Progress continues on UIndy Health Pavilion

Pavilion panels 1No longer just an imposing steel framework at the corner of Hanna and State avenues, the UIndy Health Pavilion is starting to look more like that building we’ve seen in the drawings.

Late last week, a crew from Sofco Erectors began attaching enormous concrete and brick facing panels — each weighing 16,500 pounds — to the exterior. The plan is to get the outer walls in place so the interior construction can continue regardless of weather.

The four-story Health Pavilion will open in August 2015 as the new home for the allied health programs that comprise about half of UIndy’s enrollment, including the School of NursingKrannert School of Physical TherapySchool of Occupational TherapySchool of Psychological SciencesAthletic Training Program, the departments of Kinesiology and Social Work, and the Center for Aging & Community. Conceived to foster collaboration among the various disciplines, the building also will house clinical facilities that will serve the public while providing hands-on learning and research opportunities for students and faculty.

The 160,000-square-foot structure was designed by local firm CSO Architects for developer Strategic Capital Partners, with construction overseen by Pepper Construction Group.

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Health care advocacy program is state’s first

Degree will prepare professionals to guide patients through system

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A new bachelor’s degree at the University of Indianapolis is designed to fill an urgent need in the health care industry: helping patients to navigate it.

The Health Care Consumer Advocacy program is the first in the state designed to prepare graduates for careers supporting and promoting the rights and needs of patients and their families in a changing and often confusing marketplace.

Health care consumer advocates work in settings that include hospitals, medical practices, insurance companies, long-term care facilities and public and nonprofit agencies, often under such titles as “patient care coordinator,” “patient case manager” or “client services manager.” Traditionally, these roles have been filled by nurses and social workers who have to learn on the job about the complexities of financial management, information technology and industry policy and terminology.

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Nov. 20 CAC workshop to explore elder abuse

CAC buttonProfessionals who work with older adults – and students who plan to — can learn how to combat elder abuse at an upcoming workshop presented by the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community.

“Helping Professionals Prevent Elder Abuse & Neglect” is scheduled 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Wheeler Arts Community, 1035 Sanders St. in Fountain Square. The cost is $20, or $10 for UIndy students, which includes continental breakfast and lunch.

Elder abuse and neglect is an increasing concern as the population ages. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 2.1 million adults age 65 and older are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation each year.

At the workshop, part of CAC’s “Helping Professionals” series, participants will learn how to recognize and prevent multiple forms of elder abuse, including physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial abuse, as well as neglect and self-neglect.

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UIndy to present three Spirit & Place events

The annual Indianapolis Spirit & Place Festival will have its 19th run from Friday through Nov. 16, with nearly 40 events and exhibitions around the city reflecting the theme “Journey.”

S&P JourneyThree of those events are hosted by people and groups at UIndy, a longtime partner with The Polis Center in presenting the festival. Full information on events and registration is available at

On Monday, UIndy’s Faculty Artist Concert Series will present “Musical Journeys of Immigrant Composers” at 7:30 p.m. in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center’s Ruth Lilly Performance Hall, 1400 E. Hanna Ave. The free concert will feature faculty pianists Elisabeth Hoegberg and Rebecca Sorley, mezzo-soprano Mitzi Westra and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra cellist Ingrid Fisher-Bellman performing works by Sergei Rachmaninov, Kurt Weill and other composers who fled oppression in their homelands.

In collaboration with the Immigrant Welcome Center of Indianapolis, the performances and discussion will explore how these journeys influenced the life of each composer and created a lasting musical legacy. Representatives from the center will provide additional perspectives on the immigrant experience. More information is available at (317) 788-3255 or

On Nov. 12, UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community will host “From Age-ing to Sage-ing,” a free presentation and discussion from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Wheeler Arts Community, 1035 Sanders St. in Fountain Square. Older adults and caregivers will learn how journaling and other techniques can help make the final third of life into a time of sharing and contributing. The featured speakers are Rosemary Cox, an educator and program designer for Memorial BrainWorks in South Bend, and Elizabeth Weber, a published poet and associate professor of English at UIndy.

The event is presented in collaboration with Memorial BrainWorks and Sage-ing International. More information is available at (317) 791-5930 or

On Nov. 13, UIndy will host “Engaging & Celebrating the Burmese of Central Indiana,” a chance to enjoy the culture and cuisine of Burma while learning about the challenges faced by Burmese refugees. Coordinated by the Office of Service Learning & Community Engagement, students and faculty from many disciplines will join in staging the event. The documentary film The Exodus of the Burmese Refugees will be screened, and a keynote address will be delivered by Jane Gehlhausen, director of International and Cultural Affairs for the City of Indianapolis.

Presented in partnership with the Burmese American Community Institute, the event will run from 6 to 8 p.m. in UIndy Hall of Schwitzer Student Center, 1400 E. Hanna Ave. More information is available at (317) 788-3557 or

Health faculty team to foster collaboration

IPEC conference-webAttending the recent Interprofessional Education Collaborative Fall Institute were UIndy’s Ellen Miller (left), Stephanie Combs Miller, Lori Rasmussen, Michelle Meer and Kate DeCleene Huber, representing various disciplines on campus.

The effort to spark greater collaboration among UIndy’s various health- and wellness-related disciplines – as embodied in the new Health Pavilion that will house them all together next year – got a shot in the arm earlier this month when five faculty members traveled to the Interprofessional Education Collaborative’s Fall Institute near Washington, D.C.

IPEC is dedicated to advancing interprofessional education, in which students from different health professions work together and learn from each other, reflecting the collaborative nature of today’s healthcare workplace.

Comprising the UIndy contingent were Ellen Miller, executive director of the Center for Aging & Community and interim associate provost for research, graduate programs and academic partnerships, along with Stephanie Combs Miller from Physical TherapyLori Rasmussen from Nursing, Michelle Meer from Social Work and Kate DeCleene Huber from Occupational Therapy. Now the group plans to organize faculty development sessions and help promote interprofessional efforts among their colleagues and students, Huber says, as recommended by the World Health Organization and other authorities.

“When students graduate, they’re not working in a silo; they’re part of a larger healthcare team,” she says. “The more we can prepare students for that, the better the outcome is for patients.”

One possibility would be mixing together nursing, occupational therapy and social work majors, for example, into interprofessional teams for lab courses that simulate hospital settings. Other colleges, depending on their offerings, have even incorporated students from mortuary, law and religion programs, as those professions also have roles to play in patient care, Huber says.

“The possibilities are endless,” she says. “All of our professions have so much to offer patients, and they’re more valuable when they can be integrated.”

Training sessions help decode dementia care

UIndy, IU experts collaborate on program for nursing home employees

The behavior of dementia patients can pose challenges for nursing home staffers, especially if those workers don’t realize that their own actions are often part of the problem.

Beginning today, however, a special six-week training course developed by University of Indianapolis and Indiana University experts will teach nearly 40 nurses and other employees from 19 central Indiana long-term care facilities how to avoid creating stressful situations and therefore rely less on medication to help patients manage their behavior.



“It’s not just memory that is affected with dementia; we need to recognize that their perception of the world is altered,” says Ellen Miller, executive director of UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community. “There are all sorts of things that we can do to prevent challenging behaviors before they start. This makes life better for both the resident and the staff.”

People with dementia have limited ability to understand and respond to conversation, TV programming and other everyday stimuli, says Anne Thomas, dean of UIndy’s School of Nursing and one of the developers and instructors for the training sessions. Some patients are troubled by seeing themselves in mirrors, she says. With others, facing simple choices about clothing or food can fuel frustrations and lead to aggressive behavior.



“They live literally in the moment, and there is no new learning,” Thomas says. “If you give choices, they get overstimulated, and you’ve created a problem that didn’t need to be.”

The training program will include interactive one-on-one exercises with actors posing as dementia patients exhibiting aggressive and nonaggressive negative behavior, both verbal and physical. The sessions will be videotaped for analysis and discussion, giving participants useful tips and concepts that they can put into practice where they work and share with colleagues and even their patients’ families. The weekly half-day sessions begin today and will continue through Nov. 5 at Fountain Square Center, a community health facility on Shelby Street.

“It’s a very experiential kind of training,” Thomas says. “The idea is to empower the staff to go back and treat these behaviors without medication.”

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CAC launches nursing home quality project

Funding, support available for regional quality improvement efforts

The Indiana State Department of Health and UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community are collaborating on a statewide initiative to improve the quality of long-term care in nursing homes.

CAC buttonThe Regional Healthcare Quality Improvement Collaborative Project is designed to assist long-term care facilities in developing Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement programs, which soon will be required for all nursing homes as they have been for other types of healthcare providers.

The intent is to form regional collaborative groups with representatives from healthcare facilities, provider associations, consumer advocacy groups and community organizations. The collaborative partners will work together to conduct needs assessments, design regional quality improvement plans and provide education and resources to nursing homes in their areas.

The Center for Aging & Community is accepting applications for funding, with up to $30,000 available per collaborative over 18 months for as many as seven regional projects.

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CAC, CHS co-sponsor walkability summit

UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community and College of Health Sciences are sponsors of the first Indiana Walk Summit, a conference this week in Indianapolis on creating walkable communities.

The event takes place Wednesday and Thursday at the Marten House Hotel and Lilly Conference Center, 1801 W. 86th St. Attendees will include community leaders, health professionals, transportation advocates, and city and town planners from throughout the state who are interested in how walkability affects a community’s quality of life and economic vitality.

The Wednesday agenda from 1 to 4 p.m. includes workshops on best practices, model policies and tools and resources for communities that want to provide safe and convenient pedestrian experiences for people of all ages and abilities. Thursday’s all-day conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. features keynote presenters Scott Bricker, director of America Walks; Suzanne Carlson, pedestrian program manager with the Chicago Department of Transportation; and Phillip Tuso, national clinical lead for total health with Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute.

The event is organized by the Health by Design coalition, an initiative of the Alliance for Health Promotion. More detail on the program and registration is available at

On the air: CAC director on lifelong activity



Dr. Ellen Miller, executive director of UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community, is a panelist for today’s episode of No Limits, the WFYI radio public-affairs show.

The topic is “lifelong learning” in the broad sense, exploring the many options for remaining intellectually and socially engaged as we grow older.

The program airs at 1 p.m. on 90.1 FM and online at The program will be available for later listening at

Learn more about CAC’s work for older adults here. Dr. Miller also serves as UIndy’s interim associate provost for Research, Graduate Programs and Academic Partnerships.

CAC workshop to explore older adult fitness

CAC buttonProfessionals who work with older adults can learn about innovative senior fitness activities during a free workshop and film screening to be presented Thursday by UIndy’s Center for Aging & Community.

Even beyond familiar concepts such as water aerobics and stationary bicycling, many fitness options are available for older adults with varying ability levels. The “Trends in Older Adult Fitness” workshop will include demonstrations of dance movement therapy, Bingocize™ and Rock Steady Boxing. The content is geared toward activity directors, adult day professionals, personal trainers, athletic trainers and others interested in older adult fitness.

The event takes place from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in Schwitzer Student Center’s UIndy Hall. Admission is free, but registration is required at

Following the demonstrations will be a screening of Age of Champions, a film depicting several older adult athletes competing in the National Senior Olympics. The film’s producer, Keith Ochwat, will be on hand for a Q&A session after the film.

The film will be screened again for UIndy students at 7:30 p.m. L/P credit is available. More information on the film is here.

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