November 1999


            For 30 years, the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care, based at the Indiana University Medical Center, has quietly invested in research that monitors the turbulent waters of changing health care practices and places on solid footing those that have proved their seaworthiness.  Its work is attracting increasing national attention and could well have far-reaching implications for the future. 

            Specifically, the mission of the Regenstrief Institute is to “improve the capture, analysis, content and delivery of information needed by patients, health care providers, and policy makers.”  But this belies its real impact.

            Currently, each health plan, hospital, and doctor's office may record information in different ways, making it hard to use computers to spot trends.  However, as USA Today reported last month, Distinguished Professor of Medicine Clement McDonald, M.D., director and senior research scientist for the Regenstrief Institute, and his colleagues, are intent on proving that “there are better ways to do that with today's technology.”

            Developers of the Regenstrief Medical Records System (RMRS) have created a program to better manage information health care providers need to treat patients, compare effectiveness of medical procedures, monitor test results, and make better decisions about future treatment -- in short, learning through measurement (rather than speculation) what offers the highest quality of care. 

            Currently the RMRS is used at more than 40 inpatient and outpatient facilities in central Indiana, including Wishard Hospital.  Its development is a key forerunner in establishing the new field of health informatics at IUPUI.

            The institute, with an endowment of $80 million, was named for Sam Regenstrief, who grew up in Indianapolis and manufactured low-cost home dishwashers. While not highly educated, he built an industrial empire, at one time manufacturing 40 percent of the world’s dishwashers here in Indiana. The distinguished local lawyer and community leader Leonard J. Betley, President of the Regenstrief Foundation, manages the endowment.

            In addition to its emphases on informatics and biostatistics, the Regenstrief Institute also houses the Diabetes Research and Training Center and the IU Center for Aging Research.

            The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI on October 23 examined some of today's hottest global issues at an event devoted to “Urban Campus: World View.”   The third annual Dean's Day attracted community members as well as students, alumni, and faculty from liberal arts and other disciplines.

            Discussions focused on such topics as the Euro, the international marketplace, social unrest around the world, and cross-cultural communication — and how Indiana plays a role in each of these issues.

            The keynote speaker was Scott T. Massey, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Humanities Council. The luncheon featured a presentation by Dennert Ware, CEO of Roche Diagnostics, titled "Central Indiana in the Global Age."


            Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon spoke on October 26 at the official opening of Indiana University’s hub for the high‑speed, high‑capacity Internet2 backbone network known as “Abilene.”

            The Abilene Network Operations Center (NOC), which links 70 universities including IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, and other top research institutions around the nation, is based in the University Library at IUPUI.  The state has invested $9.9 million in the project. The governor noted, “Having the heart of Internet2 in the center of Indiana is one of the factors that can make this state a hotbed for high‑tech businesses and jobs”.

            “First the railroads, then the interstate highway system, made Indiana the crossroads of the nation.  Now,” the governor pointed out, “Indiana is becoming the crossroads of cyberspace.”   To build on this potential, Governor O’Bannon also announced at the event that state grants totaling $700,000 will more than double the number of Indiana high schools offering the Cisco Academy program, which trains students to design, build, and maintain computer networks.

            “This talent pool of qualified technology professionals will be one more reason for high‑tech companies to come to Indiana or remain in Indiana,” he said.



            Meanwhile, the Purdue University School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI has created a new computer engineering degree program.  It will train people who will create or redesign digitally controlled technologies, thus meeting the growing market need for microprocessors and so-called “embedded” computer devices that control such everyday commercial and industrial devices as anti-lock brakes and cell phones. 

            The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that computer engineering will become the second-largest discipline of new engineering programs by 2006, exceeded only by electrical engineering.


            Faculty from the number one ranked University of Michigan School of Social Work visited IUPUI last month to see how our IU School of Social Work conducts field instruction and places students in quality learning experiences through internships and other forms of practice-based education.

            National trends affecting human services organizations, such as managed health care and welfare reform, have forced social work educators to be creative in developing and maintaining such experiences for students.  Some 200 IUPUI social work students require placements in field experiences during a typical semester. 

            The Michigan visitors toured field instruction sites reflecting the school/community collaborations that have been built, including the Marion County prosecutor’s Family Advocacy Center and the Damien Center.


            Three student journalists on the IUPUI Sagamore staff were honored recently in Atlanta at the national convention of College Media Advisers and the Associated Collegiate Press.

            Winning first-place honors in the news category of the Story of the Year competition sponsored by the Los Angeles Times and ACP were J. M. Brown, editor-in-chief, Bobby Bell, campus editor, and Jill Hundley, opinion page editor.

            The Sagamore editors were honored for a series of articles on the Indiana State Farm at Putnamville and the allegations of racial tensions within the prison walls.  They also won second place in the diversity/multiculturalism category of the same competition. 

            Both J. M. Brown and Bobby Bell have served internships with the Indianapolis Star.

            IUPUI has long valued being in touch with our community.  Symbolic of this are not only the internships, field experiences, and other connections touched on in this month’s letter but also the community involvement we invite in establishing various advisory boards, both at the school and campus level, to help us make the right decisions for IUPUI and our stakeholders. 

            This fall, new members have been invited to serve on the IUPUI Board of Advisors. We welcome Alpha Blackburn, Blackburn Architects, Inc.; V. William Hunt, Chairman, President, and CEO of Arvin Industries, Inc.; Ben Ramsey, Executive Director of Indiana Building Trades; and Lisa A. Stone, Partner, Ice Miller Donadio & Ryan.

            Along with the rest of the Indianapolis community, we regret having to say farewell to Ken Gladish, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Foundation, who has served on our Board of Advisors since 1996. He will move on to head the national YMCA.

            We also have recently invited two members of our community, and members of our Board of Advisors – Sam H. Jones, President & CEO Indianapolis Urban League, and William Shrewsberry, Jr., Executive Director of the Indiana White River State Park Development Commission – to serve on IUPUI’s new Diversity Cabinet, which I will chair.

            A very important goal for the campus is to achieve an ethnic, racial, and gender balance in parallel with our community -- not simply to make a political statement, but to create an educational environment of diversity that will best prepare people for the future and a high quality of life.  While making it clear that achieving diversity is the responsibility of everyone on campus, we want the Diversity Cabinet to call attention to issues and help focus our efforts.

            Each year, I will give a report to the community on the State of Diversity at IUPUI.  The first will be delivered at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., dinner, January 17, 2000.


            We were immensely saddened by the death of Thomas H. Lake, who chaired the Lilly Endowment from 1977 to 1992.  In addition to his helping make possible many wonderful community amenities downtown and near campus, IUPUI also benefited from Tom’s interest in student scholarships and in the IU Center on Philanthropy.  On a personal level, many of us have long been inspired by Tom’s devotion to the community and, particularly, the United Way of Central Indiana.  We will all miss him.


Gerald L. Bepko, Chancellor


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