About

In almost every way, this has been an exceptional year for the Department of Medicine.

Our educational activities were highlighted by the Division of Hematology/Oncology receiving the highest rating by sophomore students in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course: kudos to Drs. Rakesh Mehta and Nasser Hanna. We had a great resident recruiting year, with 13 Indiana University (IU) students, 7 international students, and 17 students from other US medical schools matching in categorical medicine and 16 in the Med-Peds program. We hosted the 15th annual teaching retreat for the PGY2 residents: the longest running such program in the country. The Educational Innovations Project (EIP) has vitalized the program and resulted in numerous presentations at the Association of Program Directors in Medicine (APDIM) meeting relating our projects on Patient Safety (in the hospital environment), Patient Quality (outpatient care), and Leading Change (development of the leadership potential of the housestaff). Dr. Lyle Fettig was named the first Richard and Phyllis Dexter Scholar in medical education for his project in palliative care education. We recognized the following residents for their outstanding research projects: 1st place: Jen Shaffer (and her mentor, Dr. Irina Petrache), 2nd place: David Gulley (and his mentor, Dr. Suthat Liangpunsakul), and Honorable Mention to: Elizabeth Grethen (mentored by Dr. Munro Peacock) and Jeremy Grogg (mentored by Dr. Robert Bacallao). In the fellows competition, we awarded 1st place to Dr. Tim Lahm (in pulmonary, mentored by Dr. Dan Meldrum of the Department of Surgery), 2nd place to Dr. Liang Tang (in cardiology, mentored by Dr. Peng-Sheng Chen), with Honorable Mention to Dr. Pooneh Alborizi (mentored by Dr. Rajiv Agarwal), and Dr. Perry Nystrom (mentored by Zeruesenay Desta in Clinical Pharmacology).

Our research programs experienced a spectacular year.

  • First, total research funding to the Department reached nearly $100 million for the first time in our history, a remarkable 30% increase over the prior year. We recognize that a part of this increase was due to awards and contracts that had been delayed from the prior year; however, the increase was shared by all the divisions, and the rate of increased awards continued across the entire year.
  • Second, the School was awarded a Clinical Translational Sciences Award to fund our Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). Huge thanks to Dr. Anantha Shekhar in the Department of Psychiatry for spearheading this application process, and to Drs. David Flockhart (Disease and Therapeutic Response Modeling), David Marrero and Ron Ackermann (Community Health Engagement Project), Rose Fife (Regulatory Knowledge), Tom Inui (Associate Director of the CTSI), Marc Overhage (Biomedical Informatics), Stephen Williams (member of the Executive Committee), Eric Meslin (Bioethics), Kurt Kroenke (Training), Siu Hui (Biostatistics), and Bill Tierney (Global Health Initiatives) for their roles in developing sub-components of the Institute. This award places the School in the upper echelon of US medical schools in terms of the capacity to carry out meaningful clinical and translational research.
  • Third, this was a banner year for the IU Simon Cancer Center, led by Dr. Steve Williams. The Center was created in 1992 with Dr. Williams at the helm, and was recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as one of the elite cancer research institutions in the country in 1999, a designation that was renewed in 2004. This year, 16 years after its inception, we celebrate the center's re-designation by the NCI. The center's growth is remarkable. In 1994, extramural research funding totaled $16 million; today it is over $75 million. Dr. Williams has more than doubled the number of scientists affiliated with the cancer center. More than 220 investigators now focus on the scientific discovery and translation of basic, clinical, and population science into new prevention, diagnostic, and treatment modalities. Our heartiest congratulations to the members of the IU Simon Cancer Center, representing a dozen departments in the School of Medicine for this remarkable growth.

The clinical activities of the Department were highlighted by Methodist Hospital being named the top hospital in terms of patient safety, and Indiana University Hospital the most improved in patient safety in the ranking provided by the University HealthSystem Consortium. Clarian was ranked 40th among the countries' hospital systems, and 7 of the 11 specialties recognized by the latest US News and World Report ranking were medical specialties. We have reorganized the patient care processes in the Medical Diagnostic Center and anticipate a substantial growth in patient volumes this year.

Our future lies with our young faculty: this year we recognized Dr. Malaz Boustani as outstanding young investigator, Dr. Gabi Chiorean as outstanding young clinician, and Drs. Irmina Gradus-Pizlo and Rakesh Mehta as outstanding teachers. Dr. Karen Wolf was celebrated by the graduating house staff as the outstanding educator. A large number of young faculty are now supported by career development grants: Drs. Suthat Liangpunsakul and Diane Janowicz (K08 awards); Erin Krebs, David Haggstrom, Chadi Hage, Matt Bair, and Attaya Suvannasankha (VA career development awards); Allon Friedman, Erik Imel, and Mike Weiner (K23 awards); Lexy Torke and Cathy Schubert (Geriatrics Academic Career Awards); Deepak Nihalani and Neal Chen (K01 awards); Bryan Schneider, Paul Helft, and Daniela Matei (ASCO career development awards); and Julia LeBlanc (America College of Gastroenterology career development award). Drs. Brian Decker and Amy Kressel participate in the K30 program (now part of the CTSI) and Erik Imel and Jon Scherschel were awarded support by the K12 mechanism of the CTSI. Their success emphasizes the superb environment at Indiana for translational and interdisciplinary research.

Many thanks are due to faculty making transitions. Dr. George Sarosi left the university and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) to return to Minneapolis. His impact on the educational mission and his leadership through complex times at the VAMC will always be remembered. Dr. Mike Lykens stepped down from his position as the Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs after 10 years of splendid service. He facilitated the introduction of the clinical compensation plan, the redesign of the Medical Diagnostic Center, and the nearly three-fold increase in clinical revenues during this period, making an enormous contribution to our ability to care for patients with complex diseases and to support each of our missions. Dr. Robert Jones retired after serving us in many distinguished capacities: as the second chief of the division of Infectious Diseases and the first PI of the Midwest Center for Sexually Transmitted Diseases, as the Director of Wishard Memorial Hospital, and as Executive Associate Dean for Strategic Planning, Analysis and Operations. Dr. James Edmondson retired after a career that included serving as one of Dr. Walter Daly's chief residents, director of the Medical Diagnostic Center, and one of our best teachers of clinical endocrinology.

Philanthropy, and community engagement, needs to be seen as the 4th mission of the faculty in a university with aspirations as high as ours. It is timely to recognize the joint efforts of Mr. Jerry Throgmartin, Chair of the IU Simon Cancer Center Development Board, and Dr. Steve Williams for their spectacular job raising funds for cancer research. Total research gifts amounted to $85,000 in 1994, and the Cancer Center had no endowment. In fiscal 2006-07, research gifts exceeded $6 million, and the center's endowment reached $30 million with an additional $30 million pledged.

Dr. Rafat Abonour passed an impressive milestone raising money for myeloma research. He has used his own physical prowess as a runner and biker to create the "Miles for Myeloma" charity, and this fall he passed the cumulative $1 million mark. Thus far, he has raised $670,500 in the previous events. All of the funds are used by researchers at the IU Simon Cancer Center.

During fiscal year 2007-08, several mentor campaigns were begun with the leadership of current faculty members. Dr. Jackie O'Donnell serves as chair of the campaign to endow a fellowship in cardiology in honor of the late Dr. John Phillips and his wife Rosemary. Dr. Steven Sawada is the chair of the campaign to honor Dr. Harvey Feigenbaum with an endowed fellowship in cardiology. Dr. Bradley Allen serves as chair of the campaign to honor Dr. George A. Sarosi with a named lectureship in his honor. These three campaigns have raised over $350,000 to date and continue to actively raise funds towards their goals. We are grateful for the increased support of the Scottish Rite for osteoporosis research and of the R.B. Annis Foundation for diabetes research (stewarded by Drs. Michael Econs and Carmella Evans-Molina), and the decades long commitment of the Cryptic Masons to vascular biology research (stewarded by Dr. Keith March). Thanks to all for the hard work needed to make these contributions a reality.

As always, it is essential to recognize the hard work of the professional staff, the research administrators, the staff of University Medical Diagnostic Associates (UMDA), and of our education unit, as well as our many collaborators in our partner hospitals and Eldoret, Kenya for the support they gave to make possible the many successes we celebrate this year.


David W. Crabb, M.D.
Chairman, IU Department of Medicine