notice

IU Northwest professors among winners for IU’s Regional Campus Grand Challenges Initiative

Zinner, Briggs will lead project designed to improve health, education and economic vitality of Northwest Indiana

Thursday Mar 09, 2017


Indiana University Northwest announced that two faculty members are serving as co-principal investigators on a project selected as a winner  by IU’s Regional Campus Grand Challenges Initiative. The program awards funds to regional campus faculty who are using multidisciplinary efforts that address complex challenges facing Indiana communities.

The project was selected for its goal of “Making Indiana Smarter” by emphasizing the centrality of education in sustaining our democracy and creating economic opportunity for all.

PROJECT: Health Studies Consortium

Students will have the opportunity to explore new options within the vast profession of health care, including professional training and credentialing.

IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Kokomo are partnering to develop a Health Studies Consortium that will offer two new courses designed to both attract and retain students and improve employment potential for current and prospective students: a medical humanities minor and an allied health practitioners credentialing program. Together, the three campuses will provide new avenues of study and enhance health care delivery across Northwestern Indiana through credentialing and/or further training of health care workers in cultural competency as it relates to health delivery.

“There is much evidence to show that the health care industry is projected to add more jobs in the Northwest Indiana area,” said Susan Zinner, professor in the IU Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs and co-principal investigator for the Health Studies Consortium. “Our grant proposal creates a structure where IU faculty on all regional campuses can create health-related courses and join our Health Studies Consortium to enhance educational and employment opportunities for students.”

The medical humanities minor is modeled after the Medical Humanities and Health Studies Department at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, a robust and expanding department that has been in existence for over 20 years. The minor will give students the opportunity to apply their classroom instruction in cultural backgrounds, history and barriers to public health in order to better engage the community and better serve Hoosiers as health professionals.

To better prepare IU students to respond to ever-changing demands of the labor market, the Health Studies Consortium will also offer curriculum designed to teach and provide an avenue for students to obtain an industry-recognized certification in various aspects of health care delivery. This will provide students with the opportunity to develop practical skills within the context of an academic educational program.

"The opportunity to connect the different disciplines of the humanities with the health professions will enhance the quality of health care in the region by providing health care providers with more information about the diverse populations they serve and how they have been impacted in the past,” said Jonathyne Briggs, associate professor and chair in the Department of History, Philosophy, Political Science and Religious Studies at IU Northwest and co-principal investigator for the Health Studies Consortium. “The recognition of the vitality of this mission through the award of Regional Campus Grand Challenges Initiative speaks to the belief in the institution of the important connections that such a partnership symbolizes and the potential to change the lives of Hoosiers for the better." 

The project will receive up to $25,000, with the strong expectation that the funded project team seeks external funding to expand their research.

About the Regional Campus Grand Challenges Initiative

The Regional Campus Grand Challenges Initiative is designed to improve the health, education and economic vitality of the communities and regions surrounding IU’s regional campuses; facilitate collaboration and leverage resources at IU’s regional campuses in pursuit of common goals; highlight the significant quantity of intellectual capital on IU’s regional campuses; and reinforce IU’s standing as a major research university and its role in addressing issues of fundamental importance to our communities, regions, state and beyond.

The initiative supports Blueprint 2.0, the strategic plan of IU’s regional campuses, and is directly aligned with the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, which provides a roadmap for the university’s efforts to remain among the best public research institutions.

View Indiana University Northwest Office of Marketing and Communications Media Contact information