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IU to improve the health of Hoosiers with grant from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation

$1.5 million grant will apply innovative global health approaches to benefit Hoosier communities

For Immediate Release Oct 19, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University will improve the health of Hoosiers by applying innovations and expertise built through its decades-long partnership in Kenya to rural and urban communities throughout Indiana.

An overhead shot of a group of women in Kenya The reciprocal innovation initiatives will draw on expertise from IU's long-standing AMPATH partnership in Kenya where community interventions include groups for pregnant and parenting women. Photo courtesy of AMPATH Kenya

The initiative from the IU Center for Global Health Equity is supported by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. It builds on IU’s longstanding commitment to elevate quality of life for those in Indiana and beyond. The grant — called Applying Global Lessons to Advance Health Equity in Indiana, or APPLE-IN — will help identify community health needs in Indiana and apply lessons learned from work in Kenya and other parts of the world to respond to those needs.

“Through our leadership in innovation and research, IU has worked with global partners to develop transformative solutions to healthcare challenges people face around the world,” IU President Pamela Whitten said. “We are grateful to the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation for supporting our continued commitment to improving the health of Indiana and beyond.”

The initiative will be modeled on the success of AMPATH, the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare partnership in Kenya, which IU established with Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital nearly 35 years ago. AMPATH is a partnership among academic health centers, ministries of health and others to build health systems that promote well-being in underserved communities.

In Kenya, AMPATH has reached more than 1 million patients through home-based HIV testing — one tool in what’s become one of Africa’s most comprehensive and successful HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention programs. Built on this foundation, care programs also address noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension as well as maternal and child health, mental health and more. AMPATH has also trained more than 6,000 medical professionals and community health workers in Kenya, delivering and sustaining effective health care services in a way that also supports training and research to improve health.

Despite being separated by 8,000 miles, people in communities in Indiana and Kenya share many similar barriers to accessing healthcare, such as a shortage of local providers, inadequate access to transportation and the high cost of health services. These barriers can lead to worse health outcomes for people in underserved and rural communities.

“We will start with a focus on Indianapolis and a county in rural Indiana where we will work with the communities to adapt and implement innovative solutions to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities,” said Dr. Laura Ruhl, director of reciprocal innovation for the IU Center for Global Health Equity. “Addressing the world’s most critical health challenges requires high-quality innovations that can work in diverse settings around the globe.”

Global health expertise developed through AMPATH and other partnerships has led the IU Center for Global Health Equity to focus on reciprocal innovation — the process of identifying successful innovations that improve care for underserved people in one place, adapting them to improve care for people in another place and then continuing to improve the innovation with partners in multiple settings.

This new initiative will build on a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute that has helped develop the concept of reciprocal innovation and fund more than 36 reciprocal innovation and global health pilot grant projects.

“The IU School of Medicine and the physicians and healthcare providers that train here have been on the forefront of tackling health inequities in low-resource communities for decades,” said Dr. Jay L. Hess, IU School of Medicine dean and IU executive vice president for university clinical affairs. “Making an impact requires a focused and sustained partnership with people in the communities we serve. With this support from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, we look forward to expanding these partnerships to improve health across Indiana.”

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IU Center for Global Health Equity

Debbie Ungar

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