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.
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.
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.
Emily McKnight is the content marketing manager for IU School of Medicine. She is responsible for the development of content and leading strategic placement on owned and earned media channels to support marketing and communications objectives for the school. Previously, Emily held the position of marketing and communications coordinator for the Departments of Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and Ophthalmology in support of the Office of Strategic Communications. Prior to coming to IU School of Medicine, Emily worked as a digital communications coordinator in the public affairs and communications department at a local area hospital. She also previously worked as a newscast producer and digital content producer in Cincinnati. She is a 2011 graduate of Northern Kentucky University and holds a BA in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing.
Program Specific Communications
The following individuals oversee communications for specific IU School of Medicnie departments, campuses and programs.
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.
Em Collins, Communications Coordinator, serves as the communications liasion between the Dean’s Office of Strategic Communications and the departments of Neurology, Psychiatry and Radiology and Imaging Sciences.
Christina Griffiths, Communications Coordinator, is a communications coordinator with the Office of Strategic Communications, working as a liaison for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Urology. She develops and implements strategic communications plans and projects for internal and external audiences. 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. In her spare time, she enjoys being a dog mom to her West Highland White Terrier named Ella, playing sports like tennis and golf and doing DIY projects like painting furniture.
Elise Lima, Communications Coordinator, supports external and internal communication projects for Departments of Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery and Surgery. Elise specializes in marketing writing and using data to inform her creative work. Before joining the IU School of Medicine, she served as a communications specialist for undergraduate student recruitment at Indiana State University. The Terre Haute, Indiana, native earned her bachelor of science in communication and conservation science from Indiana State University as well. Outside of work, she enjoys fitness, ballroom dancing and volunteering.
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
Whitney Walker, Communications Coordinator, supports the Office of Strategic Communications by overseeing internal communications for faculty, staff and medical student education. Whitney’s work experiences blend her expertise in science, medicine and multimedia communications. Prior to joining IU School of Medicine, Whitney worked as a marketing and communications coordinator for IUPUI School of Science. She also has worked as a medical research scientist and is a freelance photographer. Whitney earned a BS in Science, Technology and Society with minors in Biology and Medical Humanities from IUPUI.
Andrea Zeek, Research Communications Manager for the Indiana CTSI, promotes research and scientific discovery at IU School of Medicine by working with faculty to communicate their work to internal and external audiences, including media and the public. She also leads communications efforts for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) and the IU Precision Health Initiative. Prior to joining IU School of Medicine, Andrea worked as a science writer at the University of Iowa and in various communications roles at IU Bloomington and IUPUI. Before transitioning to higher education, she was a newspaper reporter covering education, features and breaking news in Indiana. Andrea earned a master’s degree in journalism with a concentration in science and health communication from IU Bloomington and a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from Ball State University.
The Visual Media team, part of the IU School of Medicine Dean’s Office of Communications, offers creative services in project planning, graphic design, medical illustration, photography, presentations, poster layout and printing.
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.
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.
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.