Indianapolis-based health research group wins $33M federal grant

An Indianapolis-based health institute has won a $33 million, five-year federal grant to study such pressing issues as the state’s high rates of smoking, drug abuse and infant mortality.

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute said Tuesday morning it was chosen to receive the grant from the National Institutes for Health to fund its work in improving the health and economy of Indiana.

As part of the effort, the Indiana institute also is launching an ambitious program to enlist tens of thousands of Indiana residents to participate in its research and educational programs.

The program, called “All IN for Health” aims to sign up at least 100,000 Indiana residents to its health research registry over the next three years. So far, the initiative has recruited more than 6,000 people.

The institute, founded in 2008, is a statewide partnership of Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, along with numerous life sciences businesses, government entities and community organizations. It is housed at the Indiana University School of Medicine on the IUPUI campus

The institute’s goal is to improve public health by building research programs that can be used in clinical trials and medical practice to improve health outcomes.

The volunteers could be matched to research studies and educational programs ranging from diet and exercise to bone density and smoking cessation.

The website,, provides public health information, such as tips for expectant mothers interested in quitting smoking. The website also offers opportunities to become research volunteers and be matched to any of the 1,000 active Indiana-based research studies made possible through IU, Purdue and Notre Dame.

Under the program, volunteers would receive an email when they are matched with a study and can then decide if they want to participate.

The goal is to make Indiana healthier. The state consistently lands near the bottom of the nation’s health ranking lists, with too many babies dying before their first birthday and too many people smoking and abusing drugs.

This is the third round of grant funding from the NIH.  The institute used its first multimillion dollar award to build research infrastructure, recruit researchers and identify the state’s greatest health challenges.

The second grant helped the institute build collaborations with outside organizations and initiated research projects.

The institute was founded in 2008 by Dr. Anantha Shekhar, who serves as its director and is also IU associate vice president of research.

“Our vision is of an Indiana that is one of the nation’s healthiest states,” Shekhar said in written remarks. “In order to achieve that goal, we need community participation in all phases of research—from the basic science that happens in the laboratory to the clinical care provided to patients—to help shed new light on the best ways to prevent, treat and manage health issues in our state.”

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