IU receives grant aimed at enhancing care for underserved

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Medicine researchers were recently awarded a $5.1 million supplemental grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the Primary Care Reaffirmation for Indiana Medical Education (PRIME) program.

The new award for the program will add to the previous four-year, $7 million grant received by the school in 2020. The funding will be used to enhance the classroom and clinical learning experiences—using face-to-face as well as the growing platform of telemedicine to build trusting relationships between trainees and their patients.

“This award will allow the school to increase the program’s focus on expanding primary care training and experiences, including telemedicine and point-of-care ultrasound,” said Bradley Allen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for medical education and a principal investigator of the program. “It will also help us to enhance our curricular coverage of care for the underserved, increase attention to the impact of systemic racism on health care in Indiana and develop competency skills in health equity, diversity and inclusion.”

“Access to the latest technology is an equity issue, as students who lack access to the latest technology or teaching platforms can fall behind their peers,” said Paul Wallach, MD, executive associate dean for educational affairs and institutional improvement and another principal investigator of the program. “Students will learn how to utilize the latest technology that will connect them with patients in clinical care.”

Telemedicine equipment will also be purchased and used at all nine IU School of Medicine campuses. The purchase of the equipment will be spearheaded by PRIME telemedicine director and associate professor of clinical medicine Lindsey Reese, MD.

“We will be bringing in over 200 telemedicine kits for our students,” Reese said. “By practicing with this technology, our students will be able to learn best practices for interacting and working with patients remotely, allowing them to become effective future practitioners.”

As part of PRIME, first-year students beginning in the fall of 2021 were given an opportunity to work with faculty and staff who have been trained through the Academy of Communication in Healthcare to learn active listening practices. Faculty and students will take the skills learned in this program, called Accelerating Inclusivity in Medicine, and apply it to their educational environment and clinical practice.

The school will also be working with the Regenstrief Institute to utilize all capabilities of their teaching electronic medical record (tEMR) system. The tEMR system uses real, de-identified, patient cases that students can work through to learn about clinical care and managing medical records.

In addition, supplemental funds will be utilized to partner with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) to develop learning modules on community research and patient care. The CTSI will work with medical students and the IU Bloomington Prevention Insights Team to review current course curriculum for additional needs. Through this review, course modules will be created to fill identified gaps in community engagement and delivery of high-quality care to all Hoosiers. This partnership will allow both PRIME and the CTSI to create content that is utilized for many years by IU medical students.

“Physicians who are able to listen to their patients’ wants and needs are more likely to have a better working relationship and to be better providers. This investment will not only benefit IU School of Medicine, but all Indiana communities where these future and current physicians practice,” Allen said. “The supplemental funding will be utilized through the 2021-22 academic year, but the additional programming, technology and benefits from this support will benefit the school and our students for years to come.”

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