Student project pits music against dementia

Daily Journal photo

Daily Journal photo

A creative capstone project developed by a UIndy graduate student is bringing smiles — and maybe something more — to residents at a Franklin nursing home.

Laura Haw, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Gerontology through the Center for Aging & Community, wanted to study the effect of music on people with dementia. She was inspired by a documentary film on the topic as well as her own grandmother’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease.



“Often, music triggers these positive memories,” says Haw, who until recently worked as an administrative assistant at UIndy’s School for Adult Learning.

A resident of Franklin, Haw proposed and received a $2,150 grant from the Johnson County Community Foundation, which she used to purchase 43 MP3 music players and headphones for elderly residents of the city’s Indiana Masonic Home. Working with the staff and family caregivers of the dementia patients — and with help from her husband — she gathered information on each one’s musical tastes, purchased the music on Amazon, and gave each participant an MP3 player loaded with a batch of popular holiday music as well as their own favorites.

“A lot of big band, a lot of gospel,” she recalls. “There was a lot of country, too. Johnny Cash was a favorite, Frank Sinatra. There were a lot of people who wanted Elvis songs.”

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CAC contributes to WFYI aging documentary

Watch the trailer

UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community played a key role in the development of a new WFYI television documentary on issues facing older adults.





“Baby Boom to Aging Boom: Indiana at the Crossroads” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on WFYI 1. The 30-minute program includes segments on transportation, nutrition and hunger, financial security and quality of life.

CAC Executive Director Ellen Miller and Associate Professor Sharon Baggett are interviewed in the program, and the CAC staff prepared a discussion guide to accompany showings of the documentary.

Dr. Miller also was part of an expert panel that discussed the program and the related issues Thursday on WFYI-FM’s No Limits public-affairs talk show. Listen to that discussion here.

Nov. 18 fair offers info on graduate programs

Current students and the general public can learn more about master’s, doctoral and graduate certificate programs at UIndy during the Graduate Programs Fair on Nov. 18.

The university offers more than 30 graduate degree programs in the health sciences, business, education, the humanities, the physical sciences and other fields. Many courses are available in evening, weekend, online, on-campus and hybrid formats, making them convenient for students with busy schedules.

Organized in two sessions — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. in UIndy Hall A of Schwitzer Student Center — the fair is designed for students considering further education options after graduation as well as working adults seeking to change or advance their careers.

Registration and further information are available at (317) 788-2394 or

Social work master’s degree meets demand

New UIndy program to offer unique interdisciplinary environment

The growing Department of Social Work at the University of Indianapolis will take a leap forward soon with the addition of a master’s degree program that will prepare graduates for a broad range of high-demand careers.

Master’s-level preparation is becoming the standard for social workers in settings that include health care, education, the legal system, child welfare services, and mental health and addictions. UIndy’s Master of Social Work program will be one of few in the state.



Nationwide job growth in the field is projected at 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, with more than 100,000 new positions created. Demographic trends are driving the demand, department chair and Associate Professor Jeff Bryant said.

“Baby boomers are beginning to retire, and they will live longer and have more needs,” said Bryant, who has 25 years’ experience in social work. “This degree really is a great ticket to many different careers and opportunities.”

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CAC presents $10,000 idea competition

Sunday night is submission deadline for Dream Indy 5×5

CAC buttonUIndy’s Center for Aging & Community is among the forces behind the upcoming Dream Indy 5×5 competition, the latest in a series of local events that award $10,000 in funding for creative proposals that benefit the community.

5x5Logo-2015-bluesScheduled as part of the annual Spirit & Place Festival, the Nov. 12 contest will feature five teams selected from scores of applicants to pitch their ideas before a panel of judges and a live audience. In this case, the teams are challenged to submit proposals that use art to make Indianapolis “more accessible, healthy, green or lively.” CAC’s twist on the scenario is that intergenerational teams — with members at least 15 years apart in age — are strongly encouraged. Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, at

Partners in the event include Joy’s House Adult Day Service, which is opening a UIndy-Southside location soon near the new Health Pavilion; and Big Car arts collaborative, which will host the pitching party from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m Nov. 12 at its new The Tube Factory art space in the nearby Garfield Park neighborhood.

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New Health Pavilion clinics open their doors

UIndy wellness clinicWith some final touches still in the works, the new UIndy Health and Wellness Center was seeing a steady stream of patients Thursday.

Community Health Network staffers include UIndy alumni

This week saw the official opening of two clinical spaces in the new Health Pavilion, where the university is partnering with Community Health Network to provide care for patients and clients while creating experiential learning opportunities for students.

The new Health and Wellness Center in Suite 108, which combines the student and employee services previously available at the Student Health Center and Koval Center, saw its first 30 patients Wednesday, said Kory Vitangeli, Dean of Students and VP for Student & Campus Affairs.

The personnel include staff nurse-practitioners Lynn Moran, Vicky Swank and Barbara Kelly, and the cooperating physician from Community Health Network is Dr. Randall Lee, a 1972 UIndy graduate who is donating his time to the effort. Appointments are free to the UIndy community, with minimal charges for medication, vaccines and other needs. The hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the menu of services will continue to expand.

Community Health’s Physical Therapy and Rehab-UIndy clinic opened Monday in Suite 107, serving network clients initially on Mondays and Thursdays and soon to expand through the week. Its services include general orthopedic therapy as well as neurological, hand and sports injury rehabilitation. Staffing the space are Community Health Network physical therapists Jeff Mestrich and Matt Redshaw. Mestrich, a certified and licensed athletic trainer, holds two UIndy degrees: a BS in Athletic Training from 2000 and an MS in Physical Therapy from 2002. Redshaw, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from UIndy in 2007.

Also housed in the Health Pavilion is the School of Psychological Sciences‘ Psychological Services Center, where faculty and advanced graduate students provide comprehensive evaluation and outpatient therapy services to individuals, families and organizations.

CHN PT rehab clinicCommunity Health Network’s Physical Therapy and Rehab-UIndy is now open two days a week and soon will expand its hours, offering a range of services.

Partners celebrate Health Pavilion opening

Health Pavilion dedication panorama

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Watch WTTV-CBS4 report

Not one, but four ribbons were cut Friday when hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community partners gathered for the dedication of the UIndy Health Pavilion, a cutting-edge space designed for innovative collaborations among academic disciplines and health care industry professionals.

“We started dreaming about this building about 18 months ago, and in the architects’ rendering, they had this room filled with people,” President Robert Manuel said, glancing around the crowded two-story atrium as onlookers lined the balcony rail. “I don’t believe any of us thought we’d be done in 18 months to be here today, but it’s really pretty powerful to look out and see it done, filled, and doing what it was built to do.”

The four-story, 160,000-square-foot, $28 million structure at Hanna and State avenues now houses UIndy’s nationally respected programs in nursing, psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, gerontology, kinesiology, athletic training and social work, The building also houses two clinical facilities opening this month in partnership with Community Health Network: a health and wellness clinic for faculty, staff and students; and the latest addition to CHN’s growing line of Community Physical Therapy & Rehab centers, bringing new services to the University Heights neighborhood.

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UIndy, Community Health launch partnership

Health Pavilion exteriorThe UIndy Health Pavilion will open in August at Hanna and State avenues.

Clinic in new UIndy Health Pavilion will serve campus and network patients
while creating new opportunities for education, internships and research

VIDEO: Watch President Manuel and Community Health Network CEO Bryan Mills on Inside Indiana Business

Community Health Network and the University of Indianapolis are joining forces to establish a clinical facility on campus where students and faculty will work alongside health and wellness professionals to serve patients and clients, transforming the educational experience and bringing important resources to an underserved part of the city.



The partnership is central to the philosophy behind UIndy’s four-story, $30 million Health Pavilion on Hanna Avenue, which will open in August as the new home for nationally respected academic programs in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, gerontology, kinesiology, athletic training and social work.

“Our vision is to close the gap between education and practice in a way that benefits our students, our partners and the broader community,” UIndy President Robert Manuel said. “With our friends at Community Health Network sharing that vision, we have an amazing opportunity for innovation in the preparation of new health professionals and the delivery of health and wellness services in our city and beyond.”

Under a renewable five-year lease, more than 10,000 square feet of the UIndy Health Pavilion’s first floor will operate as a department of Community Hospital South. The space will include a 7,000-square-foot physical therapy and rehab center with private treatment rooms and a therapy gym that includes a walking track and therapy equipment.

Adjacent will be a 3,700-square-foot primary care clinic that will provide health and wellness services to UIndy employees, Community Health Network clients and other patients, with examination rooms where students can gain hands-on experience in their chosen fields under the supervision of professionals and faculty. Also on the first floor will be UIndy’s own Psychological Services Center, a training and research facility where faculty and graduate students from the School of Psychological Sciences provide evaluation and therapy services to the public.

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Cancer talk series starts March 10 at UIndy

A series of panel discussions on cancer and related issues will begin March 10 at the University of Indianapolis.

conversations-about-cancer-copy-2-1“Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty” is the first of three events in the Conversations About Cancer series, sponsored by WFYI Public Media and the Sound Medicine Radio Hour. Moderated by Sound Medicine host Barbara Lewis West, the conversation will explore philosophical and psychological issues, life-extending therapies, caring for caregivers and the role of palliative care. The panelists will include:

  • Iseminger


    Karen Iseminger, Ph.D., a cancer survivor and professor in UIndy’s School of Nursing and Center for Aging & Community

  • Dale Theobald, Ph.D., M.D., medical director for Community Home Health Hospice and Symptom Management Group
  • Larry Cripe, M.D., associate professor of medicine at IU Simon Cancer Center.

Free and open to the public, the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. March 10 in UIndy’s Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, 1400 E. Hanna Ave. More information and registration details are available at

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Provost’s Lecture to feature latest PT research

rock steadyWatch video excerpt: Fighting Parkinson’s 

Boxing training helps Parkinson’s patients maintain quality of life

Though participants have reported anecdotal success for years, new research by the University of Indianapolis provides evidence for the first time that people with Parkinson’s disease who participate in boxing training maintain greater physical ability and quality of life than those who participate in other modes of exercise.



“We found that people who exercise in a boxing program demonstrate a higher level of function,” said Associate Professor Stephanie Combs-Miller of UIndy’s Krannert School of Physical Therapy, who will discuss this and other research in the sixth annual Provost’s Lecture. Her presentation, “The Quest for New Paradigms in Physical Therapy Practice,” will begin at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Schwitzer Student Center’s UIndy Hall.

The longitudinal study by Combs-Miller and her students involved 88 central Indiana volunteers with Parkinson’s disease, half of whom participated in Rock Steady Boxing, a regimen that includes lateral foot work, bag punching, stretching, resistance exercises and aerobic training. Founded locally in 2006 by Parkinson’s patient and former Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman, Rock Steady Boxing has spread to locations across the country and around the globe.

Every six months for a two-year period, the UIndy students conducted standard physical therapy assessments of the study subjects and also surveyed them on quality-of-life issues. Among other results, they found that boxers demonstrated significantly better balance and walking function over time, as well as greater distance on a functional reach test, compared to people who chose other forms of exercise. The survey responses also indicated a higher perceived quality of life among the Rock Steady participants.

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