Indiana University’s Grand Challenges Summit explores the impact these collaborative initiatives have made on the lives of everyday Hoosiers. Featuring special appearances by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, IU President Michael A. McRobbie, and IU alumna and ESPN anchor Sage Steele. Hosted by Inside Indiana Business’s Gerry Dick.
Watch the Grand Challenges Summit program now
Description of the video:
GRAND CHALLENGES SUMMIT
Gerry Dick Opening Remarks
[Gerry Dick, Host of Inside Indiana Business and the MC for today's summit, speaks directly into the camera and offers welcoming remarks. Images of Indiana University's campus, research laboratories, the Indianapolis skyline appear on-screen as Dick speaks.]
Gerry Dick: Hello and welcome to the Indiana University Grand Challenges Summit, I'm Gerry Dick, the host of Inside Indiana Business, also the host of an event that I think you will find important, but also very relevant as Indiana attempts to, as Governor Holcomb would say, take it to the next level when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, becoming more competitive, more resilient in communities, large and small.
Today we'll take a, a deeper dive into the impact of this initiative five years in. You will hear how IU is partnering with leaders from around the state of Indiana on initiatives that strengthen our economy, that actually saves lives and also make these communities more resilient today, but also years into the future. IU's three grand challenge initiatives were launched strategically on the resources and expertise of IU and partners throughout Indiana to help make life better for Hoosiers everywhere.
Each grand challenge initiative focuses on a large scale problem facing humanity. The three initiatives that make up the grand challenges initiative include precision health, prepared for environmental change and responding to the addictions crisis. They address complicated problems and equip teams of dedicated researchers working across disciplines to work in collaboration with community partners in every corner of the state.
You will hear from Indiana University president Michael McRobbie and Governor Eric Holcomb. They will both talk with IU alumnae and ESPN anchor Sage Steele about how these grand challenge initiatives are improving the quality of life, the quality of place in communities and importantly driving innovation in our state. Well, let's begin with a brief video highlighting the voices of Hoosiers who have partnered with IU on this very important initiative, also hear from my use vice president of research, Fred Cate on why grand challenges is a critical pillar of IU strategy.
Introductory Grand Challenges Video
[Video opens with on-screen text “In 2016, Indiana University launched the Precision Health Initiative, the first of three focus areas within the Grand Challenges Program,” before opening with Fred Cate, IU’s Vice President for Research speaking on screen as part of an interview. Secondary footage of the Indianapolis skyline, research laboratories and patient rooms appear on screen as Cate speaks.]
Fred Cate: The Grand Challenges program was launched as part of our bicentennial strategic plan, and it's an effort to address some of the most critical needs facing the State of Indiana.
We made a decision early on to try to focus our resources and our efforts in three areas. We could've picked a hundred areas, and faculty and others brought forth proposals for all sorts of important needs. And the first we launched was Precision Health, so really helping to treat every single person as an individual and trying to combine data about them so that you could really identify what their needs were and how to meet them.
[Angie Steeno, a triple negative breast cancer patient survivor, speaks on-screen about her experience with cancer and her interactions with Indiana University. Secondary footage of Steeno speaking with her physician and reviewing medical imaging appears as she speaks.]
Angie Steeno: When I think of the future of cancer care and treatment, I would love to be able to know that there is that right mix for each of those specific cancers, whether it's triple negative or another kind, to know that someone has thought about you and what you're going through.
[Dr. Brian Schneider, professor of medicine, speaks on-screen about IU’s work in the Precision Genomics Clinic. Secondary footage of medical laboratories appears on screen as Schneider speaks.]
Dr. Byran Schneider: The idea of the Precision Genomics Clinic is to take a group of patients with advanced cancer and really to do a better job of trying to personalize their therapy, treating each patient as a unique individual.
[Milan Radovich, Ph.D, associate professor of surgery, speaks about developing patient-centered treatments. Secondary footage of Radovich speaking with Steeno appears on screen as Radovich speaks.]
Dr. Milan Radovich: We have this sort of antiquated dogma where if we take a group of patients with the same diagnosis and treat them with the same drug, we expect the same response. And that's not really the case. We're really focused on trying to individualize therapy, individualize our treatment plans to each patient's unique makeup.
[Imagery of Steeno with her family in her home appear on screen as she speaks.]
Angie Steeno: I think it's hard to put into words how important Precision Genomics is and what IU is doing. It's a chance to give people life. It's a chance for people to continue to be with their families. I think it means the world, not only for beating the cancer, but also to make sure that you're treating the person.
[Cate’s voice returns as secondary footage of a farmer in a field appear on screen. Cate discusses IU’s second Grand Challenge: Prepared for Environmental Change.]
Fred Cate: Our second grand challenge is about the environment and preparing for environmental change. This grand challenge has really been focused on what can we do to help communities and families and farmers and businesses respond to, prepare for, be able to deal with environmental change.
[Dan Desutter, Owner and Operater of DeSutter Farms, begins to speak as secondary footage of him in one of his fields appears on screen. He then appears on-screen as part of an interview. Additional secondary footage of farm equipment and an aerial shot of a tractor in a field appear on screen as DeSutter finishes his remarks.]
Dan Desutter: Everything's more extreme. We've lost our balance. We have events that are more severe. When it rains, it rains more. When it stays dry, it stays dry longer. When it gets hot, it gets hotter. There is a niche for an organization like ERI to step in and start really helping us understand the science behind what we're doing.
[Emily Styron, mayor of Zionsville, Ind., begins to speak as secondary footage shows her at her desk in City Hall. She then appears on-screen as part of an interview, before additional secondary footage of her speaking with colleagues, walking outside and reviewing sustainability plan materials also appear on-screen.]
Emily Styron: I learned about the Environmental Resilience Institute after taking office. Part of the way that we found out about ERI is because one of my goals as mayor was to form an environmental or a sustainability commission. This is an opportunity for our community to define what mitigating climate change looks like for us.
What I'm excited about is that this is a community-based approach that is using science to help inform us of how we develop policy.
[DeSutter’s voice returns as aerial footage of a tractor appears on screen. He also appears on-screen to conclude his remarks.]
Dan Desutter: We all benefit from a better environment, cleaner water, cleaner air, healthy soils, higher-quality food. The resilience that is required in a system to produce these things is where ERI can play a major role in helping future farmers to provide those ecological services to all Hoosiers.
[Cate re-appears on screen to introduce IU’s third Grand Challenge: Responding to the Addictions Crisis.]
Fred Cate: And then our third grand challenge is responding to the addictions crisis. We are trying to, again, bring the absolute best of science to also work with the organizations that have been delivering care for years, what works, what doesn't work?
[As Cate’s remarks conclude, secondary footage of Scott Long, mayor of Wabash, Ind., walking along a path appears on screen. Long then appears on-screen as he begins his remarks. Long is filmed in the Council chambers of the City of Wabash, Ind. – in front of the city seal. As Long speaks, secondary footage appears on screen showing him speaking with colleagues in City Hall and walking along the streets of Wabash.]
Scott Long: We don't have the resources to do the things that IU is doing. I don't have as many resources as the State of Indiana has. So through my networking, I've been able to partner with those organizations to get the assistance that we need at the local level. We have to do our level best to reduce the number of people who are facing addiction in our community.
[Latasha Timberlake, a community health worker in Indianapolis, appears on screen and speaks about her work with patients with substance use disorder. Secondary footage shows Timberlake meeting with colleagues.]
Latasha Timberlake: Giving them another option other than the substance use, ways to cope, connecting them with the, the behavioral health services.
[Mayor Long re-appears on screen as he begins to speak. Secondary footage shows him at his desk.]
Scott Long: We can tap into the resources at IU to help us with this battle, and that's why it vitally important for IU to come alongside communities throughout the State of Indiana.
[Cate reappears on screen as he begins to speak. Secondary footage appears on screen as Cate speaks, including aerial footage of the IU Bloomington campus and the Sample Gate followed by an IU logo and the URL grandchallenges.iu.edu appear on screen.]
Fred Cate: One of the most striking thing about the Grand Challenges is the amount of vision that it took to do it. I love seeing a university put together its resources like this I love seeing the fact that Indiana University, as part of the community, is really focusing in an explicit and a public way on the needs of the people of Indiana.
I think it is a very good thing to see the university working so closely with the state, with the Governor, with state agencies, with agency heads. They have been terrific, and it's been a great chance for the university that's going to live up to the promise of being Indiana's university.
Review of Key Data Points for Each Grand Challenge
[Gerry Dick re-appears on screen to offer remarks and key data points about the Grand Challenges initiatives. As he speaks, secondary footage appears on screen]
Gerry Dick: All right, Fred, thank you for that great perspective on the Grand Challenges initiative and also for your leadership in so many areas around the state of Indiana. Before we speak with our first guest, let's review some key data points related to each initiative. First, the precision health initiative, it is currently in 68 counties around the state, has set four clinical health goals to find new ways to prevent type two diabetes and Alzheimer's, and to discover new cures for pediatric sarcomas and triple negative breast cancer.
The prepared for environmental change initiative is active, get this, in every county in the state of Indiana, all 92 counties involved has already engaged 30 local governments through its Hoosier resilience cohort program. And the responding to addictions crisis initiative is collaborating with at least 160 partners statewide, including community organizations, treatment and recovery services and harm reduction organizations.
Sage Steele Interview of Michael Mcrobbie
[Gerry Dick offers on-screen introduction of Sage Steele, ESPN anchor, who interviews Indiana University President Michael McRobbie in a split screen appearance where both Steele and McRobbie look directly into the camera while speaking with one another.’
Gerry Dick: Now I'll hand off to IU alumnae and ESPN anchor, Sage Steele, who has a very special guest, IU president Michael McRobbie.
Sage Steele: And what an honor it is for me to get to sit down with the 14th president of Indiana University, Michael McRobbie. It is such an honor to speak to you once again. When I looked up Grand Challenges, I- I thought well, what- what does all this mean? So I actually went to- to the website, and so forgive me but I thought it was really important to get all these details right. IU has three Grand Challenges initiatives in progress: precision health, prepare for environmental change, and responding to the addictions crisis. That's a lot. And it's all so important. Where did you come up with the idea for a Grand Challenge and that those three items were going to be the focus?
President McRobbie: Well, I- I think ever since Indiana University became a, um- a- a- a- a true research university, would've- which would've been in the late 1880s, something- something like that, uh, uh, our whole background in research had been the support of the individual investigator or maybe the small laboratories and so on. What we'd never really done was look at how could we focus, um, all of our resources in- in one area, on some major probables or- or set of problems. And uh, it- the wo- the world is changing in terms of how research is done. The- there is of course still room for- for the individual investigator, the individual, um, genius who does his or her work and can change the world with what they do, but more and more of the impact that science and research is having is- is coming through teams.
So we wanted to try for really the first time in the university's history, to focus our resources, our intellectual resources and financial resources, in just a small number of areas to- to seek them out competitively and- and then focus on the impact that- that we could have, whether it was in the state or nationally or- or internationally. We really, it was- it was an open book at that- that time. But that was the big picture. That was what we were trying to achieve.
Sage Steele: Okay. And- and when you look at those- those areas, um, I- I liked this quote from you, this was early on, "Grand Challenges initiatives will be few, large, focused, and measured by their impact, allowing us to work in new and creative ways at the scale necessary to make a real difference on such global issues." So, it- it's local, it's grassroots, but it- it- it begins there and then it- it goes globally. Wh- what about that real world impact? Um, what was so crucial for you to- to try to achieve, again, while doing so right there at home?
President McRobbie: Yeah. That- that- that was- that was, of course, one of- one of our goals. Uh, but, o- one of the things that's interesting about the Grand Challenges, uh, program is- is that, um, when we started it, we- we didn't have any predetermined view about the types of topics that we were going to, uh, cover. Um, uh, we wanted to seek the best science, the best research that we could. But always, science and research was going to be focused on- on impact, um, locally, globally, and- and- and so on. We really were leaving it open as- as to what were the best ideas, the best projects that our scientists and researchers, uh, could come up with. But- but that was at the back of our mind all the time, was- was impact.
Sage Steele: This has been a years' long process for you, the Grand Challenge, and obviously, it's going to continue, um, for years to come, and that's the beautiful thing, because these are issues that are probably never going to go away, but hopefully, we pray, we continue to try to- to- to mitigate. So President McRobbie, with all that said, and- and the depth that each of these challenges brings, um, you're a perfectionist. I know you- you- you want to have 100% on all of these. How do you summarize how it has gone so far as you try to meet these challenges?
President McRobbie: They're very, very different but they- they're very much focused on, um, well, as the name says, Grand Challenges. Tailored drug treatments, um, tailored to a person's genetics, uh, coming out of our school of medicine, our other clinical schools in the university or other labs in the university. Um, major, major impact. Um, being able to come up with the right policies to- to, um, uh, help, uh, the agricultural community, uh, and- and the broader communities in Indiana adapt to, um, environmental change. And, of course, being able to mitigate the addictions crisis in, uh- in Indiana. So- so- so every one of those areas, I think, we've made, um, great progress. Um, overall, in- in terms of focusing our resources, we have, um- we- we have recruited about 130 new researchers, faculty members and so on, between those projects, probably close to 200 graduate students, PhD and other students, and so on, all working on various projects in these- in these, um, three areas. And, um, uh, grant funding, uh, that has been o- obtained, the leverage that we've got from our investment, is- is measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars, too. So- so it really has acted, uh, the three projects have acted as major catalysts in each of the- each of the three areas and are having, um, uh- and are already having a- a major impact.
Sage Steele: You know, I imagine with ... well, I know this, with any project, no matter what the intent, it seems that you have the glass half empty people, and- and- and the skeptics. Was there- was there any amount of- of pushback that you received, President McRobbie, that, you know, people out there who were skeptical of the role that a state university could play?
President McRobbie: Uh, oh, I think there was- I think there was, uh, some skepticism, but- but I- I- in some quarters. But- but I have to say, uh, I'm particularly grateful to- to Governor Holcomb, from- from the- from the very outset, Governor Holcomb completely understood what we were trying to do and has been a great supporter. And- and I think that's- that's true, it's- it's certainly been true at the level of the mayors in the state, uh, uh, particularly with preparing for environmental change and the addictions crisis.
Uh, but what I'm particularly proud of is that we have been able to, um, identify areas that really will have a major impact in the state and have been able to put together, um, partnerships with- with the state, um, that- that have been, um, productive and- where I think it's really helped us demonstrate to- to the state that, um, we're not just a- a great research university in- in- in areas that- that maybe, um, are more focused and more abstract areas or fundamental areas of science, but we- we're also a- a great research university in terms of the impact that we can have in the state itself.
Sage Steele: 14 years at the helm, President McRobbie, 24 total in leadership positions. You have done so much and, um, I'm going put you on the spot once again, because I think this is important: You have changed Indiana University forever. What would you like your legacy to be?
President McRobbie: One always wants one’s legacy to- to simply be that you've- you've changed an institution for the better. Um, and- and I'd like to think that in the 14 years I've been president that- that I have changed, um, uh, with- with, uh, the involvement of hundreds and hundreds of pe- other people. Uh, this has never been a one man show. That I've- I've, uh- between us, we've managed to change Indiana University for, uh- for- for the better. And, uh, the things that you went through are things that, uh, I think will have a lasting and enduring impact and, uh, they- it'll ... decades from now, uh, people will- will see the impact of- of, uh, those changes. And, uh, they're not ephemeral changes, they're not the kind of changes that, uh, will be gone tomorrow. They- they- they're going to be around for a long time.
Sage Steele: 100,000 percent, yes. Th- this goes on forever. Thank you so much for- for making-it great. Truly great. And for setting us up for the future. President Michael McRobbie, we love you, thank you, please tell the first lady, Laurie hello.
President McRobbie: Thank you, Sage.
Sage Steele: Thank you. Go IU.
President McRobbie: Thank you. Go IU indeed. Thank you very much. You're very kind. Appreciate it.
Hearing from Other Leaders of Grand Challenges
[Gerry Dick re-appears on-screen to thank Steele and McRobbie and then provide an introduction to footage of other Indiana University leaders who have appeared on Inside Indiana Business.
Gerry Dick: Thank you, Sage and president McRobbie on that thoughtful and very insightful discussion. And before we shift gears and move on to Governor Eric Holcomb, I think it's important that we get some perspective, we hear from individuals who are actively involved in the grand challenges initiative. I have had the opportunity on Inside Indiana Business over the past number of weeks to talk with a number of people who are actively involved in the initiative to get their thoughts on the impact and what it means for Indiana. Here's some of what they had to say.
[Video shows a collection of soundbites from past interviews in which leaders of IU's Grand Challenges appeared on Inside Indiana Business. Clips open with Fred Cate and Gerry Dick appearing on the set of Inside Indiana Business.]
Gerry Dick: Well, climate change, the addiction crisis and providing precision health programs to Hoosiers all over the state, all part of IU's Grand Challenges initiative.
Fred Cate: So, the Grand Challenges was, uh, initiative, was adopted by the Board of Trustees as part of really the bicentennial plan for the university, as a way of really giving back to the state and demonstrating the impact that we try to have in the state. And it focused almost $300 million in three areas where we would make a particular impact working with partners across the state. And those three areas, as you mentioned, were precision health, uh, dealing with environmental change, and responding to the, uh, addictions' crisis. So, for example, we sought a, set up a new Alzheimer's clinic, funded in this case almost entirely, uh, by the, uh, NIH, an Alzheimer's d-, treatment discovery center here in Indiana that's trying to provide new treatments for Alzheimer's, the nation's fastest growing and most debilitating disease, not just in Indiana, but across the entire, uh, entire country.
[In a new clip, Dick appears on the Inside Indiana Business set and introduces the Precision Health Initiative before posing a question to Tatiana Foroud, executive associate dean for research affairs at the IU School of Medicine, who appears on-screen.]
Gerry Dick: The Precision Health initiative is one of three Grand Challenges at IU. Launched in 2016, it seeks to eradicate some of the most dreaded diseases faced by Hoosiers, including triple negative breast cancer. IU says, "The research can help revolutionize the way clinical trials are being conducted for cancers around the world."
Getting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. That kind of seems to encapsulate, uh, kind of the mission. Uh, expand on that, if you would.
Tatiana Foroud: I'd be glad to. So, you're exactly right. Um, that is exactly the goal. One of the challenges is, you can't solve everything at once. So, we've been funded since 2016, since we were announced by President McRobbie. And we've really made progress in two areas that I want to talk about today. The first is triple negative breast cancer, as you mentioned. And also a childhood cancer, which is osteosarcoma. So, triple negative breast cancer's one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and it disproportionately affects African-American women. It's a cancer that we really need to have better treatments for and better ways to identify those at increased risk.
[In yet another new clip, Dick appears on the Inside Indiana Business set and introduces the Hoosier Life Survey and the Prepared for Environmental Change initiative, before Jeremy Stutsman, mayor of Goshen, Ind., appears on screen to answer a question posed by Dick.]
Gerry Dick: According to, uh, Indiana University, uh, Environmental Institute's, uh, Hoosier Life survey, more than half, 58% believe the environmental change is as- adversely affecting the country right now. The IU Environmental Resilience Institute is playing a key role in helping, uh, well over, uh, two dozen communities around the state evaluate environmental needs and build an action plan to combat climate change.
Jeremy Stutsman: As mayor, I wanted to find a way to help reduce the carbon footprint of the city of Goshen and find any and all projects that we could do to, to really, um, uh, uh, start addressing that challenge. Um, when IU came to us, uh, being part of their co- cohort has been absolutely amazing. It's brought us resources and allowed us to move a lot faster than we would have just on our own. We've got some great resources here in our community, um, and um, through, and through many institutes that we have, institutions that we have here in Goshen. But um, being part of IU's cohort has definitely accelerated our projects, and um, we're getting to the point where we're now implementing, not just talking and planning.
[In a final portion of the Inside Indiana Business sound-bite collection, Dick introduces Doug Huntsinger, executive director of NextLevel Recovery. Dick and Huntsinger appear in a split-screen interview.]
Gerry Dick: We turn now to NextLevel Recovery executive director, Doug Huntsinger. And Doug, welcome to the program.
Doug Huntsinger: Thank you Gary. Thanks to the work of, uh, some IU economists, we know that there's, uh, four billion dollar economic toll that, uh, this crisis has taken. And, and we know that, um, COVID-19 has not made this, uh, any better. So, um, w- we're really looking forward and convening people and, uh, providing experts all across the state in communities large and small as they've looked to, uh, to help provide solutions and help communities, uh, combat the epidemic in their own backyard.
Sage Steel Interview of Governor Eric Holcomb
[Gerry Dick offers on-screen introduction of Steele’s interview with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. Steele and Holcomb look directly into the camera while speaking with one another.]
Gerry Dick: Well, one theme certainly in each of these initiatives is the importance of partnerships, state, and local leaders, business and community leaders, academic leaders throughout the state of Indiana to make these initiatives work.
One of the most important and consistent partners in the process has been Indiana governor Eric Holcomb who is leading the state through extraordinary and very difficult times. Governor Holcomb and his colleagues have played a central role in each of the grand challenge initiatives. He talks now with Sage Steele about the importance of the partnership between IU and the state of Indiana.
Sage Steele: Well thanks, Gary, and Governor Holcomb. Uh, it's nice to e-meet you. That's, that's a thing nowadays, isn't it? I, I look forward to being able to say hello and give you a hug in person, but nice to talk to you on this.
Eric Holcomb: Good to Zoom, yes. Great to meet you.
Sage Steele: Yeah, Zoom, uh, i-, is now a verb, an action word.
Eric Holcomb: Yeah.
Sage Steele:... it's what we're all doing.
Eric Holcomb: Right.
Sage Steele: Um, thank you so much for, for being here. And it's interesting, because I had such a nice conversation with President McRobbie, uh, just a little bit ago as well, and so I'm, I'm interested to hear your answers on a lot of these topics. Similar perspectives, but probably a little bit different as well. So maybe start from the top, and, and where the idea of partnering with Indiana University on, on the Grand Challenges Program, where did that idea come from? Specifically the part that really fascinated me the most, that Respond to the Addictions Grand Challenge. Where did that part originate?
Eric Holcomb: Yeah, well credit where credit's due, and it, it can be traced back to President McRobbie himself, to Michael McRobbie's kind of visionary, community-minded, on the ground, how does, um, how does the data drive, not just decisions but results? And I just couldn't have been more, um, interested when he talked about Indiana University, and all of IU's partners, not just the schools of nursing, and public health, and the med school, and the hospital network, but all of their on the ground partners across the state of Indiana, and his willingness to look at, maybe, one of Indiana's, and really most states in the country, one of our biggest challenges, and that's our health and well-being of our, of-
Sage Steele: Yeah.
Eric Holcomb: ...every single citizen, and of all walks. And for him to look at one of the biggest challenges, and then offer such a, uh, to view it more as a bold opportunity, uh, and to bring that, all that expertise, and to organize it in this, um, Grand Challenge of ourselves, if you will ... I mean, that was just music to my ears.
Eric Holcomb: From that very first day forward, we've, we've continued to not just talk about a number of these things, but how do we get, um, the awareness up, the access up to more people who are struggling with addiction? Since that first discussion, our treatment beds in the state of Indiana by about 160%, which-
Sage Steele: Wow.
Eric Holcomb: It shows you just how big, you know, the need really was. And so President McRobbie was way out in front early, and has committed, really, um, from that day one, to bring all his resources, and the school, and partners, uh, to bear to increase, again, um, the awareness and, and most importantly the access.
Sage Steele: One of the things I think with any difficult topic is to, is just to talk about it, and it's-
Eric Holcomb: Yep.
Sage Steele: absolutely heartbreaking and wh-, and, and when people realize that they're not alone with it-
Eric Holcomb: Yeah.
Sage Steele: gosh, that makes all the difference in the world. Before we move on is, is there any, any story you can share? I'm sure you've met so many people along the way who have had this affect them personally, then to see what you are, you all are doing, is life-changing. Is there anything you can recall?
Eric Holcomb: Yeah, it truly is. I think every family either has been affected by it or knows someone.
Sage Steele: Yeah.
Eric Holcomb: And I certainly am no exception to that. And it, it is literally the one area, um, where our state seal has the sun on it, and it's rising, and there's been this long dispute whether it was sunset or sunrise and, um, I chose to think, and, and I've never looked at it the same, when I heard of a very close friend of mine who lost, um, their child. And then I heard of another pretty close friend of mine whose two, actually, families who were st-, their, their children were struggling with some addiction issues-
Sage Steele: Yeah.
Eric Holcomb: And so, again it affects all ages. It affects all walks. Um, and for folks who think that they're alone, we want to do all that we can to show that they're, they're not, in fact. And that, as you mentioned, Sage, that stigma that's associated ... We had to dispel that, and we had to say, "Look, this is, this is a disease that we will address with you every step of the way," and as a state sought to educate more prescribers. We've sought to improve care for folks who are struggling. We've, we've sought to, um, train more, you know, community professionals on the ground on how to assess and then treat. We've sought to get more resources to, on the ground. And, and so we're making sure that we're doing all we can to educate on the prevention front, and then make sure that the resources are there on the treatment front as well.
Sage Steele: And patience truly is a virtue with something like this, it's nothing is-
Eric Holcomb: Yeah.
Sage Steele: ... an overnight process, unfortunately. It'd be great to wave that magic wand and make it all go away, but we're all realists, and we know that we're in this for the long haul. Um, I know you said at the launch of the Addictions Grand Challenge th- this is, this is your quote, which I know you know. "From education and training, through data collection and analysis, to community and workforce development, Indiana University's Grand Challenge is going to go such a long way to help turn the tide against this crisis of addiction. We're going to beat this thing together, I just know it." A beautiful quote. So now you look ahead, you look forward. You've done so much, governor, but what, wh- what's next with this challenge in particular?
Eric Holcomb: Well, I think what's next is we've got to make sure that, you know, the, the, the rhetoric turns into results. And that's the beautiful thing about this Grand Challenge, is we measure. We know how many more boots, so to speak, are on the ground. We know how many beds are available. We're tracking that. Technology has played such an important role. We're devoting more of our resources, um, health resources. We're not just admiring the problem. The Grand Challenge is, is taught us many things, but one of the biggest things is, no matter how big the challenge is, that together these partnerships, this collaboration, it's so key, from the local to the state level, our universities, and when you get the b- ... We all rely on one another, and we're all dependent on one another.
Eric Holcomb: And so when there's not just the campus, but it's the, the campus plus the community, it's extended, that's really where the magic starts to happen, when we all start to associate on the toughest problems still out there. All that low-hanging fruit, it's been picked. Now we're talking about curing cancer, and helping folks who are addicted. Life happens, and, um, we've got to, you know, be there for one another, and obviously that's reflected in our priorities, the Grand Challenge being the, you know, the biggest of them all, so to speak, that brought all these great minds together, all these different disciplines together, and said, "Let's do this together." And it's working.
Sage Steele: Yeah. I mean hey, nothing like a, a good team, a true team, and that's what you all put together. Um, th- the collaboration, it's interesting to read about the collaboration, um, with, with businesses, with farmers, with community leaders in every single county in the state of Indiana. Can you talk about those collaborations, and what, what has come from them?
Eric Holcomb: Yeah, that's, that's, that really is the key, and when you bring together so many different perspectives around the table, and you make room for everyone, you deliberately make room for everyone at that table, and say, "Please, step up, we need your expertise because you know better what's happening in urban, rural, or suburban Indiana. You've lived there. You're rooted there."
Sage Steele: Yeah.
Eric Holcomb: And so how are we going to address this in the most efficient way? And, and that's where, because Indiana University has so many, not just different campuses, but partnerships and stakeholder relationships already on the ground, in so many different counties across our state, that it truly is more infectious than the disease itself. That how do we help, how do we come together? We've got a dream team so, so to speak, in terms of everyone having a role, figuring out what their role is. We call the play, and then let's go hit the court and, and, you know, make some magic.
Sage Steele: Listen I, I, I know that you're not going to do it, so I will, to commend you, and President McRobbie, and everybody, your entire team, for what you have done, and how you've done it, through the toughest possible, unimaginable times, over the last year plus.
Eric Holcomb: Yeah.
Sage Steele: So I'm going to put you on the spot. What are you most proud of, that you've taken out of this, especially over the last year?
Eric Holcomb: Uh, I think it's, ... Um, well thank you for that, and, and teamwork works, but it doesn't just happen. It has to be fostered. Sometimes, what I've learned in, in dealing with folks who are struggling with addiction is, sometimes finding the road to recovery is the easy part. It's staying on the road to recovery-
Sage Steele: Yeah.
Eric Holcomb: ... that is the hardest part. And, and I've seen that up close and personal. And so we have to make sure that we never back away. Whether it's our business community ... We've had incredible pillars of the community in our business community step forward and say, "What more can we do?" We've had, you know, businesses, and families, and hospitals, and universities, like the flagship, you know, Indiana University is doing with this Grand Challenge. But it's, it really does take all of us, uh, to make gains. So I'm really, really proud of the, kind of the spirit of cooperation that's been exhibited across our state, border to border.
Sage Steele: Thank you so much for what you've done, and President M- McRobbie as well. It's obviously changing lives and saving lives.
Final Closing Program Remarks
[Dick re-appears on screen to offer closing remarks. At the conclusion of Dick’s comments, the IU logo re-appears on screen along with the URL text “grandchallenges.iu.edu.”]
Gerry Dick: Well, as we bring the Indiana University Grand Challenges Summit to a close, I do want to thank you for joining us. Also a very special thanks to Governor Holcomb, president McRobbie and Sage Steele for providing your time and talents. I hope today's discussion really offered you new insights and information about the critical importance of each of the grand challenge initiatives and about the ongoing work of researchers and staff who are making it happen daily and weekly throughout the state of Indiana. To learn more about the IU grand challenge initiatives, visit grandchallenges.iu.edu. I'm Gerry Dick, thanks for joining us.
Read “IU Grand Challenges: Making Life Better for Hoosiers Everywhere”
The Grand Challenges publication includes tributes from Governor Holcomb and IU Board of Trustees Chair Michael Mirro, M.D., to President McRobbie for his bold vision in creating the Grand Challenges program. You will also learn more about how IU is leveraging the combined resources of the university and our many partners to address issues of critical importance in Indiana and around the globe.
Measuring Our Impact Across Indiana
Community-minded. Collaborative. Solutions-focused. At Indiana University, we work every day to solve pressing challenges with one focus in mind: making life better for Hoosiers everywhere.
Read about a new statewide survey of Hoosiers' thoughts on challenges facing the state and the role universities play in addressing them, commissioned as part of the Indiana University Grand Challenges program.
We define Grand Challenges as major, focused, and large-scale problems facing humanity that can be solved only by teams of dedicated researchers working across disciplines in collaboration with community partners. IU has three Grand Challenges initiatives in progress: Precision Health, Prepared for Environmental Change, and Responding to the Addictions Crisis.
It's important for universities like IU to come alongside communities that don't have the resources. We can tap into IU to help us with this battle.Mayor Scott Long of Wabash, Ind. on his collaboration with the Indiana University Addictions Grand Challenge Initiative
Together, we are tackling economic, social, and environmental problems that challenge our families and communities across our state. Four features define our impact:
Family & Community
From fighting Alzheimer’s to confronting the addictions crisis, we measure our impact on how Grand Challenges research helps individual Hoosiers and improves communities, our economy and the quality of life in Indiana.
Our commitment to Hoosiers means we’ve dedicated hundreds of faculty from dozens of schools across six IU campuses so that our work matches the scale of the Grand Challenges we seek to address.
Each Grand Challenge initiative reflects a commitment to focusing IU’s resources—financial and otherwise—in new and strategic ways to increase efficiency, drive innovation, and apply new solutions that benefit Hoosiers everywhere.
We work with and for our most critical partners, from mayors and elected officials, business leaders and community organizations. Solving our grandest challenges calls us to work together.
Our Grand Challenges
Precision Health Initiative
The goal of precision medicine is to get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Our first Grand Challenge, the Precision Health Initiative (PHI), announced in 2016, aims to accomplish that goal. PHI is optimizing the prevention and treatment of human diseases such as hard-to-treat cancers, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease through rigorous study of genetic, developmental, behavioral, and environmental factors.Learn more about the Precision Health Initiative
Prepared for Environmental Change
Our second Grand Challenge, Prepared for Environmental Change, started in early 2017. A broad, bipartisan coalition of researchers, government and business leaders, and nonprofit and community organizations are joining together to help Indiana better prepare and plan for the environmental changes that are impacting the way we live, grow food, and conduct business.Learn more about Prepared for Environmental Change
Responding to the Addictions Crisis
Our third Grand Challenge, Responding to the Addictions Crisis, was launched in late 2017. Its goals are to curtail addiction in Indiana, decrease opioid overdose deaths, and reduce the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. With many partners, this initiative is one of the nation’s most comprehensive state-based responses to the opioid addiction crisis—and the largest led by a university.Learn more about the Addictions Crisis
I think that this is an opportunity for our community to define what mitigating climate change looks like for us. For our businesses, for our residents, for our students, for people of all ages. What I’m excited about is that this is a community-based approach that is using science to help inform us of how we develop policy.Mayor Emily Styron of Zionsville, Ind. on her community’s collaboration with IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute
At Indiana University, we believe in the power of discovery to change the course of human history. This power is rooted in the work of dedicated researchers, practitioners, and experts from all disciplines and sectors, in projects both big and small. Backed by more than 1,200 faculty and thousands of students and staff, as well as more than 200 research centers across seven statewide campuses, IU’s research initiatives are bold, data-driven, solution-focused, and fueled by an insatiable curiosity that is capable of leading the next frontier in human progress.Learn more about IU research