UIndy MPH grad making a difference in population health

When Payton Revolt graduated from the University of Indianapolis in 2013 with a degree in psychology, she knew she wanted to move into a career that would allow her to help people. But she also realized that she wanted to make an impact on whole populations, not just one person at a time. Enter the UIndy Master of Public Health (MPH) program, which Revolt began in 2015.

Fast forward two years when Revolt graduated from UIndy a second time with her MPH. She now has a job as a vaccine-preventable disease public health investigator at the Indiana State Department of Health.

“I loved my time as an MPH student,” Revolt said. “Dr. (Heidi) Rauch is a great program director; the professors are involved and look for ways to help students, most of whom are working while going to school.”

One of Revolt’s most significant experiences as an MPH student came in the form of an internship in Dodowa, Ghana on the continent of Africa. Revolt spent six weeks in Dodawa during the summer of 2017. Working with an organization called Projects Abroad, she was responsible for implementing a program that provides free, same-day testing and treatment for malaria to school-age children. The malaria test consists of a simple finger prick and 15 minute rapid screen.

“The idea of same-day testing and treatment is important,” Revolt explained, “because the children attend pay-as-you-go school. So if they couldn’t afford it, they might not be back the next day.”

Children who tested positive for malaria were given educational materials and antibiotics to take home with them.

“Students in Dodowa are very responsible and receptive,” said Revolt, who was confident the information made it home to parents.

In addition to testing for and treating malaria, Revolt and Projects Abroad provided Hepatitis B testing and education for teachers and ringworm and wound care education and treatment to students and teachers.

In order to avoid contracting malaria herself, Revolt took a daily pill called malarone, slept under a mosquito net, and used bug spray. She said that just living and working in a third world country was an education.

“It was 98 degrees with 100% humidity; I would wake up sweaty and go to bed sweaty,” Revolt said. “The host I stayed with lived in a home with no power and no running water. The day started around 4:30am when the roosters started crowing. The sun was up by 5:15am. I would get up and take a bucket bath. Then I would meet up with other Projects Abroad volunteers and we would visit three to four schools or orphanages a day.”

Learn more about the UIndy Master of Public Health Program

As a public health investigator for ISDH, Revolt’s day-to-day life in the United States is certainly different than her days in Ghana. Currently, she participates in and disseminates information about disease outbreak investigations across the state. She also conducts special studies, routine surveillance, and analyses of health outcomes data. Her job responsibilities include coordination with local health departments, hospitals, and other partners to ensure timely reporting of vaccine-preventable diseases and appropriate specimen collection for analysis. In the future, Revolt hopes to study whether there is any link between health disparities and vaccine-preventable infectious diseases.

While she is getting used to and enjoying to her new role at ISDH,  Revolt hopes to one day work again in a global health effort, even if only in a volunteer capacity.

“The MPH program at UIndy taught me a lot about health disparities. We read a lot about the brokenness and poverty in third world countries,” Revolt said. “My experience in Dodowa taught me this is not a story in a book. This is real life.”

Written by Amy Magan, Communications Manager, Center for Aging & Community, University of Indianapolis College of Health Sciences.

Sutphin Center for Clinical Care strengthens community partnerships

Dedication of the Sutphin Center for Clinical Care in the UIndy Health Pavilion on Thursday, August 24, 2017. Program and group photo at the end: Christopher Molloy VP for Advancement was MC with remarks from Stephen Kiley, Senior Vice President South Region for Community Hospitals, Dr. Stephanie Kelly, Dean College of Health Sciences (CHS), Ashley Boyer Mahin, NP '16, a family nurse practitioner, and Charles Sutphin. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Dedication of the Sutphin Center for Clinical Care in the UIndy Health Pavilion on Thursday, August 24, 2017. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The Sutphin family legacy at the University of Indianapolis ushered in a new chapter with the dedication of the Sutphin Center for Clinical Care in the UIndy Health Pavilion in August 2017.

The Center commemorates Dudley and Mary Louise Sutphin and strengthens the University of Indianapolis’ commitment to building partnerships that create better health outcomes for underserved populations. The Center brings together critical services within the UIndy Health Pavilion, including physical therapy, medical and behavioral health clinics.

The Center, originally located in Fountain Square, will continue the University’s work to combine improved access to health care with advancement of education initiatives in the health professions.

“The Sutphin Center for Clinical Care provides an important place for our students, faculty, and community members to come together. We can extend our applied clinic teaching experiences, and offer support to enhance the health and wellness of our community at the same time,” said University of Indianapolis President Robert L. Manuel.  

By serving multifaceted needs through services such as rehabilitation, health and wellness and mental health, Manuel praised the interprofessional culture that serves as the backbone of the Sutphin Center’s philosophy. Students have the opportunity to work alongside Community Health Network clinicians and to collaborate with students in other health disciplines.

“As educators, we know students learn best in real-life environments, so the addition of the Sutphin Center in space just downstairs from classroom learning is a valuable resource for the UIndy health professions. Students will have opportunities for internships, focused learning activities, interprofessional learning and research that is right at their doorstep,” said Stephanie Kelly, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Vice President for University Advancement Chris Molloy noted the longstanding relationship between the Sutphins and the University.

“The Sutphin family has been a longtime supporter of the University of Indianapolis in its mission to reach out to the community, and the Center positions the University to continue to make a positive impact,” said Molloy.

The Sutphin family has a long history of supporting the University of Indianapolis beginning with the establishment of the Sutphin Lectures in the Humanities, endowed in memory of Samuel B. Sutphin by his sons Dudley V. and Samuel Reid Sutphin. Charlie Sutphin, who is Dudley’s son and Samuel’s grandson, continues to support both the Sutphin Lectures and the Sutphin Center for Clinical Care.

At a recent dedication ceremony, Charlie Sutphin noted the strong ties between his family and the University. He shared the story of his father receiving an honorary degree in 1992.

“I saw how much that meant to him, and it sustained my ongoing interest in the University of Indianapolis,” Sutphin said.

Sutphin encouraged students to get involved in volunteer or outreach opportunities, noting the value of community connections.

“We should all strive to belong to a group that is greater than ourselves,” Sutphin said.

UIndy alum battles human trafficking around the world

While many doctors enjoy the resources of large clinics or hospitals, Dr. Katherine Welch, ‘93, delivers medical care in some of the most remote areas of the world, sometimes with few of the amenities typical for physicians today.

Alumnus Katherine Welch (UIndy '93) holds a discussion on human trafficking with pre-med and science students on April 6, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

Alumnus Dr. Katherine Welch (’93) held a discussion on human trafficking with pre-med and science students on April 6, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

Welch is the founder of Relentless, a Thailand-based global consulting agency that trains organizations to assist populations that oftentimes are victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking and have no access to medical services. She is a global leader in the fight against human trafficking, a scenario she never imagined as a chemistry student at the University of Indianapolis.
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Alumnus brings awareness of refugees’ plight to immigration battle

Cole Varga (’10, international relations) understands more than most the impact of the recent immigration restrictions on families looking for better opportunities in the United States. As the executive director of Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., he has seen firsthand how refugee resettlement transforms people’s lives. 

Cole Varga, executive director, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc.

Cole Varga, executive director, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc.

Exodus is a 36-year-old Indianapolis-based non-profit refugee resettlement agency, and is one of about 300 in the United States. In 2016, Exodus welcomed 947 refugees from 17 countries, including Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Ukraine.

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