Faculty and Staff News
Direct from the Dean: What we’ve learned and how we’re moving forward
Editor’s note: The following two paragraphs are an excerpt from a message sent by IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PHD, MHSA, to the school community on Tuesday, September 29.
“Thank you to the several hundred of you who participated in one of the recent town hall sessions on diversity, equity and inclusion. Your input on this ‘listening tour’ has given me and IU School of Medicine leadership valuable insights into the areas we need to improve to ensure that everyone in our community—faculty, staff and learners on each of our nine campuses statewide—feels welcomed, valued and heard.
During each session, we shared new initiatives that IU School of Medicine is undertaking to address areas where we’ve fallen short. But most importantly, we, as School leaders, listened. I’ve heard firsthand what it’s like—about incidents I didn’t know were happening. It’s clear we need to do more. And we will do more.”
- Evaluating existing data on the state of representational diversity at IU School of Medicine and making recommendations for new climate assessment methods
- Creating opportunities for increased training on unconscious bias, microaggressions, cultural humility and bystander interventions
- Updating the IU School of Medicine Honor Code and creating educational materials and resources about professional behavior
He also encouraged members of the school community to contact the Dean’s Office directly with comments or questions and offered a list of additional diversity resources, which include:
Individuals may also contact members of the school’s diversity leadership team:
Unable to attend a diversity town hall? View a recording of the August 24 session.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
IU School of Medicine is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month through a series of articles and events. In this Student Life blog post, medical student Sydney Rivera, Class of 2022, shares how her Hispanic heritage and cultural learning experiences are influencing her career path in medicine.
“Having experienced or learned about various aspects of Hispanic cultures—through travel, my family history and the scholarly concentration [at IU School of Medicine]—helps me connect with patients to make them feel more comfortable in the clinical setting,” Rivera said.
National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The dates are significant because many Latin American countries celebrate their independence days during this 30-day period. The month-long celebration is observed each year from September 15 through October 15.
Flu shots are more important than ever this year; learn more
On top of COVID-19, flu season poses even more risks this year.
"We worry that people may get severe illness if they were to be infected with COVID and influenza simultaneously," said Lana Dbeibo, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine and a member of the IU Medical Response Team. "These viruses can cause complications including pneumonia, respiratory failure and even death, so prevention with available vaccines is very important, particularly for this season."
As part of Indiana University's pandemic response, all staff, faculty and students whose work or class schedule requires them to be regularly present on campus will be required to get an annual flu vaccine this fall. Flu vaccine clinics will be offered at every IU campus beginning this month. The on-campus clinics are for current faculty and staff and enrolled students only; they are not open to dependents or spouses of employees, or to retired faculty or staff. Watch for more information on how to access the on-campus flu clinics.
Vaccine reporting and exemptions
If you choose to receive a flu vaccination somewhere other than an IU flu clinic or campus health center, you will need to fill out the Flu Vaccine Reporting Form to let IU know you have received a vaccination. Flu shots are available at most retail pharmacies and at local health care providers’ offices. In addition, many of IU School of Medicine’s clinical partners, including IU Health, are offering flu shots.
Faculty, staff and students who are unable to get the vaccine due to a medical condition, or who have a religious or other ethical reason, may request an exemption. Employees and students who will not be present on campus between Tuesday, December 1, 2020, and Monday, March 1, 2021, can also request an exemption. If you're requesting an exemption, use the exemption request form.
Faculty, staff and students who do not request an exemption must obtain a flu vaccination by Tuesday, December 1. Medical students are encouraged to get flu shots before Friday, October 30, as this is the deadline set by some of the clinical facilities where students work.
For more details, visit News at IU.
Voting on November 3? Review IU’s policy on paid time off to vote
Making plans to vote on November 3? Indiana University policy allows paid time off for staff employees (up to a maximum of two hours) whose work schedules prevent them from voting between 6 am and 6 pm. (See this article for examples of when paid time off is allowed.)
Faculty and staff with clinical responsibilities should plan ahead to vote when their schedule allows. For medical students, an IU School of Medicine committee recently approved clarifications to the Schedule Conflicts and Time Away form to specify procedures for voting for students.
In addition, IU has developed guidelines for political campaign invitations, events and activities to clarify the types of activities that are permitted and those that are restricted. Full policy details related to political activities are available.
Register for the All School Meeting on October 29
Registration for the IU School of Medicine All School Meeting is now available. The event will be held on Zoom from 4:30-6:30 pm, Thursday, October 29. All faculty, staff and learners are encouraged to attend to hear the latest school updates from Dean Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, and the executive associate deans. Award recipients will also be announced, and there will be opportunities to ask questions. After you register, you will receive a unique Zoom access link via email.
Researchers with new rare disease clinic find answers for first patient
Launched in January, the Undiagnosed and Rare Disease Clinic (URDC) is already seeing success. Researchers affiliated with the clinic help patients who may have genetically based rare diseases that doctors have been unable to diagnose.
"The URDC is there as a resource for families whoare still on the hunt for answers," said Erin Conboy, MD, leader of the new clinic. "We're not going to give up. We're going to keep looking, if it takes discovering a new gene to be able to diagnose your child, we're going to try to do that."
One of the clinic's first patients is Jordan Edwards, a young girl who was having trouble eating and was barely gaining any weight. The URDC team performed genetic testing on each member of her family, and discovered Jordan has a rare genetic disorder that impacts her feeding abilities. In addition, the research team learned Jordan's mother and older sister have a mild form of the disorder as well.
The URDC program, funded by the IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative, combines the strengths of IU Health clinical care specialists and IU School of Medicine researchers.
For more on the URDC and how researchers were able to help Jordan Edwards, visit Precision Health.
Faculty and Staff News
Mark Kelley, PhD, joins IU Ventures Investment Committee
Mark R. Kelley, PhD, the Betty and Earl Herr Professor of Pediatric Oncology Research, has joined the IU Ventures Investment Committee. Kelley was appointed by IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, who is an IU Ventures board member. Kelley succeeds Distinguished Professor Emeritus Mervin Yoder, MD, who served on the committee from 2014 to 2020.
IU Ventures focuses on nurturing an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the IU community through robust resources, funding opportunities and events. Central to this mission, the investment committee's role is to assess investment opportunities from IU-affiliated entrepreneurs and advise IU Ventures in its decision-making process.
For more details, visit the Newsroom.
Watch your email for details to submit committee preferences
In early October, eligible IU School of Medicine faculty will receive an email to indicate interest and submit preferences (or nominate others) for serving on committees for the 2021-2022 academic year. Each year, the Faculty Steering Committee partners with Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity to solicit faculty interest in serving on school-wide committees in appointed and elected roles.
The deadline to submit preferences for school-wide committee service for the 2021-2022 academic year is Friday, November 6. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents complete Global Health Track
Congratulations to these residents:
Melanie Capobiano (pediatrics)
Karen (Karenjeet) Chahal (family medicine)
Cori (Corissa) Dionisio (pediatrics/psychiatry/child psychiatry)
Sara Johnson (pediatrics)
Mohammed Jomha (family medicine)
Shelly Lash (neonatology fellow)
Allison (Allie) Lyle (pediatrics)
Crystal Nnenne Azu (medicine)
Kazia Parsons (family medicine)
Derek Pinkerton (medicine-pediatrics)
Michelle Polich (pediatrics)
Russell Purpura (medicine)
Eric Raynal (pediatrics)
Nomi Sherwin (pediatrics)
Blair Suter (medicine-pediatrics)
Gloria Tran (medicine-pediatrics)
Read the Global Health blog post for more details.
Battling Zoom fatigue? Check out these tips
With most meetings, gatherings and events taking place virtually during the pandemic, screen time for nearly everyone has skyrocketed. Time spent in front of a screen can lead to fatigue, distractions, disorganization and more. Check out this News at IU article for ways to better manage your screen time.
“Understanding the pandemic” series begins October 8
Hosted by the Indiana Pandemic Information Collaborative (IPIC), a 10-week virtual series will provide insight into topics about the COVID-19 outbreak specifically geared toward people without a background in medicine or public health. Classes cover topics such as how vaccines are developed, why the virus has been so hard to track and contain, effectiveness of masks, and what needs to be done to prepare for the next outbreak. Each session will be taught by experts in the field.
This lay person’s guide to COVID-19 begins Thursday, October 8. Sessions will occur virtually from 4:30-5:30 pm ET every Thursday through December 17. Participants can choose to attend any or all of the sessions. Registration and a list of weekly topics are available.
The IPIC is a statewide network of organizations working together to address the pandemic. The collaborative is led by Regenstrief President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Embi, MD, MS, and includes academic institutions, government agencies, health systems and private partners.
Plan to attend virtual “On the Walls” portrait unveiling on October 7
The “On the Walls” project is dedicated to diversifying the walls of IU School of Medicine to reflect the rich diversity of the school community, both past and present. Find out about the initiative and see the unveiling of the portrait of Clarence Lucas, MD, the first African American graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine. In addition to the portrait unveiling, attendees will learn about Lucas’ life and speak with the artist who created his portrait. Register for the Zoom presentation, which will be held from noon-1pm, Wednesday, October 7.
Apply by December 14 for IU Health Values Fund grant programs
Indiana University Health is now accepting submissions for two of its values fund grant pilot and feasibility programs in the fields of research and education. Details about the research program and the education program are available. The application deadline for both programs is Monday, December 14.
Reminder: ICARE racial equity program starts this month
The IU School of Medicine Implementing Conversations to Advance Racial Equity (ICARE) series aims to prepare members of the school community to lead action and conversations related to addressing systemic racism and race inequities. While this series is open to all members of the IU School of Medicine community, the target audience is non-minority people, seeking to reach those whose identity is connected with the larger white racial group.
The series is designed to advance the cultural competence and cultural humility of faculty, staff and learners at all levels. It also promotes an inclusive working and learning environment and works to ensure that all members of the IU School of Medicine community feel welcomed, valued, respected and encouraged to fully participate in the institution.
Participants in the cohort-style program commit to either a four-week model or a two-week model. The four-week model begins Friday, October 30, and the two-week model begins on Friday, December 4. Learn more about ICARE.
Templeton earns American Lung Association Innovation Award
Steven P. Templeton, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, and Alvin S. Levine Scholar at IU School of Medicine – Terre Haute has received the American Lung Association’s Innovation Award. The award recognizes his proposal, “Adinopectin-Mediated Inhibition of Detrimental Inflammation in Invasive Aspergillosis.” This work will identify novel targets with therapeutic potential and open new avenues of research in the development of detrimental immunity to infection.
Two medical students receive cancer center’s Wright scholarships
Two medical students pursuing their medical degrees with an interest in combining cancer research with patient care have been selected as this year’s IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center William J. Wright Scholarship Fund recipients.
Alexa Loncharich and Laura Wright (no known relation to the benefactor) earned the $8,000 scholarships for the current academic year. Each has already distinguished herself by delivering presentations at scientific meetings, earning numerous awards, taking on volunteer projects and being listed as an author on research published in prestigious academic journals among other accomplishments.
For more on this year’s Wright scholars, check out this Cancer Research blog post.