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Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2009

Eli Lilly and Company Foundation gives $1 million to establish a school of public health at IUPUI

Dec. 10, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University today (Dec. 10) announced that it has received a $1 million gift from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation to support efforts to plan and begin to establish an accredited school of public health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

In response to the public health needs in Indiana, IUPUI is building a new school of public health by bringing together faculty from the School of Medicine, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and other schools.

One of the IUPUI's goals in developing a school of public health is to support other health programs at IUPUI -- particularly supporting the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in achieving its goal of being a comprehensive cancer center -- as well as the Clinical Translational Sciences Institute, the M.D./M.P.H. combined degree program and programs that support IUPUI's growing expertise in diabetes prevention and control.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie said today's announced gift complements a $7.5 million gift that the Lilly Foundation made in 2006 to the IU Simon Cancer Center.

"We greatly appreciate the Lilly Foundation's continuing support of our efforts to expand health education, research and intervention that will benefit all Hoosiers," McRobbie said. "This partnership is helping us to expand the level of externally funded research that will be the foundation of accredited public health programs at IUPUI and at Bloomington."

"The Lilly Foundation is pleased to help create a deeper set of capabilities in public health on the IUPUI campus, particularly in light of the health challenges our community faces," said Robert L. Smith, president of the Lilly Foundation. "Our recent contributions to IUPUI have been strategically linked and made with the mindset of a long-term investor. We believe that our donations -- combined with the generosity of other funders and the dedicated people at IUPUI -- will play a role in catalyzing sustained improvements in health and economic outcomes in our community."

A formal plan for the new school at IUPUI will be submitted to the IU Board of Trustees. To meet accreditation requirements, the school of public health on the IUPUI campus will be launched following the scheduled accreditation review for the Master of Public Health program. In addition to the new school at IUPUI, a similar effort is underway at IU Bloomington, where its School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation is being converted into a school of public health.

IUPUI Chancellor Charles A. Bantz said today's announcement is another indication of the momentum for the new school.

"The generosity of the Lilly Foundation provides essential start-up funding to recruit additional faculty and support students," Bantz said. "These faculty and students will help launch our school and work to reduce Indiana's mortality rates for infants, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer."

"Faculty and students across the IUPUI campus are thrilled by the approval to develop a school of public health on our campus," added G. Marie Swanson, IUPUI associate vice chancellor for public health and professor and chair of the Department of Public Health. "Such a school fits the needs of students and alumni, as well as being a catalyst for research collaborations across the campus. The gift from Lilly Foundation reflects community partnerships that will grow with the establishment of our school of public health. This new school will also serve as a leader in our efforts to improve the health of all Hoosiers and to reduce health disparities across populations in the state."

Indiana's high rates of morbidity, premature mortality and health disparity will be the targets of faculty activity in the developing school of public health, with the goal of rate reduction through research and community-based educational programs.

D. Craig Brater, M.D., Walter J. Daly Professor and dean of the IU School of Medicine, stressed the importance of establishing a school of public health at IUPUI to further the mission of the school of medicine and its clinical and translational research, as well as the programs at the IU Simon Cancer Center, Regenstrief Institute and other investigators who need the skills of public health researchers.

"The support we are receiving today from the Lilly Foundation will enhance the research and academic scope at the medical school and improve the overall health of Hoosiers through research and collaboration," Brater said.