Indiana University School of Medicine is emerging triumphant after weathering the pandemic storm. This was the theme of the All-School Meeting, which highlighted major accomplishments of the 2020-21 academic year and was virtually attended by hundreds of faculty, staff and learners on May 4, 2021.
Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, was joined by IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who gave his final State of the University address to the IU community earlier in the day. IU’s new “captain” Pamela Whitten, PhD, MA, will take the helm on July 1.
Missed the All-School Meeting? You can view a recording or take a few minutes to read some highlights below.
Dean Hess opened his remarks by thanking the School community for pulling together to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the work of IU’s Restart Committee and the School of Medicine’s Medical Response Team, clinical faculty working on the frontlines—as well as medical students who graduated early to help—faculty members who redesigned curriculum for online education, and researchers who kept their labs moving forward, many pivoting their work to study COVID-19.
IU and the School of Medicine managed to keep the community safe, keep moving forward and keep people employed with no salary reductions or furloughs—something many other universities were not able to do.
“That was quite a storm we’ve been through. It’s taken all hands on deck for more than a year to navigate this,” Hess said. “Today is a good time to get our bearings, see where we are and what needs fixing, and decide where we go from here.”
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
IU School of Medicine continues to make progress through the work of its diversity task forces to ensure the School is a place where everyone is welcomed, included and encouraged. The Honor Code is currently being updated to more clearly link the School’s values—excellence, respect, diversity, cooperation and integrity—to the code of conduct for all members of the community (learners, faculty and staff).
Other diversity highlights include:
- The Data and Climate Task Force has created and published a DEI dashboard to transparently show key data for the School, including representational diversity and indicators of the inclusiveness of the climate for students, trainees, faculty and staff.
- In October, IU School of Medicine virtually hosted the Student National Medical Association’s regional medical education conference, offering an opportunity to hear from thought leaders in the area of institutional diversity.
- In March, the School hosted the LGBTQ Health Care Conference, attracting nearly 1,000 virtual attendees, including health care professionals, learners, researchers and patients.
Research momentum continued in spite of the pandemic. For the fifth straight year, IU School of Medicine set a new record for research funding with over $213 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That funding has an important economic impact, supporting nearly 4,000 high-paying jobs in Indiana, and most importantly, undergirds discoveries that improve people’s lives.
“I’m quite proud of our departments that rank nationally in NIH funding year after year—currently we have two departments in the top 10, and 10 in the top 25,” Hess said. “These dollars help create a vibrant research and development ecosystem here in Indiana that improves our ability to attract and retain top talent both at IU and across the state.”
Tatiana Foroud, PhD, executive associate dean for research affairs, highlighted four papers among the multitude of groundbreaking research conducted at IU School of Medicine over the last year.
- Kidney disease--precision medicine: “Molecular characterization of the human kidney interstitium in health and disease” published in “Sciences Advances”
- Graft-versus-host disease prevention: “Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibition for prophylaxis of acute graft-versus-host disease” published in “The New England Journal of Medicine”
- Mood disorders--precision medicine: “Precision medicine for mood disorders: objective assessment, risk prediction, pharmacogenomics, and repurposed drugs” published in “Molecular Psychiatry”
- Neurofibromatosis treatment in adults: “Cabozantinib for neurofibromatosis type 1-related plexiform neurofibromas: a phase 2 trial” published in “Nature Medicine”
A number of new leaders were recruited in 2020 to fill important roles at IU School of Medicine.
Institute Leaders (jointly recruited with IU Health):
- Kelvin Lee, MD, Cancer Institute director
- Subha Raman, MD, MSEE, Cardiovascular Institute director
- Laurie Gutmann, MD, Bruce Lamb, PhD, and Shelly Timmons, MD, PhD, co-directors for the Neuroscience Institute
Department Chairs and Regional Campus Deans:
- David Adams, MD – chair, Anesthesia
- Katherine Hiller, MD, MPH – associate dean, Bloomington
- Peter Pang, MD, MS – chair, Emergency Medicine
- Alex Robling, PhD – chair, Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology
- Matthew Tews, DO, MS – associate dean, West Lafayette
Hess also expressed his gratitude for the strong leadership and dedication of several departing leaders – Elliot Androphy, MD, Gary Dunnington, MD, John Eble, MD, Regina Kreisle, MD, PhD, and Tom McAllister, MD – some of whom delayed their retirement plans in order to lead their departments and campuses during the pandemic.
Research and Education Building
Plans for a new research and education building are rapidly progressing. It will be located south of Goodman Hall and the Stark Neuroscience Research and will include a three-story education center and a 100,000-square-foot research tower. Groundbreaking is expected in mid-2022.
The new building will create collaborative pods for learning communities on the Indianapolis campus. It will also support new modalities of teaching, and training in new technologies like telemedicine and point-of-care ultrasound.
“Above all, this new building will create a gathering space for the School and a much-needed new front door for recruiting learners and faculty,” Hess said.
During his comments, McRobbie noted his excitement for the opportunities presented by the new facility, part of an Academic Health Center including IU Health’s new 2.4-million-square-foot medical center. There’s also a new Academic Health Center on the Bloomington campus which will be completed later this year.
“It’s an extremely exciting time for the university and the health sciences in Indiana,” McRobbie said.
Hess thanked the hundreds of medical students who have volunteered to administer COVID-19 vaccines and the faculty who set up a system to train them. And McRobbie commended the entire School of Medicine community: “all of you who have contributed so much to the successful vaccination program in the state of Indiana.”
Hess said he anticipates holding the next all-school meeting in person and having a fall semester that looks “close to normal” if everyone who is able gets vaccinated.
“If you haven’t already, we encourage you to be vaccinated. Encourage your friends and loved ones to be vaccinated. Our quality of life and other people's lives depends on it,” Hess said.