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Top News

  • A word about the CDC’s most recent guidance on masking

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidelines this week recommending that fully vaccinated people wear a mask indoors if they live in an area of “substantial or high transmission” of COVID-19, which includes the delta variant.

    At Indiana University, previous guidance on mask wearing remains unchanged at the present time. Currently, masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals in university spaces. For those who have worked remotely, continue to communicate with your supervisor about return-to-office procedures.

    The university and IU School of Medicine are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated and attest their vaccination to IU (or get an exemption). In addition,

    • Know that guidance may change quickly; continue to monitor your email and covid.iu.edu.
    • For the latest update and guidance, watch this week’s “Ask Aaron” webinar.
    • Individuals working in health care facilities must comply with the guidelines for that organization. (See Partner News in this issue of INScope for a recent update to mask requirements at IU Health.)

    “It’s important to note that the CDC guidance is based on risk,” said Aaron Carroll, MD, IU’s chief health officer. “The best the CDC can do to estimate risk is to look at cases at the county level. The risk at IU, however, is much lower than that. We have a very high rate of vaccination, which makes our environment much safer than any county in Indiana and perhaps nearly any place in Indiana. People are still encouraged to make individual decisions, and if they want to mask for even more protection, we support that.”

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  • IU study helps researchers understand spreading patterns of Alzheimer’s

    A new research synthesis, published in Nature Reviews Neurology, explores the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and connectomics, a rapidly growing area in computational neuroscience that provides a theoretical framework for understanding brain networks. By investigating the relationships between the human connectome, disease pathology and genetics, researchers may discover network-level diagnostic biomarkers that can serve as outcome measures for therapy and prevention designed to preserve brain function.

    “Alzheimer’s disease is biologically defined by two principal neuropathological hallmarks: the abnormal accumulation of amyloid beta plaques and tau tangles,” said Meichen Yu, PhD, first author of the review and a postdoctoral appointee in radiology and imaging sciences at IU School of Medicine. “Connectome studies help researchers understand the spreading patterns of amyloid and tau in Alzheimer’s disease, and these insights can lead to novel biomarkers.”

    The history of connectomics goes back about 15 years to when Olaf Sporns, PhD, co-author and distinguished professor in psychological and brain sciences at IU, and his colleagues defined the concept of the connectome, launching a field that is now being applied to Alzheimer’s.

    “Brain network models have been applied to characterize brain disorganization in Alzheimer’s disease, and could be useful for tracking and predicting the progression of the disease,” said Sporns. “Moreover, the concept and computational approaches of connectomics can be generalized to study other neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.”

    Visit the Newsroom for more on this recently published study.

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  • Zellars appointed to National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors

    Rich C. Zellars, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, has been selected to serve on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Board of Scientific Advisors. The board advises and makes recommendations on research priorities conducted or supported by the NCI. The board’s purview includes evaluation of NCI-awarded grants, cooperative agreements and contracts, and review of activities the board considers meritorious and consistent with the NCI’s programs.

    Zellars, the William A. Mitchell Professor of Radiation Oncology, joined IU School of Medicine in 2015. Prior to coming to IU, he was associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and assistant director of clinical trial accrual at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Zellars is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed a residency in radiation oncology at the University of Michigan, where he was chief resident.

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  • On the blog: Physician Mentor of the Year shares encouragement with mentees

    It was one hour before Emilio Baglietto’s final anatomy exam, and his anxiety was rising. He knew he needed to reach out to someone but didn’t know who to call. His family and friends would be supportive but couldn’t relate to the pressure he was feeling to succeed in medical school.

    “So, I called Dr. Yung,” he said, referring to his physician mentor, Yung Nguyen, MD, MBA. “He stayed with me on the phone for a total of 40 minutes, he calmed me down, he let me review some anatomy via the phone—although he was a bit rusty! Then he gave me some parting words, and I went on to be one of the top scorers on my anatomy final.

    “I don't know if my colleagues have been so blessed with their physician mentors, but I can safely say that I may not have made it past the first semester without my physician mentor,” said Baglietto, now a third-year medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine.

    Nguyen has been named 2021 Physician Mentor of the Year. The IU School of Medicine alumnus and retired anesthesiologist doesn’t think he’s doing anything special—just offering a listening ear, a reassuring word and genuine friendship.

    “For me, it’s like being their cheerleader, holding their hand and saying, ‘It will be OK; you’re going to make it,’” Nguyen said. “I’m there for them to air out their doubts and just talk about anything.”

    As part of IU School of Medicine’s Physician Mentor Program, every incoming medical student is assigned to a physician mentor who acts as a support person throughout all four years of medical school. Physician mentors can be any current or retired medical provider in the state of Indiana who desires to mentor the next generation of healers, helping them navigate challenges and explore possibilities while striving for excellence.

    Read the full blog post to learn more about Nguyen’s experience as a physician mentor and the requirements for physicians to serve in this vital role.

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  • INScope returning to weekly schedule

    With the start of the fall semester, INScope is returning to its weekly publication schedule.

    As a reminder, INScope is IU School of Medicine’s internal newsletter and is published weekly during the academic year and every two weeks during the summer months and year-end holiday season. The publication’s primary target audience is faculty, staff, residents and fellows. Medical students and other members of the IU community may also subscribe. Find the link to subscribe at the top of the INScope page or fill out the subscription form.

    Have news to share with INScope readers? Email news and information to scopemed@iu.edu.

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Research News

  • Scientists call on professional community to support women in diabetes research

    A group of leading scientists is holding a mirror to the diabetes research community and calling for the improved support of its female constituents.

    Linda DiMeglio, MD, MPH, of IU School of Medicine and Mark Atkinson, PhD, of the University of Florida, led a deep dive into the historical representation of women in the diabetes research community and that of women in influential positions among four major diabetes organizations. Their findings and recommendations were jointly published in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care and Diabetes along with two accompanying editorial pieces.

    Together with Jessica Dunne, PhD, of Janssen Research & Development, LLC, and Jennifer Maizel, MPH, and Amanda Posgai, PhD, of the University of Florida, they found that while women represent about half of the diabetes research community, they have remained historically underrepresented in key leadership roles and are less likely to receive honors and funding for their work.  

    “I had observed and heard from others anecdotal reports about the underrepresentation of women in various settings,” said DiMeglio. “But collating and disseminating these hard data is a critical first step toward improving the representativeness of the diabetes field. So, when Dr. Dunne and Dr. Atkinson asked me to join them in doing a deep dive, I seized the opportunity.”

    The group quantified gender representation in annual meeting attendance, editorial board service position, principal investigators for grant funding and career achievement award recipients using data from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), JDRF, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).   

    Visit the Newsroom to see the major takeaways of the study.

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Faculty and Staff News

  • Sims named assistant director of faculty development, translational research at Herman B Wells Center

    Emily K. Sims, MD, has been appointed the assistant director of faculty development and translational research within the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. In this role, Sims is responsible for supporting faculty and trainee development, enhancing processes and visibility of resources related to translational research, and aligning and overseeing the translational aspect of the Wells Center in partnership with counterparts in the Department of Pediatrics, Riley Children’s Foundation, IU Health and others. Learn more about Sims’ work, her new role and more on the Pediatrics Blog.

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  • Kochhar to lead new Educational Affairs Data Analytics unit

    Educational Affairs Data Analytics (EDA) is a new unit within the IU School of Medicine Dean’s Office. The unit was developed to evaluate important data sets to inform mission-critical decisions guiding continuous quality improvement across the medical education pipeline, from admissions through graduate medical education. EDA also will assist in providing robust program evaluation to measure key indicators of curricular effectiveness and learner assessment with respect to all educational outcomes.

    EDA will include representatives from the IU School of Medicine Business Intelligence Unit and individuals who had been a part of the former Planning, Assessment, Evaluation (PAE) Unit in Medical Student Education. There will also be a representative from Graduate Medical Education (GME). The EDA team represents a novel interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to data management for IU School of Medicine. By bringing together the expertise of all involved, the new unit will improve the acquisition, synthesis, evaluation and dissemination of educational data and will positively impact the educational mission. 

    Komal Kochhar, MD, MHA, who serves as director for research in medical education, will lead this unit as director of educational affairs data analytics. She will continue in her current position in the Dean’s Office and as an assistant research professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

    Kochhar has 20 years of experience successfully managing and directing projects in collaboration with clinical and basic science departments within IU School of Medicine, as well as the Indiana State Department of Health. Her areas of expertise include educational research related to both undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education, physician workforce studies, health services research, program evaluations, community-based needs assessments, and effective leadership in research administration.

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  • Duncan named inaugural recipient of Dr. Chaniece Wallace research award

    Francesca C. Duncan, MD, MS, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Chaniece Wallace Health Care Disparity Research Award. The research award was established by the IU School of Medicine Office of Graduate Medical Education in 2021 to honor Wallace, a beloved pediatric chief resident who passed away in October 2020 from postpartum complications. This award recognizes an IU School of Medicine resident or fellow who has demonstrated commitment to addressing health care inequities through research, advocacy and community outreach.

    Since joining the school in 2018 as a pulmonary and critical care fellow, Duncan has established herself across campus as a leader in health care inequity education, research and advocacy. Her education work focuses on developing workshops for addressing microaggression, racism and bystander/allyship training in the clinical learning environment. Her advocacy work centers on improving diversity and inclusivity in medicine, as well as mentoring students and residents who are underrepresented in medicine. These efforts include her involvement in schoolwide committees, the Student National Medical Association and the IU School of Medicine Multicultural Physicians' Alliance.

    Duncan’s research focuses on racial differences in newly diagnosed lung cancer patients as it relates to demographic factors, treatment and mortality among Black Americans and white Americans.

    Duncan was recently appointed assistant professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine.  

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  • Trainees may apply for designated cancer center membership

    Trainee membership in the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is designed for graduate students, postdocs and fellows involved in cancer research. Trainee members have access to benefits, including travel grant awards and career development events. Learn more and apply. Questions? Contact Jennifer Stringer, Kristen Scott or Kaitlin Condron.

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Opportunities

  • Cancer center now accepting abstracts for Cancer Research Day

    The IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is now accepting abstracts for posters to be presented at Cancer Research Day on Thursday, October 14.

    Students, fellows and faculty conducting cancer research at IUPUI, Indiana University-Bloomington, Purdue University and the Harper Cancer Research Institute, a collaboration between IU School of Medicine and the University of Notre Dame, are eligible to present at Cancer Research Day.

    Abstracts should be submitted in one of the following research categories: 

    • Basic science
    • Behavioral
    • Population science/epidemiology
    • Translational/clinical research

    Abstracts will be divided and compared by the following groups within each research category: 

    • Clinical nurse
    • Graduate student
    • Medical student
    • Postdoctoral/medical fellow
    • Research technician
    • Undergraduate students
    • Faculty (not eligible for cash award)

    Visit the Cancer Research Day website for more details and to complete the online abstract submission form. The deadline to submit the form is Friday, September 3, at 5 pm. Also, please be sure to register for the conference. This will enable event planners to contact everyone in case Cancer Research Day needs to be changed to a virtual event.

    Cancer Research Day is an annual event that aims to increase understanding and awareness of IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center research endeavors and encourage collaboration with other cancer research institutions in Indiana.

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  • Apply by August 19 for DHART SPORE developmental research and career enhancement awards

    The IU School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics is a member of the multi-institutional Developmental and Hyperactive Ras Tumor (DHART) SPORE program. The goal of the SPORE program is to improve the diagnosis and management of tumors arising in persons with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and other inherited “Rasopathy” syndromes through basic, translational and clinical research.

    Two funding opportunities are available from this program: the Developmental Research Program (DRP) and the Career Enhancement Program (CEP). More information and application details are available. Deadline to apply is Thursday, August 19.

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  • September 15 is deadline to apply for new interprofessional education seed grants

    The Indiana University Interprofessional Practice and Education Center has created the IPE Seed Grant Program to provide faculty with funding, consultation and support to develop and implement new educational programming into the existing statewide IPE Team Education Advancing Collaboration in Healthcare (TEACH) curriculum.

    The seed grant program is worth up to $5,000 of matchable monies and will be awarded by December 1. To apply, faculty must submit applications to the IU IPE website between August 1 and September 15. Submissions must describe learning experiences involving students from at least two professions participating in the TEACH curriculum. View proposal evaluation criteria and submission guidelines.

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Partner News

  • Masks required in all IU Health facilities

    IU Health has updated its mask guidance to align with recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to prevent the further spread of the delta variant in Indiana. Effective immediately, IU Health team members are required to wear masks in all IU Health facilities regardless of vaccination status.

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  • IU Health hospitals ranked No. 1 in Indiana for 24th year

    IU Health is part of the Best Hospitals rankings by U.S. News & World Report for 2021-22, and IU Health Medical Center (Methodist, University and Saxony hospitals) was ranked No. 1 in the state for the 24th consecutive year.  

    The annual rankings, now in their 32nd year, are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions or for common elective procedures. View the ranking details. Best regional hospital rankings also are available.

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  • Eskenazi Health named Indiana’s top hospital for community health investment

    Eskenazi Health has been named Indiana’s top hospital for community health investment by the Lown Institute. The institute evaluated 3,641 hospitals throughout the country. Hospitals were ranked based on charity care spending, spending on other community health initiatives and Medicaid revenue. Per the Lown Institute, revenue from Medicaid is a measure of the hospital’s commitment to taking care of low-income patients.

    Eskenazi Health supports patients and the community by providing and advocating for quality health care and health care education, while aiming to reduce obstacles individuals may face accessing routine medical care.

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  • IU Interprofessional Education Center debuts new options and flexibility for TEACH

    The IU Interprofessional Practice and Education Center (IPE) is changing its Team Education Advancing Collaboration in Healthcare (TEACH) curriculum. Beginning this fall, students and faculty will see increased programming options and more built-in flexibility for TEACH.

    This enhanced TEACH curriculum will continue to consist of three phases: Exposure, Immersion and Entry-to-Practice. These experiences will still encompass the interprofessional education competency domains of roles and responsibilities, values/ethics, interprofessional communication and teams/teamwork.

    The Exposure phase will now be an online experience. This will allow student and facilitator flexibility and the opportunity for students to work with those they would otherwise never interact with from across the state.

    The Immersion phase will provide a menu of experience options for learners to practice skills in the IPE competency domains with learners of partner professions, as selected by their programs. These options offer greater professional relevance for participating students.

    The Entry-to-Practice phase uses a toolkit to assist programs and schools in identifying the most relevant and real-world collaborative experiences. This phase will capitalize on the existing capstone, clinical rotations or community-based experiences and provide practicum opportunities for learners to apply and be assessed on learned collaborative skills in an interprofessional context.

    Visit the IPE website for more details about the new curriculum.

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Kudos

  • Takagi and Elmendorf receive Dr. Bert Elwert Award in Medicine

    Yuichiro Takagi, PhD, and Jeffrey Elmendorf, PhD, have been selected as the 2021 recipients of the Bert Elwert Award in Medicine. Takagi was selected based on his Biomedical Research Grant proposal, “Structure and function of Mediator CDK8 module.” Elmendorf received the award for his Biomedical Research Grant proposal, “Refining the molecular basis of insulin resistance & diabetes.”

    Made possible by a bequest from the estate of Dr. Bert Elwert, an IU alumnus who earned a doctoral degree from the School of Business in 1965, the Elwert Award seeks to support medical research that is likely to “give the largest incremental boost to our performance and reputation within the medical/scientific community.”

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  • Hensel earns Charles R. Bantz Community Scholar Award

    Devon J. Hensel, PhD, associate research professor of pediatrics, received the Charles R. Bantz Community Scholar award for her research on substance-use disorders. Completed with IU School of Health & Human Sciences colleague Victoria Garcia-Wilburn, PhD, the project, “Understanding Cravings and Triggers in Adolescents Attending a Recovery High School in a COVID-19 Era,” is a partnership with Hope Academy Recovery High School. The research will allow the researchers and Hope Academy to better understand adolescents’ daily lived experiences, improve client-centered care and capture the real-life barriers in substance use disorders.

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  • IU researchers receive award for study about how medical students learn to apologize

    Richard M. Frankel, PhD, professor of medicine, has collected 7,000 stories about professionalism over the past 15 years in the largest database capturing how medical students perceive the concept during their third year of medical school. This rich data trove helped inform his latest article published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine alongside lead author and mentee Ian Fischer, MS, MA, a doctoral candidate in psychology at IUPUI, about how medical students observe and learn from apologies. The article was recently awarded the John A. Benson Jr., MD, Professionalism Article Prize from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation in recognition of its outstanding contribution to documenting the impact of medical professionalism on improving healthcare. Read more in the Research in Medical Education blog post.

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  • Researchers honored at fifth annual GME Patient Safety Day

    Hosted by IU School of Medicine Graduate Medical Education, the fifth annual Patient Safety Day was conducted virtually by Zoom on June 11. The event included a dual keynote address, as well as 14 oral presentations. A variety of disciplines were represented, including abstract presentations from internal medicine, neonatology, neurological surgery, nursing, emergency medicine, pediatrics and respiratory therapy.  

    Experts in the field of patient safety and quality served as judges for the oral presentations and recognized the following top three abstracts:

    First Place: Akira Saito, MD
    Internal Medicine-Gastroenterology Fellow
    “Not FIT for Use: Fecal Immunohistochemical Testing in the Inpatient and Emergency Settings”

    Second Place: Blair Welch, MD
    Pediatrics-Neonatal/Perinatal Fellow – Department of Neonatology
    “Stork Team Impact on Quality Improvement Initiative in Infants <32 Weeks”

    Third Place: Derryl Miller, MD
    Neurology-Clinical Neurophysiology Fellow
    “Coordinating Care for Intracranial Electrode Safety”

    This year’s event featured the first “People’s Choice” award for best abstract. Event attendees voted live during the event for the winner of this category.  

    People’s Choice Award: Jaclyn France, BRST
    NICU Respiratory Supervisor, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health
    “Premedication for Non-Emergent Intubation QI Initiative at Riley NICU”

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