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Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pescovitz to be interim vice president for research administration

July 24, 2007

Pescovitz image

Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.

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Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie today announced the appointment of Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., as interim vice president for research administration subject to the approval of the Indiana University Board of Trustees.

Pescovitz currently serves in a dual role as president and chief executive officer of Riley Hospital for Children and executive associate dean for research affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

She will continue serving in these two roles, but now will assume responsibility for administration and regulatory compliance for all research activities at all eight Indiana University campuses. Until now, responsibility for administration and regulatory compliance has been distributed among several different offices at different campuses.

McRobbie said consolidating these responsibilities under one vice president will result in a more efficient and streamlined system of providing high-quality administrative support to faculty members.

"We want to do everything possible so that our researchers can be maximally productive, and this is a major step in that direction by making the administration process faster, more accessible, more reliable and easier to use," McRobbie said.

He said he sought out Pescovitz for this responsibility because she has been overseeing these functions in the IU School of Medicine for seven years and has done an outstanding job.

Research scientists at the IU School of Medicine account for more than half of the nearly $400 million in sponsored research contracts awarded to Indiana University during the 2007 fiscal year.

"As an experienced medical researcher herself, Dr. Pescovitz understands the importance of having an infrastructure that promotes and facilitates research productivity," McRobbie said. "She recognizes the importance of applying the highest ethical standards to the conduct of research, and she understands how vital rigorous compliance with research rules and regulations is to research universities such as IU."

Research administration covers everything from preparing and tracking grant proposals to negotiating awards and contracts with sponsors in private industry and government, including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Regulatory compliance involves such things as ensuring that proper bio-safety procedures are in place, monitoring animal care and use, human subject protections and research integrity.

"I share President McRobbie's passion and zeal for advancing the research mission of Indiana University," Pescovitz said. "So when he asked me if I could assist in this area, I was delighted to say yes. Our goal is to enhance research productivity so that IU reaches its rightful position among the nation's premier research institutions. I am truly excited about our possibilities for growth."

In addition to administering the IU School of Medicine's research program, Pescovitz also oversees the Indiana Genomics Initiative, funded by $155 million in grants from the Lilly Endowment, which helped lay the research foundation for BioCrossroads and Indiana's life sciences economic initiatives.

As chief administrator of Riley Hospital for Children, she has led an ambitious strategic planning effort, the implementation of which is transforming Riley Hospital into one of the nation's top children's hospitals by excelling in the four mission areas of clinical care, education, research and advocacy.

Highlights of this work include construction of a 10-story $470 million, 675,000 square-foot clinical tower (construction began in 2006); management of a successful clinical operation; oversight of more than 350 pediatric beds in the Clarian system's hospital facilities; a leadership role with the Riley Children's Foundation's capital campaign; execution of a statewide strategy to provide tertiary pediatric services throughout Indiana and recruitment of expert pediatric subspecialists and investigators to promote both the clinical and research missions.

Pescovitz is the Edwin Letzter Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine. She served as the director of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology at IU School of Medicine and Riley Hospital between 1990-2004. She has published more than 175 manuscripts that primarily focused on elucidating the physiologic and molecular mechanisms responsible for disorders of growth and puberty with a focus on development of novel therapies for these conditions.

She has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research, the nation's largest pediatric research organization, president of the Lawson Wilkins (North American) Pediatric Endocrine Society, chair of the March of Dimes Grants Review Committee, member of the Ad-Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding and has been on six journal editorial boards. She has served on numerous committees of the Endocrine Society and was chair of the 2002 Annual Meeting Steering Committee.

As a physician, Pescovitz continues to see young patients in her specialty of endocrinology, the hormone-producing system that controls growth and development, reproduction and other bodily systems.

Her awards include a Research Career Development Award from the NIH, Indiana University School of Medicine's highest Teaching Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, recognition as one of the nation's Top Doctors, as a Power Player in Indianapolis, the iWOMAN Trailblazer Award and the Women and HiTech Award.