It’s difficult to give an update on the school without first talking about COVID-19. The impact it has had on our school, our community and our world has been immense. Though we don’t know what lies ahead, the pandemic has already become the biggest challenge that we will face in our careers.
That’s a challenge I’m proud to say we’ve met—from our physicians fighting the virus on the frontlines, to our faculty keeping curriculum and policies for our learners and residents on track, and our support staff adjusting to a host of changes with nimbleness and understanding. While the footprint of COVID-19 on this year will be large, we have much to celebrate—both in our accomplishments before the pandemic hit, and the promising future we have ahead.
In April, 126 members of the Class of 2020 graduated early, eager to join the frontlines of the COVID response. Our scientists have rapidly redirected their research to test new therapies for COVID-19. And as the public demand for more information on COVID-19 has continued to soar, members of local and national media have relied on our experts to represent the scientific and medical communities.
For many of us, this pandemic has meant a shift to working from home. The Health Technology Services team has made that possible, working diligently to ensure we all have the equipment to stay connected at a distance. I am amazed and grateful at how we’ve all pulled together.
While the novel coronavirus has redirected our priorities in recent months, there are many other noteworthy accomplishments of the past year. If you weren’t one of the over 900 people who were able to join us at the All-School Meeting, I hope you will take time to watch a recording of the meeting to learn more about:
- Our three new institutes focused on cardiovascular diseases, neuroscience and cancer
- Record NIH funding growth with a single-year increase of $40 million to a total of $189 million (ranking our school 28th in the country and 14th among public medical schools)
- Four large research projects focused on Alzheimer’s disease, an area in which IU School of Medicine is a national leader
- U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome M. Adams—a graduate of IU School of Medicine and former faculty member—who will address our students during a virtual commencement ceremony on May 15
And, during these trying times, we must also say goodbye to a dear colleague and friend. Dr. Anantha Shekhar blazed a path forward in the arena of research at IU School of Medicine—setting a high bar for achievement for all who follow in his footsteps. Though I wish it could have been in person, during the meeting Dr. Shekhar was honored with a new MSTP endowment in his name, and was also presented with the President’s Medal by Michael A. McRobbie.
Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA
Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs
Dean of the School of Medicine