Faculty and Staff News
Register for Fall Diversity Town Hall on November 2
Join IU School of Medicine colleagues for the Fall Diversity Town Hall, presented by Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, on Tuesday, November 2, from 4:30-6 pm, on Zoom. During the town hall, there will be updates on several ongoing initiatives from Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, MD, MPH, Antwione Haywood, PhD, MEd, and Chemen Neal, MD. There will also be an opportunity to pose questions to institutional leaders.
Celebrating Excellence: Article series debuts with med student who solved her own mystery illness
Editor’s note: Members of the IU School of Medicine community strive to uphold and elevate the core values of excellence, respect, integrity, diversity and cooperation. This is the first in a series of stories featuring IU School of Medicine faculty, staff and students who exemplify these values.
It began with a headache.
Dana Mitchell, a fourth-year student at Indiana University School of Medicine, never got headaches. She didn’t even own Tylenol. But these headaches were relentless. They kept her up at night, and when she did fall asleep, her rest was often interrupted by vivid, violent dreams.
The resulting fatigue might have been expected, but then came the pervasive mental fog. Dana was becoming forgetful and increasingly unable to translate her thoughts into words. She stumbled both in speech and physically. She had heart palpitations and elevated blood pressure. She fell in the shower.
“The best way I can describe it was neurological chaos,” Mitchell said. “I felt like my nervous system was on fire and super hyperactive—followed by periods of hardly being able to keep my eyes open, like a drugged feeling.”
It came on suddenly. Mitchell had just completed a grueling, full-day exam required for medical licensing. And she did well. “Two weeks after that,” she said, “I couldn’t subtract four from my own age.”
In this Spirit of Medicine blog post, find out how Mitchell put the pieces together—scouring scientific literature, consulting with IU School of Medicine faculty and alumni, and reaching out to experts across the nation—to determine she had autoimmune encephalitis and develop her own successful treatment plan.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Black patients play key role in advancing research
It’s common for people to ask friends to donate to a favorite charitable cause in lieu of birthday gifts, but Charlene Cheatham is taking it a step further. She’s asking her friends to donate their breast tissue.
Some friends have questioned why she can’t just have a birthday dinner, but Cheatham, a community advocate with Pink-4-Ever Ending Disparities, wants to help them understand how vital it is for Black women to be involved in breast cancer research.
“I tell them we’re doing this to help our families—the next generation—so if they’re diagnosed, they won’t have to suffer, or maybe there will be a cure. This is our contribution,” she said.
While white women are more likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetimes, Black women are more likely to have aggressive types of cancers that occur at a younger age—and to die from breast cancer.
These disparities were once thought to be caused by socioeconomic factors, but medical scientists have discovered genetics are also at play. Researchers at IU School of Medicine are studying how treatments can be tailored for people of different ethnicities to fight breast cancer more effectively and with fewer side effects.
Read more in the Breast Cancer Research blog post.
New study kicks off with aim to develop personalized therapies for triple-negative breast cancer patients
IU School of Medicine researcher Bryan P. Schneider, MD, is leading a novel nationwide study to better understand how to treat patients with triple-negative breast cancer based on their own unique genetic data.
PERSEVERE is a phase 2 clinical trial with the goal of studying personalized cancer treatment combinations when compared to standard cancer treatment.
“There is a tremendous need for successful triple-negative breast cancer treatments,” said Schneider, who is the Vera Bradley Professor of Oncology at IU School of Medicine and a physician-scientist at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research. “Recurrence and death rates are still too high, and novel strategies to improve that are markedly needed. We feel PERSEVERE is an innovative trial to try to help meet those needs.”
For more details on the study, visit the Newsroom.
Treatment on mobile stroke units gives patients better outcomes
When patients with acute stroke symptoms are treated on a mobile stroke unit (MSU) and receive anti-clot medication faster, they have less disability at 90 days. Study results, published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, were co-authored by IU School of Medicine researcher Jason Mackey, MD.
The study found that patients treated on an MSU were more likely to receive the anti-clotting drug tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) compared to those treated on an emergency medical services (EMS) ambulance. MSUs treated 97.1 percent of patients with t-PA compared to 79.5 percent of patients in the EMS group. MSUs also administered t-PA faster after onset of stroke at an average of 72 minutes compared to 108 minutes in the EMS group.
“Stroke is a highly time-sensitive condition, so the faster we can treat people, the higher the likelihood that they will do well,” Mackey said. “Treating people faster gives the clot less time to organize and makes it easier to break up.”
Visit the Newsroom for more results from the study.
Recap: Precision Health Initiative webinar focuses on multiple myeloma
The third IU Grand Challenges webinar about the Precision Health Initiative focused on progress in studying and treating multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in blood. Held earlier this month, the webinar featured Rafat Abonour, MD, who leads the IU Precision Health Initiative multiple myeloma disease research team, and Dorothy Frapwell, a multiple myeloma patient and retired Indiana University general counsel.
Part of the multiple myeloma team’s efforts since joining the Grand Challenge include starting the Indiana Myeloma Registry. The registry is currently enrolling 1,000 multiple myeloma patients from across the state to donate biospecimens, like blood and saliva, and complete a questionnaire. Researchers plan to evaluate the patients’ genomic and environmental data to advance clinical trials aimed at developing potential treatments or cures. Abonour said adding the right people to their team has also been an important part of their work.
“The Precision Health Initiative has contributed to several major recruitments that have changed the way people look at Indiana when it comes to multiple myeloma,” said Abonour, who is the Harry and Edith Gladstein Professor of Cancer Research at IU School of Medicine.
Learn more about the progress with this disease and watch the webinar.
Faculty and Staff News
IU open enrollment for 2022 benefits concludes tomorrow
Indiana University’s benefits open enrollment period closes on Friday, October 29. During this annual event, benefit-eligible employees have the opportunity to review and change their benefits for 2022.
More information is available on the IU open enrollment website.
November 24 will be a university holiday
In an email to all Indiana University faculty and staff, IU President Pamela Whitten and executive leadership announced a university holiday this year on Wednesday, November 24.
“IU faculty and staff are doing an amazing job serving our students and each other. We know that this has been extra challenging during a semester where we fully reopened our campuses after the pandemic,” Whitten’s email read. “As a way to say thank you for the extraordinary dedication and commitment of our IU employees during this unique semester, we are expressing our gratitude with an extension of Thanksgiving break.”
IU offices on all campuses will be closed Wednesday, November 24, through Friday, November 26.
DEI resource series: Talking about race at work; watch the webinar
Discussing race at work or in social situations can be challenging. Find out how to open up an effective dialogue and facilitate understanding in the webinar, “Difficult Conversations: Talking About Race at Work.” The presentation is available through LinkedIn Learning, offered to IU faculty, staff and learners free of charge through One.IU (search “LinkedIn”).
Reminder: End Lung Cancer Now launches with November 5 event
A new initiative called End Lung Cancer Now begins with a virtual gathering from 8 am to noon on Friday, November 5. Join the gathering to learn more about how you can be a part of this initiative to end the suffering and death caused by lung cancer in Indiana.
Led by Nasser Hanna, MD, the initiative brings together patients, family members, health care providers and researchers. Collectively, the group is focused on advocacy for lung cancer prevention, screening and research. Learn more and register on the End Lung Cancer Now website.
November 15: Diabetes Research Center hosts event for World Diabetes Day, 100 years of insulin
Join the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases for a World Diabetes Day and 100 Years of Insulin virtual celebration event on Monday, November 15, from noon-1:30 pm. The program will feature a presentation from Ruth E. Gimeno, PhD, vice president of diabetes research and clinical investigation, Eli Lilly and Company, followed by a discussion with Gimeno and Michael Weiss, MD, PhD; Emily Sims, MD; and Linda DiMeglio, MD. The event will be moderated by Carmella Evans-Molina, MD, PhD, and Li Zhang, PhD. For complete details, visit the event page.
Apply by November 1 for the Fogarty global health fellowship
The deadline for the Northern/Pacific Global Health Fogarty Fellows and Scholars program for 2022-2023 is November 1. Indiana University's membership in this research training consortium provides opportunities for IU doctoral and postdoctoral trainees in a variety of health professions to engage in research at international partner sites throughout the world. Postdoctoral trainees from approved sites around the world are also eligible. Learn more and apply.
IUPUI diversity lecture series resumes November 11
Journalist and author Anand Giridharadas will be the featured speaker for IUPUI’s next diversity lecture at 6 pm on Thursday, November 11. Giridharadas is the author of the bestsellers "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World," "The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas," and "India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking." He currently serves as an editor-at-large for Time Magazine and an on-air political analyst for MSNBC. Register for the virtual event.
Deadline to apply for ACS institutional research grants is November 22
The IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is offering funds through the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS-IRG) for new pilot projects to assist new investigators who hold the rank of assistant professor, research assistant professor or assistant scientist, but without an active (i.e., NIH, NSF, ACS) national competitive research grant, regardless of the topic. This grant provides support for beginning investigators to enable them to initiate their independent research program.
Get more program information, including a PDF of the application. With questions or to receive an application in Microsoft Word to complete electronically, contact Crystal Baker. Application deadline November 22.
Sotto receives Academic Internal Medicine Distinguished Service Award
The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) has honored Sylk Sotto, EdD, MBA, MPS, assistant professor of medicine, with the AIM Distinguished Service Award.
AAIM promotes the advancement and professional development of its members, who prepare the next generation of internal medicine physicians and leaders through education, research, engagement and collaboration. Recipients of the 2022 Alliance Awards will be recognized during the Academic Internal Medicine Week to be held April 10-13 in Charlotte, North Carolina.