Out of the 50 states in the United States, Indiana is ranked as low as 38th in overall health, according to America's Health Rankings.
Indiana is one of the worst states in terms of infant mortality, obesity and smoking, but a new partnership between IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame aims to change those figures. That partenrship also just received a renewed grant for $33 million to help.
The statewide partnership is through the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, and received the grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"We are thrilled to receive this continued support from the NIH," said Dr. Anantha Shekhar, executive associate dean for research affairs at IU School of Medicine. "It enables us to continue improving health for people living in Indiana, to recruit more researchers and seed innovations in the state, and to speed the movement of discoveries across the universities' labs to solutions benefiting people living in Indiana."
Indiana CTSI has already had some success in bringing about change in Indiana, according to a recent IU press release. Researchers from CTSI were the ones who discovered dangerous lead levels in South Bend, Indiana, and created lead test kits. They also are trying to reduce infant mortality by lowering rates of depression and anxiety while improving nutrition.
The institute has launched a program called All IN for Health, aimed at signing up at least 100,000 Indiana residents to its health research volunteer registry during the next three years.
The All IN for Health website provides resources and educational material on health issues affecting Indiana, such as information for pregnant women trying to quit smoking.
The website also provides opportunities to become research volunteers and be matched to any of the 1,000 active Indiana-based research studies made possible through IU, Purdue and Notre Dame. This will help researchers and health care professionals get a better picture of Indiana and the health situation here.
"Until we clearly understand the full picture of health — including individual motivations — for a diverse population of our state's residents, we won't be able to come up with more successful solutions that will last," said Tiffany Campbell, CTSI program director.
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