Faculty and Staff News
From the dean: A letter to our Black IU School of Medicine colleagues
Editor’s note: The following message was sent by IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, to the school community on Tuesday, December 29.
As we reach the end of 2020, it would be an understatement to say that it is has been a challenging year. It has been particularly difficult for some communities, and for the School of Medicine it has been especially difficult for Black physicians and trainees.
We’ve lost two Black women physicians. Just over two months ago, we mourned the loss of Dr. Chaniece Wallace, one of our most talented and promising pediatric chief residents. And now we are mourning the death of Dr. Susan Moore, a highly respected family physician here in Indianapolis who received some of her care at an IU Health facility.
We are deeply saddened by their tragic deaths. Many in our community have reached out to the dean’s office with concerns about their own well-being, as well as that of their colleagues. We hear you and are committed to ensuring our Black physicians, trainees, learners and staff are welcomed and supported here at IU School of Medicine.
I’ve spoken in the past about our ongoing work, as well as new initiatives, to make the School of Medicine a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming place. These include the appointment of Dr. Patricia Treadwell as Chief Diversity Officer and special advisor to the dean, increasing the diversity of our leaders and our committees, bystander training, town halls, revising our professionalism standards, providing additional student support and incorporating advancing diversity as part of our annual leadership reviews.
COVID has also shined a bright light on the health disparities that exist across this country. We are revising our curriculum, funded in part by a large new HRSA grant, to train physicians to be better equipped to promote health equity. We also will continue to work with our clinical partners, redoubling our efforts to be part of the solution.
So, as we close out the year, we want to reaffirm our commitment to antiracism, health equity and inclusive excellence. Beginning in January, we will be providing regular updates on the progress of this work.
Finally, we want to convey how deeply we value the diverse community we are working to cultivate at IU School of Medicine.
We see you. We value you. And we want you here.
We are committed to making this a safe place for you to practice, live and thrive.
It is our responsibility to take action and do better.
Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA
Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs
Dean of the School of Medicine
Next diversity town hall series begins February 9
Mark your calendar to join IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, for one of three upcoming virtual town hall discussions to address updates from the diversity, equity and inclusion task forces. The town hall will be an opportunity for the school community to share concerns, feedback and ideas for improvement.
As a community, each person’s voice and contribution impacts the advancement of systemic change. If you have specific questions or topics you’d like addressed, or if you’d like to provide feedback, suggestions or ideas before the meeting you can share them in advance. If you do not wish to submit questions or ideas in advance, there will be an opportunity to participate through breakout sessions during the town hall.
There will be three opportunities to participate. Choose one session to attend; all three events will be the same format and will cover the same content.
Tuesday, February 9: 8-9 am
Register to attend this session.
Monday, February 15: noon-1 pm
Register to attend this session.
Thursday, February 25: 4-5 pm
Register to attend this session.
Looking for mental health resources?
Indiana University and IU School of Medicine are proud of the amazing work of faculty and staff and are committed to offering support. A variety of mental health resources are available for faculty, staff, trainees and their loved ones:
- SupportLinc Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Services are provided at no cost to all employees, residents, graduate appointees, fellowship recipients and their household members.
- IU School of Medicine Ombuds Office
- IUPUI Thriving Campus: Find a mental health clinician in your area.
- Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center: Mental Health Emergency Line: 317-880-8485
- Additional personal well-being resources are available for IU faculty and staff on the Healthy IU website, which includes campus-specific programs and resources.
- IU Health Virtual Behavioral Health Hub: 317-963-2200; available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to IU Health team members. This personalized hub is staffed by trained professionals who offer emotional assistance and referral to other resources. All encounters are confidential.
- Text HOME to 741741 for crisis support from a national crisis text line.
Know how to help trainees
Are you working with a trainee who may need well-being support during this challenging time? The Department of Mental Health Services (DMHS) offers individual psychotherapy, couples counseling, group counseling and psychiatric services. All services are currently available via telehealth. IU School of Medicine trainees statewide can contact DMHS at 317-278-2383 or access the DMHS trainee online portal.
Mental Health Crisis Line: 317-278-4357 (HELP); available 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Anyone may call on behalf of a trainee.
IUPUI Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 317-274-2548
IULifeline: Online resource for college mental health
School’s new regenerative medicine PhD program aimed at workforce development
IU School of Medicine recently announced a new PhD program in regenerative medicine and technologies, a rapidly growing discipline that will shape the future of health care. The new PhD program will train next generation leaders who will contribute to the much-required, skilled workforce across the country and in Indiana. The program is expected to make a major economic impact through training new leaders in the field.
“This program is interdisciplinary in nature and is primarily focused on skilled workforce development to shape the future of regenerative medicine,” said Chandan Sen, PhD, director of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering (ICRME), associate vice president of research for IU School of Medicine and distinguished professor with the Department of Surgery. Sen also leads the regenerative medicine and engineering scientific pillar of the IU Precision Health Initiative. “It provides opportunities for industry internships and will meet the growing market demand in the regenerative medicine field.”
Regenerative medicine is an innovative new branch of medicine that develops methods to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues. The field includes the generation and use of cell/tissue reprogramming, therapeutic stem cells, tissue engineering and the production of bioartificial organs. A drug is eligible for regenerative medicine advanced therapy (RMAT) designation by the United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA), as described in Section 3033 of the 21st Century Cures Act. The new PhD program will be one of only six regenerative medicine PhD programs in the country and the second with an industry emphasis.
For more on the program, visit the Newsroom.
Education Day proposals: Deadline to submit is next Friday
There is just a little over a week remaining to submit proposals for IU School of Medicine’s second annual Education Day. Focusing on “Adaptability in Medical Education,” the event will be held via Zoom on Thursday, April 22. Proposals may be submitted electronically by 5 pm, Friday, January 15. Read this blog post for full details, including a list of topics. Questions? Email Komal Kochhar, MBBS, MHA.
Trustees’ Teaching Award nominations due January 27
The Indiana University Board of Trustees annually recognizes faculty excellence in teaching with this prestigious award. Exceptional teaching is the primary factor for selection, and it’s anticipated that approximately 50 outstanding IU School of Medicine instructors will receive the award this year.
Tenured and tenure-track faculty and librarians engaged in teaching are eligible, as are full-time clinical faculty and full-time lecturers whose primary duties are teaching. Award recipients must have demonstrated a sustained level of teaching excellence in the form of documented student learning and must have completed at least three years of service to be eligible (appointed on or before July 1, 2017).
On the blog: Cognitive scientist celebrates half century at IU
“I’ll get it on a Sunday afternoon, and sure enough, it’s a fascinating article,” Kronenberger said. “Then it gets you thinking and it gives you new ideas. David is just a catalyst for great ideas, great research, great training.”
Pisoni, distinguished professor of psychological and brain sciences and chancellor’s professor of cognitive science, celebrated his 50th year at Indiana University in 2020. Pisoni has spent the past 28 of those years at the DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory, part of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine.
Ranking 40th overall in the amount of National Institutes of Health grant funding received in the history of the university, Pisoni has mentored more than 200 postdoctoral research fellows, graduate students and medical students over those 50 years. Much of that was made possible through the Indiana T32 training grant program—which ended in 2016 after 36 years—that focused on speech, hearing and sensory communication. It was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, part of the NIH.
Kronenberger calls Pisoni a pioneer in the basic understanding of how children develop language and thinking skills as they adapt to receiving a cochlear implant—the focus of the laboratory.
“David’s work has helped absolutely countless kids and families with cochlear implants,” Kronenberger said.
For more on Pisoni and his career, read the Faculty News blog post.
Indiana Alcohol Research Center requesting submissions for renewal application
The Indiana Alcohol Research Center is preparing a renewal application for its next 5-year cycle (due December 1, 2021) and invites potential investigators across Indiana University to propose component projects and ideas about how to study “high-intensity drinking” (HID): drinking beyond the established binge threshold of achieving a blood alcohol.
To respond, submit a one-page prospectus (NIH font/margin/spacing rules) outlining potential aims, hypotheses, and a brief description of any supporting preliminary data and methods. More information is available. Questions? Email David Kareken. Submission deadline is Friday, January 15.
Researchers publish breakthrough findings on sudden cardiac death in people with sickle cell disease
A team of researchers including Ankit Desai, MD, have found that an inflammatory protein called interleukin-18 precipitates fatal heart problems in people with sickle cell disease. Their findings, published in the journal Blood, offer hope of lowering the high rate of sudden death in these patients.
“This is a unique study that illuminates an understudied area and addresses critical health disparities for an underserved population of patients,” Desai said.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that predominantly impacts Black people. Until the late 1990s, few people with the disease survived beyond adolescence. Improved vaccines and preventative treatments have lengthened their lifespans, but people with sickle cell disease still suffer from serious, painful complications, and often die suddenly in their 40s or 50s.
Desai has long hypothesized that many of these deaths were attributable to heart arrhythmias and other fatal cardiac problems, despite a lack of existing research in this area.
“When I entered the field, the disease’s impact on the heart was poorly studied,” he said. “These patients were observed to have various risk factors for sudden cardiac death, but there were no studies on the development of these risk factors.”
Read The Beat blog post for more on Desai’s research.
Faculty and Staff News
COVID-19 vaccination continues: Here’s the latest information
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, many are wondering when they will be able to get vaccinated. Based on State of Indiana guidance, the following individuals are currently able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Individuals age 80 or older.
- Those who work or volunteer in health care and have (physical or close) contact or face-to-face interactions with patients. Examples include:
- Inpatient, outpatient, provider office setting, nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, in-home services
- This includes all clinical and non-clinical positions: clinicians, dietary, environmental services, administrators who have direct contact with patients, clergy who see patients in the healthcare setting, non-clinicians who assist in procedures, transportation staff, etc.
- This also includes local health department staff who interact with patients at test sites, health clinics or provide direct patient care
- Those who have exposure to COVID-19 infectious material. Examples include: cleaning of rooms or material from COVID-19 patients, performing COVID-19 testing, other exposure to infected tissue, performing autopsies or other post-mortem examinations of COVID-19 patients
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination in Indiana, visit coronavirus.in.gov.
Reporting COVID-19 vaccination
When you receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it’s important to complete the online COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting Form.
Reporting positive COVID-19 results
If you test positive for COVID-19, and you were not tested at IU Health: Submit the COVID-19 Self Reporting Form located at one.iu.edu. You must report your results to initiate the IU contact tracing process.
If you test positive for COVID-19, and you were tested at IU Health: You will receive detailed instructions from IU contact tracers about isolation and next steps.
Voluntary asymptomatic testing
IU faculty, staff and students now have the option to schedule a free asymptomatic COVID-19 test on several IU campuses. Appointments are required for these saliva-based tests, which are offered at the same on-campus sites where mitigation testing is conducted. There are certain conditions under which you should not schedule a voluntary test. Learn more about these conditions and access the links to schedule a test.
Box will be read-only after Monday
Be aware—after Monday, January 11, your Box user account will become read-only, and you will no longer be able to edit or upload files in Box. You will be able to view and download documents until May 2021. In the meantime, review your migration error report for group and personal accounts to ensure that you have everything you need before IU’s contract with Box expires.
Need to create institutional storage with Microsoft or Google? It’s important to fill out an institutional storage request form for all migrating or new institutional storage. Not sure of next steps? UITS offers recorded webinars to help you store, share and collaborate with colleagues. Have questions? Contact your IT Pro or your campus UITS Support Center.
For more, see these IU Box Retirement FAQs.
Promotion and tenure info session is February 3
Each year IU School of Medicine Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity partners with the school's Promotion & Tenure committee to offer a series of information sessions on the promotion and tenure process. Plan to attend the virtual general information session from noon-1 pm, Wednesday, February 3, for a broad view of the P&T process and to gather resources. More information and registration are available.
Reminder about campus building access through February 8
To ensure safety and security in campus facilities, all interior doors and hallways—including Research Institute II (R2), Walther Hall (R3) and Cancer Research Institute (R4)—will require a Crimson Card to enter. Exterior doors (main entries and dock areas) will remain unlocked for deliveries. Please work with your building administrator to ensure you have the appropriate access.
Take part in IU’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Indiana University will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 18, with a series of special events on the theme, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?,” the title of Martin Luther King’s final book. University events include virtual programs, workshops and opportunities that exemplify the humane causes espoused by the great civil rights leader. Learn more and find out how you can participate.
Merritt shares insights on systemic racism ahead of January 28 town hall
Breanca Merritt, PhD, director of the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, and clinical assistant professor of IUPUI, will speak at this year’s IU School of Medicine Cultural Awareness Town Hall on Thursday, January 28. In advance of the event, Merritt shares some insights on systemic racism and lessons learned from COVID-19. Read the blog post and register for the town hall.
Kelley to host January 13 webinar: Fixing Healthcare Through Innovation
Increasing the quality of care and decreasing costs for patients can feel impossible—leaving healthcare professionals stuck in a system that is broken. Join a webinar at 12:15 pm, Wednesday, January 13, when Kelley School of Business professor Phil Powell discusses how alternative approaches to care management outside the U.S. inspire actionable ways to improve healthcare experiences for patients. He will also examine how principles of disruptive innovation guide positive change that can improve patient care and elevate staff morale. Register for the webinar.
Register for LGBTQ Health Care Conference
The LGBTQ Health Care Conference will be held virtually Thursday, March 25, and Friday, March 26. The two-day event is open to anyone seeking to understand the unique health considerations and barriers to health care in the LGBTQ population.
Conference attendees will learn how to provide respectful, patient-centered, culturally competent health care to LGBTQ individuals. More details and registration are available. Learners (students, residents and fellows) may attend the conference at no charge. CME, ACPE and ANCC credits are available.
Integrated pain management ECHO begins second year: Learn more
The second year of the Integrated pain management (IPM) ECHO program will be held via Zoom from 8-9 am on the first and third Fridays of each month through December 2021. The IPM ECHO will include an interprofessional cohort of healthcare providers including physicians, pharmacists, advanced practice nurses, physical therapists and social workers who will share cases, learn best practices, and consult with peers and expert faculty. Curriculum for this program will include physiology and psychology of pain, non-medication modalities for pain management, assessing for substance use disorder and pharmacotherapeutics.