Top News

  • In case you missed it: Fall 2021 All School Meeting; view the recording

    Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, IU School of Medicine is continuing its forward trajectory on key priorities.

    This was the message shared by Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, during the Fall 2021 All School Meeting, held via Zoom on September 28. The meeting, which included updates from executive associate deans, also celebrated 2021 faculty staff and award winners. (See related article in this week’s INScope.) In his opening address, Hess applauded the continued tenacity of the IU School of Medicine community during another challenging year, while sharing his excitement for the things to come.

    “I am so proud and grateful to all of you—because of you we have stayed the course,” said Hess. “Today I’ll take just a few minutes to highlight three areas where we have made major strides that are critical for our success—increasing the impact of our research, building campuses for the future, and recruiting and developing talent.”

    If you missed the meeting, you can view the recording.

    The next All School Meeting will be in Spring 2022. Watch for more details early next year.

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  • School faculty and staff honored for outstanding contributions

    Each year, IU School of Medicine recognizes faculty and staff for their outstanding contributions to the school, students and community. Congratulations to the 2021 winners of the following awards:

    Deb Cowley Staff Leadership Award

    • Leeann Parker, director, Clinical Education and Clerkships, IU School of Medicine–Evansville
    • Jason Shine, program director, Office of Research Imaging

    Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award

    • Hal E. Broxmeyer, PhD – Basic science award winner
    • Alexia M. Torke, MD – Clinical award winner

    Inspirational Educator Award

    • Matthew Holley, PhD, assistant professor of clinical family medicine
    • Nicole P. Scott, MD, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology

    Lynn Wakefield Unsung Hero Staff Award

    • Anita Gupta, clinical research specialist, Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Department of Medicine
    • Mallory Mack, Ophthalmology Residency coordinator
    • Adrienne Phillips, administrative specialist, Office of Graduate Medical Education

    Outstanding Community Engagement Award

    • Jennifer Taylor, DHEd, MPH, MCHES, executive director, Indiana Area Health Education Centers (AHEC)

    Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Diversity Award

    • Ruben Hernandez, MD, assistant professor and vice chair of education, Department of Family Medicine

    Outstanding Staff Commitment to Diversity Award

    • Nastassia Belton, STARK Neuroscience Research Center

    Scholar Educator Award

    • Jessica Byram, PhD, assistant professor of anatomy, cell biology and physiology

    Volunteer and Adjunct Faculty Teaching Awards
    View the list of 2021 winners.

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  • IU receives grant to enhance curricular coverage of care for underserved

    IU School of Medicine researchers were recently awarded a $5.1 million supplemental grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration for the Primary Care Reaffirmation for Indiana Medical Education (PRIME) program

    The new award for the program will add to the previous four-year, $7 million grant received by the school in 2020. The funding will be used to enhance the classroom and clinical learning experiences—using face-to-face as well as the growing platform of telemedicine to build trusting relationships between trainees and their patients.

    “This award will allow the school to increase the program’s focus on expanding primary care training and experiences, including telemedicine and point-of-care ultrasound,” said Bradley Allen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for medical education and a principal investigator of the program. “It will also help us to enhance our curricular coverage of care for the underserved, increase attention to the impact of systemic racism on health care in Indiana and develop competency skills in health equity, diversity and inclusion.”

    For more details on the grant, visit the Newsroom.

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  • Hispanic Heritage Month: MD student learns resilience from Puerto Rican family

    Editor’s note: Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15, to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched the United States through achievements and contributions to society. 

    For Rebecca Zapf-Pedraza, resilience has been passed down through the generations. Her maternal grandfather, who descends from the Taíno indigenous people group, lived in the rural farming town of Cidra, Puerto Rico, during hard economic times.

    “My grandpa would walk to school barefoot, snack on the sugar plantations, ended up being homeless as a teenager, joined the military, and that’s how he got here to America,” said Zapf-Pedraza, a fourth-year medical student at IU School of Medicine.

    In the United States, he settled in New York’s East Harlem, also known as “El Barrio,” where Zapf-Pedraza’s mother was born and raised.

    “She had to teach herself English when she was 5,” Zapf-Pedraza noted. Her mother later would become a psychologist, working at an inner-city school in Rhode Island, where Zapf-Pedraza grew up in the suburbs.

    Her father was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in New York and became a family physician in rural Michigan. Zapf-Pedraza spent significant time there, as well. Extended family members on both sides still live in New York, and Zapf-Pedraza recalls many jubilant visits.

    “We had the pernil asado (pork), sweet plantains, rice and beans and chicken, and played the island music,” she said. “Our get-togethers are vibrant, spirited and full of laughter.”

    From the example of her family, Zapf-Pedraza learned the importance of community connection, particularly when times are tough. Read more of her story in this Spirit of Medicine blog post.

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Research News

  • Tachinardi named interim president and CEO of Regenstrief Institute

    Umberto Tachinardi, MD, will serve as interim president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute, effective December 6. Tachinardi, assistant dean of clinical research informatics at IU School of Medicine, also serves as director of informatics for the Indiana CTSI. At Regenstrief, he is a research scientist with the Clem McDonald Center for Biomedical Informatics. In addition to his leadership responsibilities, Tachinardi is also professor of clinical biostatistics and health data sciences. 

    Tachinardi’s appointment follows the recent announcement that Peter Embí, MD, current Regenstrief president and CEO, is departing later this year to chair Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. An update on the selection of a new president will be shared at a later date.

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  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial results published in NEJM

    Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has published its COVID-19 vaccine data in the highly credible scientific journal, The New England Journal of Medicine. Results published in the journal show the vaccine known as AZD1222 is a safe and effective way to prevent people from getting symptomatic cases of COVID-19. More than 32,000 adults participated in the study and received two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart.

    More than 500 of the participants were from Indiana, as IU School of Medicine was one of more than 80 sites conducting a portion of this important study.

    “We should be proud that Hoosiers were willing to step up and volunteer and be a part of this,” said Cynthia Brown, MD, who led the IU School of Medicine site for this study. “We had so much interest. We were one of the largest enrolling centers around the country.”

    Learn more in this Research Updates blog post.

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  • IU researchers discover ties between COVID-19 and bone loss

    Researchers in the IU School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, with support from the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis, have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 can cause quick and significant bone loss—even when infections are mild.

    Mouse models infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 lost approximately 25 percent of their bone mass within two weeks of contagion and exhibited a 63 percent increase in osteoclasts, the cells that cause bone to break down. These changes were observed even in mice who experienced only mild COVID-19 symptoms and those who were asymptomatic.

    The findings are being published in Bone, a journal focused primarily on research into bone and mineral metabolism and the interactions of bone with other organ systems.

    The study raises questions about the lasting implications of the pandemic and the virus’s effects on the musculoskeletal system. The discovery will likely inspire further research into the potential bone loss experienced by people of all ages who contract COVID-19.

    The study is part of ongoing coronavirus research being conducted by the Kacena Lab in Indianapolis, led by Melissa Kacena, PhD, vice chair of research, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

    Visit the Newsroom for more details.

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  • Departments achieve nearly 100 percent compliance with DMP requirement

    All IU School of Medicine federally funded researchers (excluding the VA) are required to submit yearly, mandatory data management plans (DMPs) detailing where their research data is housed, how it is stored and plans for sharing. The deadline for this year’s plans was August 31, when an accumulated 98 percent submission rate was achieved.

    “Many thanks to all the department chairs, vice chairs for research, vice chairs for finance and administration, and those individuals in specific departments who did amazing work, communicating the need for DMPs to the individual researchers in their departments and getting their data management plans submitted,” said Beth Whipple, DMP project leader and assistant director of research and translational sciences at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library. “We know a lot of the researchers received more than one funding award, so we tried to make sure we provided as much support as we could.”

    Important reminders: 

    • If you still need to submit a DMP, you can.
    • The plans are award-based; this means one DMP per active award.
    • Information on how to submit a DMP, frequently asked questions and support for meeting this requirement are available on MedNet.
    • There is a direct link to the DMP form.

    With questions, email Compliance with the DMP requirement will be reviewed annually and incorporated into departmental annual reviews.

    “Since we first put out the call for DMP completion back in May, we saw a continuous and steady increase in submissions,” Whipple said. “We hope that we can replicate this great success moving forward, as we continuously work to align our requirement with emerging federal policies.”

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Faculty and Staff News

  • IU School of Medicine opens search for Department of Dermatology chair

    IU School of Medicine is accepting applications for chair of the Department of Dermatology. The successful candidate will provide strategic leadership for all aspects of the department, including education, research and clinical care.

    This position is ideal for a collaborative and transformational leader who can build on existing strengths and work collaboratively with IU School of Medicine leadership and the academic health center. Doctorate or terminal degree is required. Minimum qualifications include an MD or MD/PhD (or equivalent), board certification in dermatology, and eligibility for licensure in Indiana. Academic appointment type is open and will be determined based on academic credentials. The individual selected for this position must be a highly accomplished researcher and principled leader with exceptional communication, interpersonal and change management skills, and a strong commitment to upholding the school’s core values including promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

    Refer to the full position description for information and details on how to apply. Priority review deadline is November 15.

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  • DEI resource series: Cultivating an inclusive mindset; access the webinar

    In this informative webinar, learn the diversity and inclusion concepts which underlie an inclusive mindset and how you can become a true ally to colleagues. “Inclusive Mindset for Committed Allies” is available through LinkedIn Learning, offered to IU faculty, staff and learners free of charge through One.IU (search “LinkedIn”).

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  • Grand Rounds on October 13 to address inclusive primary care for LGBTQ+ patients

    The IU School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine will host its next Grand Rounds session from noon to 1 pm, Wednesday, October 13. Juan Carlos Venis, MD, MPH, assistant professor of clinical family medicine, will present “Principles of LGBTQ+ Inclusive Primary Care.” Access the Zoom meeting with meeting ID 861 7696 0503 and password 328286.

    The department’s Grand Rounds series is scheduled for the second Wednesday of every month through June 2022. The one-hour Zoom sessions are worth one CME credit. Questions? Email

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  • October ‘Simon Says’ to focus on reducing disparities in breast cancer

    While Black women develop breast cancer at a lower rate compared to women of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, the cancer often occurs at a younger age and is more aggressive. For years, the medical community thought these disparities could be solely attributed to socioeconomic factors, but current research tells a much more complex story.

    Plan to attend the next “Simon Says Expert Series” session at 1 pm, on Thursday, October 28, when breast cancer survivor and advocate Lisa R. Hayes, JD, CCHW, will be joined by IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers Kathy D. Miller, MD, and Hari Nakshatri, PhD, to discuss the work underway to unlock these complexities. Find out more and register.

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  • NIH leader to keynote Reciprocal Innovation Stakeholder Meeting on October 13

    The Indiana CTSI and the IU Center for Global Health will welcome Roger Glass, MD, PhD, director of the Fogarty International Center and associate director for international research at the National Institutes of Health, as the keynote speaker for the 2021 Reciprocal Innovation Stakeholder Meeting at 8 am, Wednesday, October 13. Join colleagues to discuss the concept of reciprocal innovation and knowledge gained during the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen health systems. The keynote presentation will be followed by an interactive panel of global health leaders. Register for the event. Questions? Email Rish O’Brien.

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  • Apply by November 18 for Indiana CTSI predoctoral training program

    The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) highly encourages applications from predoctoral students who have a keen interest in directed training in translational science research.
    These predoctoral training awards are designed to provide promising predoctoral students the opportunity to be mentored in research-intensive, multidisciplinary settings toward the goal of developing careers in translational research. Find out more and apply. Application deadline is November 18.

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  • Peipert named research course director for leading OB-GYN society

    The Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology (SASGOG) has selected Jeffrey F. Peipert, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at IU School of Medicine, to serve as director of the society’s new Program for Researchers in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences (PROGRESS) course. A reinvigoration of SASGOG’s former “Exxcellence” research course, PROGRESS aims to provide specialists and subspecialists with the expertise and network needed to promote their research careers.

    Peipert was selected to lead the course based on his leadership in career development programs, leadership of research divisions and programs across multiple institutions which have experienced significant growth, and leadership in and for numerous professional societies and governmental organizations.

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