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IU School of Medicine announces leadership team for PRIME grant targeting underserved populations

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Thanks to a $7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), IU School of Medicine is working to improve preparation of IU medical school graduates in primary care skills and delivery to underserved populations. A related goal of the grant—Primary Care Reaffirmation for Indiana Medical Education (PRIME)—is to help medical school graduates gain understanding, direct immersion and expertise in the impact of health care disparities related to systemic racism. Co-principal investigators for the PRIME HRSA grant, Bradley Allen, MD, PhD, and Paul Wallach, MD, worked last fall to select a group of talented leaders with the optimal expertise to take on these important projects. 

PRIME’s goals will be accomplished through the creation of three new curricular threads and one new competency.


Curricular threads

Principles of Primary Care (with a focus on telemedicine and point-of-care ultrasound, POCUS) 

  • Maria Robles, MDDirector, Principles of Primary Care Thread. An assistant professor of clinical medicine, Robles has been a longtime primary care provider and manages a busy underserved clinic with Eskenazi Health. She recognized an area of need and started a program to expand primary care delivery of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance use disorder and created an addictions rotation for internal medicine residents. She has been a longtime instructor of students as a clinic preceptor and as an advisor and mentor in clerkships. Robles has experience in the Peace Corps and international medical care delivery. Her teaching has been recognized through multiple IU Trustees’ Teaching Awards, and she was selected as a Gold Humanism award winner as an IU School of Medicine student and later as a faculty member.  
  • Lindsey Reese, MDTelemedicine Director. Reese, associate professor of clinical medicine and infectious diseases, has a wealth of experience integrating telemedicine over multiple platforms at the VA and Indiana University Health to support primary and specialty care delivery to underserved areas. She is an active clinician in both systems. Reese is an IU School of Medicine graduate and trained at Mount Sinai. She previously served as chief of the medicine service at the Roudebush VAMC and is an expert in system improvement projects.
  • James Wilcox, MDPOCUS Director. An assistant professor of clinical family medicine, Wilcox has experience in the use of POCUS in the primary care setting in underserved rural and urban areas. He created a POCUS training program for the family medicine residency program during his time in the Ball Family Medicine program in Muncie after graduating from IU School of Medicine. During his sports medicine fellowship, he perfected his skills in POCUS for the musculoskeletal exam. He has direct POCUS education experience in working with clinical colleagues and clerkship students. Wilcox is also active as a Foundations of Clinical Practice instructor.

Care for the Medically Underserved and Vulnerable Communities

  • Juan Carlos Venis, MDDirector, Care for the Medically Underserved and Vulnerable Communities Thread. Venis, assistant professor of clinical family medicine, is an IU School of Medicine graduate who also obtained a master’s in public health at Harvard. After training at the Family Medicine Residency at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, he joined the IU School of Medicine faculty and works with an Eskenazi Health clinic in the underserved area of Haughville and in the Transgender Care Clinic. He serves with the IU Health Methodist Family Medicine Residency Program and helped create and direct the LGBTQ+ Health Track program. Venis has been recognized with several community engagement and advocacy awards. He has extensive teaching experience with students in Foundations of Clinical Practice, the Transitions 1 & 2 courses, the FM clerkship, mentoring and as part of the Underrepresented in Medicine Student Success Program.

Health Equity and Care of the Underserved: Education on the Impact of Systemic Racism and Caring for Indiana’s Black Communities

  • Maryann Chimhanda, MD, MSDirector, Health Equity and Care of the Underserved: Education on the Impact of Systemic Racism and Caring for Indiana’s Black Communities Thread. Chimhanda, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics & gynecology, is a graduate of the IU School of Medicine Master of Science, Medical Science (MSMS) program and then completed her medical degree at IU School of Medicine. Following her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Loyola, she practiced and was a health care leader in Kokomo for delivery of ob/gyn and women’s health services to the underserved. Chimhanda has extensive experience in quality improvement in health care.


Seventh IU School of Medicine competency

Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

  • Allyson Thomas, MDDirector, Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Competency. Thomas, assistant professor of clinical medicine, is associate program director for the IU Medicine Residency. An IU School of Medicine graduate, Thomas completed residency in internal medicine at IU School of Medicine before joining the faculty. Taking on increasing leadership roles over time, she serves as the director of the Pre-Operative Pre-Admission Testing Clinic at IU Health Methodist Hospital and serves as a hospitalist there. She is a co-leader of the wellness curriculum for the medicine residency.

The current PRIME objectives and project plan were developed, submitted and approved by HRSA to use additional grant funds to support the focus and attention on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) curriculum and competency development in addressing health care disparities and specifically on systemic racism. 

  • Liza Sumpter, PRIME program manager
  • Emily Laughlin, PRIME program coordinator
  • Katherine Chartier, PhD, PRIME instructional design consultant 

The project leaders and PRIME team have been charged with initiating curriculum development and enhancement based on the prioritized needs of the current IU School of Medicine curriculum and Indiana communities.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

IU School of Medicine

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