatry program and nationwide implementation of a model of care developed at the school.
“We’re training a workforce of physicians who can lead the integration of treating both mental illness and drug addiction together,” said R. A. Chambers, MD, associate professor of psychiatry.
The $4 million grant comes from the United States Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration and will support the Indiana University–Addiction Psychiatry Expansion Project. The grant will help the school train more fellows through its addiction psychiatry fellowship, expand the Division of Addiction Psychiatry through hiring more faculty and implement a new model of patient care developed and designed by Chambers.
“Addiction psychiatry is the only physician specialty where doctors are trained to diagnose and treat both mental illness and drug addiction,” Chambers said. “Most patients with mental illness also have drug addiction and vice versa, and it’s really hard to get expert treatment for both conditions.”
For more on the grant, visit the Newsroom.
Treadwell offers insight on diversity and disparities; shares plans for new role
Last month, Patricia Treadwell, MD, assumed the newly created role of Special Advisor to the Dean and Chief Diversity Officer. In a message to the IU School of Medicine community, she focuses on the health care disparities that exist in Indiana and the United States, and outlines her near-term plans as chief diversity officer.
An excerpt from Treadwell’s message:
“COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the higher burden of illness, injury, disability and mortality borne by people of color in the United States. This isn’t a new problem—it is not a product of coronavirus, nor will it be solved by a vaccine. Rather, COVID-19 is but one of many health care disparities facing our minority populations.
As a medical school, before we can make significant inroads in challenging these health disparities in our communities, we must first look inward, at the root causes of these disparities. As students, residents, faculty and staff, we must learn to exhibit cultural competence and humility. We must begin taking sizable strides in thwarting the racism that pervades our society.
As I get started in this new role, I plan on doing a lot of listening, to voices from all across the school. From these conversations, I am hoping to identify the challenges that our community experiences, and hear from our community members about possible solutions. When we can define the scope of the issues, we can develop and implement steps to mitigate and address the causes.”
Reminder about reporting COVID-positive test results
As an increasing number of people consider a return to campus—even for quick, necessary visits—it’s important to keep the severity of the disease top of mind and ensure all relevant precautions are in place. In addition to following PPE and social distancing guidelines, in the event you have been on campus and test positive for COVID-19 you must complete the following IU COVID-19 Reporting Form. Should you have questions specific to a particular situation, email email@example.com, and a case management staff member will respond with specific guidance. Additionally, anyone covered by a research restart plan should also follow their plan’s specific guidelines for positive tests.
Remember, regardless of whether you work in research, education, administration or another role:
- If you are able to complete your work remotely, you should continue to do so.
- If you have a valid reason for returning to campus, be as brief as possible and wear a mask. If you are returning for the long-term, you must also wear a mask.
- Before returning to campus, complete a Community Responsibility Acknowledgement form.
- Anyone who has been on campus and is not feeling well should access IU Health Services. If your IU Health screening results in a positive COVID-19 test, follow the reporting process above.
Students launch national nonprofit to help underrepresented medical school applicants
It all started with a tweet.
Jordan Saunders, a second-year medical student at IU School of Medicine, had posted a message offering to pay it forward by mentoring students underrepresented in medicine with the application process to medical school. Saunders, like many students at IU School of Medicine and around the country who had been pulled out of their clinical rotations to ensure their safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wanted to find ways to use their time to help others.
The response to the April 20 tweet was overwhelming, garnering 69 retweets, 300 likes and over 40 direct messages. A few days later, Aaron Gilani, a third-year IU School of Medicine student, reached out to Saunders, “I think we can start something here,” he said.
Within 24 hours, Gilani drafted an entire website, outlining a national mentoring program. Over the next month, he rapidly scaled the idea and spearheaded the creation of a new nonprofit, Prescribe It Forward, alongside Saunders and other IU School of Medicine students Alexandra Jostes and Eric Galante.
The mission of Prescribe It Forward is to provide free mentorship for medical school applicants who struggle to find guidance as they embark on their journey to becoming medical students. Their primary focus is to serve students who are underrepresented in medicine, including underrepresented minorities, first-generation, LGBTQIA+ or otherwise disadvantaged applicants.
Visit MD Student News for more information on Prescribe It Forward.
First residents complete LGBTQ+ Health track; learn about the program
Kazia Parsons, MD, and Logan Guckien, MD, are the first residents to complete the LGBTQ+ Health track in the Indiana University Methodist Family Medicine Residency Program at IU School of Medicine. For the past two years, Parsons and Guckien demonstrated skills in gender-affirming medical care and comprehensive care of sexual minority patients in addition to completing broad family medicine training requirements.
The LGBTQ+ Health Track at the Indiana University Methodist Family Medicine Residency Program is intended to supplement the clinical training of residents interested in and committed to the whole-person care of sexual and gender minority patients. Through a collaboration with the Eskenazi Health Gender Health Program and other clinical partners in the Indianapolis area, selected residents are offered experiences during residency in clinics that serve the LGBTQ+ community and graduate with advanced skills like gender-affirming medical treatment.
Learn more about the residency program in this House Staff Life blog post.
On the blog: Urologist taking holistic approach to improving men’s health
As the only fellowship-trained academic urologist specializing in male sexual and reproductive medicine in the state of Indiana, Helen L. Bernie, DO, MPH, sees hundreds of patients struggling with sexual health issues. But it’s her holistic approach that’s helping her patients take control of their overall health.
“When I see patients, I do a complete overall medical history,” said Bernie, assistant professor of urology and director of sexual and reproductive medicine for IU School of Medicine Department of Urology. “I'm not just asking about their sexual and reproductive health, but I'm also asking, ‘How is their blood pressure? Do they snore when they sleep? Do they have chest pain along with erectile dysfunction?’ Oftentimes, the sexual dysfunction or infertility may be the reason that brings them into the office to see me, but then I can actually diagnose underlying conditions that can greatly improve their overall health.”
For more on Bernie’s approach to men’s health, check out the Faculty News blog post.
Findings set new standard for use of blood-based biomarkers in clinical trials for prediction of cancer recurrence
IU School of Medicine researchers Milan Radovich, PhD, and Bryan Schneider, MD, have discovered that the presence of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the plasma of women’s blood who have undergone chemotherapy prior to surgery for the treatment of stage 1, 2 or 3 triple negative breast cancer are critical indicators for the prediction of disease recurrence and disease-free survival. Their findings, published in the prestigious international peer-reviewed journal JAMA Oncology allow for a stratification of patients in clinical trials around the world, that didn’t exist prior to their discovery. The pair also spoke about their findings as part of a JAMA Oncology podcast.
“These findings from the Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research, located at IU School of Medicine, enable a scientific basis for predicting relapse and disease-free survival, which are both important questions for women who live in constant fear of their disease returning,” said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine. “The discoveries reflect our long history as leaders in genomics, bioinformatics and medical innovation.”
For details on the findings, visit the Newsroom.
IU researchers creating models to predict coronavirus spread in Indiana
Indiana University researchers are working to predict the future of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Indiana state officials are taking advantage of their expertise.
“You have a certain emerging trend, and the idea is to look and find out, ‘is the trend going down? What is the probability that new cases will overwhelm our hospital system? Should we reopen the economy?’” said Constantin Yiannoutsos, PhD, professor in the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and adjunct professor in the IU School of Medicine Department of Biostatistics.
When the novel coronavirus began its spread in the United States and in Indiana, Yiannoutsos and his colleagues switched their focus to primarily research COVID-19 cases. By looking at the number of cases in Indiana and other states and how those numbers are changing over time, their team, which is led by Nir Menachemi, PhD, MPH, chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Fairbanks School of Public Health and Paul Halverson, DrPH, FACHE, founding dean of the School of Public Health, can create forecasting models to predict when a spike of new cases may occur.
Get more information on the model in this Indiana Health blog post.
New study paves the way for earlier autism diagnosis in the state
A 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 54 children in the United States is identified each year with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While children can be diagnosed with ASD as early as 2 years old, most children are still being diagnosed after the age of 4.
Led by Nancy Swigonski, MD, and Mary Ciccarelli, MD, a team of faculty at IU School of Medicine has developed a statewide early ASD screening and evaluation system in the primary care setting showing success in improving access to evaluations and lowering the age of diagnosis. This study, published July 6 in Pediatrics, is the first of its kind in the U.S. to include health care systems across an entire state.
“One of the unique aspects of this effort is its scale. While similar innovative diagnostic approaches have previously been tested across the country, our primary-care based Early Autism Evaluation hubs provide data representing much of the state of Indiana,” said Rebecca McNally Keehn, PhD, HSPP, lead author on the Pediatrics study. “By improving access to earlier high-quality diagnostic evaluations in children’s local communities, our hope is that children will be enrolled in evidence-based interventions that can improve developmental outcomes here in Indiana.”
For more on the research, visit the Newsroom.
IU physicians, Purdue scientists collaborate to develop a test to detect kidney cancer
Cancer physicians at Indiana University and scientists at Purdue University are working together to develop a urine test that would enable patients to avoid an invasive, painful biopsy to detect a type of kidney cancer.
Ronald S. Boris, MD, a physician with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, treats people with various types of renal cell carcinoma, which are kidney tumors and cancers. During a two-year stint at the National Institutes of Health, he focused on hereditary kidney cancer.
Boris, who specializes in urologic oncology surgery, wondered if a simple test—such as a urine test—could be developed that would help him and other physicians create personalized treatment plans for patients with renal tumors.
“Could we create a test, whether it would be a urine-based test or a serum-based test, to characterize renal tumors in patients who have an isolated renal mass?” he wondered. “Instead of doing a biopsy, could we have a patient come into the office with a urine specimen, test the specimen to determine whether it’s a clear cell cancer, a papillary tumor, a low-risk tumor or a high-risk tumor that would spread in five years or 10 years?”
Learn more about the testing collaboration.
Faculty and Staff News
IU to provide benefits under Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and national emergency. Pursuant to the FFCRA, Indiana University will provide eligible employees with paid sick leave or emergency family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The leave coverage and approval process vary for staff and academic appointees.
For more information, check out these frequently asked questions. For questions about staff leave, contact your HR representative or askHR at askHR@iu.edu or 812-856-1234 for guidance and clarification.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about emergency leave for academic appointees or contact Mary Dankoski, executive associate dean for Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity, or Neelam Chand, director, Human Resources and Academic Administration, Department of Medicine.
New policy protects pregnant and postpartum internal medicine residents from long shifts
Internal medicine residents at IU School of Medicine who are nearing the end of their pregnancy and are in their first postpartum months will not be required to work long or overnight shifts, according to a new policy adopted recently by the department. Learn more.
Take part in study to assess effects of COVID-19 on women doing health research
Researchers at IU School of Medicine are trying to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on early career women doing health sciences research and any associated attitudes, behaviors and coping mechanisms. The study includes answering a few questions online, which should take about 15 minutes. Questions? Contact the study team.
Boost your business skills to lead in uncertain times with Kelley certificate
Skills that propel your career are skills that help you lead during uncertain times. The Kelley School of Business designed the Graduate Certificate in Medical Management to help you:
- Build stronger leadership skills
- Accept and deliver critical feedback
- Evaluate economic tradeoffs of decisions
- Employ process-thinking to improve work flows
- Introduce innovation
Using your IU tuition benefit, you can complete the 12-month program online or in person without interrupting your work schedule. Check it out and sign up for the next Zoom information session on Wednesday, July 15.
HANDS in Autism offers online resources
HANDS in Autism is offering online self-paced learning modules as a convenient way to increase knowledge and understanding about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the various evidence-based approaches for supporting individuals with ASD in the classroom, medical office, community and home.
In addition, HANDS is hosting open office hours from 3:30-5 pm, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Learn more and register to attend a session.
Calkins to serve as interim CME of IU Health
Calkins has held a variety of leadership roles at IU Health over the past 21 years, including medical director of anesthesiology and perioperative services for IU Health Methodist Hospital, medical director and patient safety officer for IU Health North Hospital, anesthesiology service line leader for IU Health Physicians and currently, chief medical officer for IU Health North Hospital.
Gottlieb deferred his retirement to help the health system navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. His last day is Friday, July 31. IU Health is conducting a national search for his successor.
IU Global Health scholars share research and passion
The Indiana University Center for Global Health convenes Global Health Scholars Day each spring to showcase the excellent work being done to improve the care of patients worldwide, research the complexities of global health and educate learners about the care of local and global populations.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event took on a new format with global health research posters and photo contest entries available for review prior to the event and live presentations via Zoom of the top submissions.
For details on the event and this year’s recognized scholars, visit the Center for Global Health.