Dean Hess shares perspectives on IU School of Medicine’s future

August 23, 2018

Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, is finishing his fifth year as dean of Indiana University School of Medicine. In a Q&A, he shares his thoughts about where the school is headed, student wellness and what he wishes people knew about IU School of Medicine.

You’re now concluding your fifth year as dean. Looking ahead, where is the school headed?

We have a great deal of important work to do to improve health in Indiana in areas like infant mortality, smoking reduction, mental health and the problem of opioid addiction. We have articulated very specific goals for health in this state. As part of our strategic plan we are developing not just the metrics, but strategies for how we are going to engage with partners in communities. It’s going to involve not just clinical work, but education and research.

In terms of our research programs, we are going to continue our focus on being national leaders in select areas where we have the expertise to improve outcomes for some of the most challenging diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease. I see us continuing to be at the forefront of neurodegenerative diseases. We will continue to grow our research in cancer and translation of discoveries in cancer, particularly in the areas of genomic medicine and immunotherapy.

In education, we have some exciting opportunities to take full advantage of our regional campus structure. One of the ideas that is emerging from our strategic plan is that each campus will identify an area of excellence and fully develop that. For example, perhaps it will be engineering on the West Lafayette campus, rural medicine in Terre Haute, and an expansion of laboratory research at the Bloomington campus.

We are increasingly looking at education and asking: How do we define student success and how do we maximize it? One example of the types of changes we’re thinking about is tailoring medical school more depending on what area a student is pursuing. We could potentially have more credentials and an honors project that would involve students deeply exploring an area, working with faculty and learning from them in new ways.

For more insights from Dean Hess, read the full Strategic Voices Q&A.