Strategic Communications

Dean’s Office of Strategic Communications Team

The IU School of Medicine Dean’s Office of Strategic Communications manages internal and external communications, including public and media relations, marketing and branding. The team also oversees and provides training and support for digital platforms, including the website, social channels, email messaging and more.

Karen Spataro joined the Office of Strategic Communications as director in 2018 and has two decades of experience communicating to a wide range of audiences. She began her professional career as a newspaper reporter and editor in Massachusetts and later joined the staff of The Indianapolis Star to cover state and local government. She came to Indiana University School of Medicine in 2007 and held a leadership role in gift development and alumni relations before moving into her current position.

Email Karen Spataro

Lynn serves as administrative assistant to the Office of Strategic Communications for IU School of Medicine. Lynn works part time, assisting the director of strategic communications and supporting the communications team.

Email Lynn Boak


As assistant director of communications, Katie Duffey is responsible for helping lead a team of communicators tasked with executing strategies designed to engage internal and external audiences—telling the stories and sharing the successes of work being done every day at the school. A Hoosier native, Katie returned to Indiana after graduating from Ohio University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. She previously worked as a reporter, page designer and editor in Indiana newsrooms before joining the strategic communications team at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2018.

Email Katie Duffey

Sara Buckallew is a communications coordinator for IU School of Medicine, where she supports the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases and the Wells Center for Pediatric Research. She is a graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and holds a BA in journalism with a concentration in public relations and a certificate in communication studies. Sara happily resides in Fishers, Indiana with her husband and two dogs, Samantha and Fernando.

Email Sara Buckallew

Having joined IU School of Medicine in 2016, Em uses a poetry and theatre background to help bridge the academic world with the creative. A graduate of University of Evansville, he works with faculty and academic staff to formulate unique, marketing ideas that engage the public with innovative research at IU School of Medicine. From writing stories on groundbreaking equipment to orchestrating digital marketing strategies, Em collaborates with experts across the school to help departments thrive in their marketing and communication ambitions.

Email Em Collins

Christina Griffiths is a communications coordinator and media relations coordinator with the Office of Strategic Communications. She develops and implements internal and external strategic communications plans for the the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Urology. She also coordinates media relations efforts for the school, including promoting news about the school to media and scheduling interviews with faculty. Before joining IU School of Medicine, Christina worked as a producer for a local television station in Indianapolis where she won a regional Emmy for Best Weekend Newscast. She also spent time as a producer, reporter and anchor for a local television station in Tallahassee, Florida where she won a Florida Associated Press Award for Best General Assignment Reporting. Christina earned an M.A. in Media and Communication Studies from Florida State University and a B.A. in Journalism from DePaul University.

Email Christina Griffiths

Marco Gutierrez is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he supports the Department of Surgery and the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering. Before joining the Office of Strategic Communications, Marco worked for 12 years as a public affairs specialist with the Army Reserve. He received his bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations from the University of Indianapolis. Marco hopes to apply the work ethic and professionalism achieved during his time in the military to advance the goals of the IU School of Medicine.

Email Marco. 

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she supports the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Ophthalmology. Having earned degrees in journalism and telecommunications from Ball State University, Caitlin worked for newspapers in Indiana and Michigan before joining the Office of Strategic Communications. Her goal is to use creative writing and marketing to effectively share stories about the important work happening within the school.

Email Caitlin. 

Digital Marketing

Jenny Brown is the assistant director of strategic communications for Indiana University School of Medicine. With experience in market research, public relations, SEO-driven web content strategy and marketing communications for both global businesses and public-sector organizations, Jenny leads the development and implementation of the school’s digital strategy. As part of her role, Jenny supports and governs department-level communications as part of the broader schoolwide branding initiatives, leading the work of 100-plus content providers across the School and its partner organizations.

Email Jenny Brown

Chris is responsible for monitoring, reporting and providing direction on how Indiana University School of Medicine can extend its reach and impact through its digital marketing channels. Prior to joining IU School of Medicine in 2015 as a Web Analyst, Chris worked as an SEO Consultant for a local digital marketing agency. In this role he provided consulting services for some of the nation’s top brands and Fortune 500 companies. In 2005, Chris earned an undergraduate degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. Upon graduating, Chris spent the next decade owning and operating a photography and graphic design studio.

Email Chris Cline

Alyssa joined the Office of Strategic Communications in 2019 as the digital content manager. She recently moved back to Indiana after 7 years in Utah​, where she told stories about research, education and clinical care at Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Utah. She also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Utahns Against Hunger. Alyssa holds a BA in public communications from American University. 

Email Alyssa Geisler

Visual Media

Pat Collins holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in visual communications and has been a part of the Office of Visual Media at IU School of Medicine since 1987. In his current role as the manager of visual media, he is responsible for poster design and printing, graphic design, scheduling photography and invoicing. Pat has been married for 28 years and has one son and one daughter. Outside of work, he enjoys travelling, drawing, painting, reading and cycling.

Jennifer joined the Office of Strategic Communications as a multimedia communications specialist in 2018, and has more than five years of experience designing for and marketing to a wide range of audiences. She began her professional career as a graphic designer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and later joined the staff of Salesforce developing and managing interactive training materials for Dreamforce. Jennifer is a storyteller with fearless curiosity. In her current role at IU School of Medicine, she directs design for digital, print, social media UX/UI, email and visual spaces.

Email Jennifer Crothers

As part of the Office of Strategic Communications, Tom applies his medical illustration experience and his postgraduate training in instructional design and technology to help create clear, concise images from complex information in order to communicate health science information and research. Tom manages the IU School of Medicine Image Library which houses images of medical education, clinical expertise, research and facilities. He also manages brand compliance (logos and their applications) for the school to ensure that collateral and promotional products advance the school’s brand appropriately.

Email Tom Weinzerl

Tim is a graduate of Herron School of Art and holds a bachelor degree in fine arts with a major in visual communication. After graduating, he began working for the Indianapolis Center for Advanced Research (ICFAR) – an affiliate of IU, Purdue, City of Indianapolis and the Indy Chamber of Commerce – where he served as as a graphic designer, photographer and illustrator for seven years. He then began his own freelance design business in Indianapolis and spent a decade working with a variety of clients, including Howard S. Wilcox, Sease Gerig & Associates, Ivy Tech, Riley Children’s Foundation, Indianapolis Public Library and Fairbanks Hospital. Tim returned to IU as a graphic designer and photographer in the IU School of Medicine Office of Visual Media. In his current role, he works with faculty and departmental leaders to provide photography for communications and fundraising materials. He also served for three years as an adjunct professor teaching third- and- fourth-year medical students introduction to medical illustration, photography and Adobe Creative Suite.

Additional Communications Contacts

Christine Drury, associate director of research communications and marketing for IU School of Medicine, the IU Precision Health Initiative and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, is focused on conveying the positive impact Indiana University, IU School of Medicine and its partners are having on the health of the state of Indiana through research. Prior to joining IU School of Medicine, Christine (formerly Van Marter) worked as the director of communications worldwide for Lilly Research and Development. Prior to Lilly, Christine worked as a television reporter in Indianapolis market. She is also a rare disease survivor and part of her story is featured in Dr. Atul Gawande’s book, Complications. Christine earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Purdue University.

Email Christine Drury

Nikki Livingston provides marketing and communication support to Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity, and to the Department of Emergency Medicine. She has an extensive background in design, digital media, storytelling and project management. Before coming to IU School of Medicine, Nikki served as a digital marketing specialist through the AmeriCorps – VISTA program, freelanced as a marketing specialist for small businesses, and freely offered her services to various non-profit organizations. Nikki earned her bachelor’s degree in theater arts and drama from Spelman College, an HBCU in Atlanta, GA. Originally from Philadelphia, Nikki is a Hoosier in spirit – enjoying life in near-east Indianapolis with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, designing, helping others and having fun with her family.

Email Nikki Livingston

Michael Schug, an award-winning communicator, is the communications manager at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. In this role, he promotes the important research generated by the nearly 240 research members of the IU Simon Cancer Center – one of only 70 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the nation. He works with reporters as they develop stories for print, broadcast and social media outlets about the center’s research. He also develops content about the center, its programs and its researchers for internal IU communications channels. Schug is a member of the Public Affairs and Marketing Network (PAMN), which is composed of cancer centers designated by the NCI or that are members of the Association of American Cancer Institutes. He served on the PAMN steering committee for six years. He holds a BA in journalism from Franklin College and an MA in public relations from Ball State University.

Email Michael Schug