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Last modified: Monday, September 27, 2010

Lilly Endowment awards Indiana University $4 million for new health information center

Sep. 27, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie announced today that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the university $4 million to help address ethical, legal and social issues involved in the growing use of health information to facilitate treatment and research, improve health outcomes for patients and heighten accountability.

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

The gift will support the creation of the Center for Law, Ethics and Applied Research in Health Information (CLEAR Health Information), which will leverage the resources of the university and the State of Indiana in health sciences, information technology, law, ethics and other disciplines. The center will also partner with industry and nonprofit groups in Indiana and elsewhere to advance the quality, efficiency and affordability of health care.

"This is precisely the type of imaginative, interdisciplinary activity that IU excels at and that is critical to responding to 21st-century challenges," McRobbie said. "It combines the university's unparalleled strength in health sciences and information technology, not just in the classroom and laboratory but also in operation, with strong participation from both public and private sectors.

"We are indeed grateful for this most recent evidence of the Lilly Endowment's generosity and its concern for advancing IU and serving the people of Indiana," McRobbie added.

With personal health information being created and collected today at a faster rate than ever before, CLEAR Health Information will help supply the legal, ethical and usability analysis that is critical to patient and policymaker trust.

The center results from collaboration of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, part of the Pervasive Technology Institute at IU, and the Indiana University Center for Bioethics at the IU School Medicine, both of which have received previous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.

It will have four co-directors, reflecting its interdisciplinary focus and its collaboration with industry:

  • Fred H. Cate, Distinguished Professor and C. Ben Dutton Professor at the IU Maurer School of Law and director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research
  • Kay Connelly, associate professor in the IU School of Informatics and Computing, coordinator of health informatics and senior associate director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research
  • Stanley W. Crosley, former chief privacy officer of Eli Lilly and Co., co-founder and chair of the International Pharmaceutical Privacy Consortium and a member of the board of the Indiana Health Informatics Corp.
  • Eric M. Meslin, director of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics, professor of medicine, medical and molecular genetics, and public health in the Indiana University School of Medicine, and professor of philosophy at IUPUI

"What's especially innovative about our approach to examining health information in this new center is the joint focus on legal and ethical issues," said Meslin, who also serves as associate dean for bioethics at the School of Medicine. "We need to address both to really develop top-notch policy."

Fred Cate

Cate added: "Health information technology has been a major focus of the Obama Administration and of health care reform. While we are succeeding at building better and better systems, vexing ethical, legal and social issues remain. CLEAR Health Information will help to ensure that the right data are available at the right time for the benefit of patients today and in the future."

The funding proposal to Lilly Endowment was supported by the School of Informatics and Computing, the Maurer School of Law, the School of Medicine and the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology.

The new center will share offices and administrative staff with the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research to help reduce costs and enhance efficiency. For more information, see