Indiana research institute receives $33mn grant to improve health
A state-wide network of researchers and...
Indiana consistently lands near the bottom of the nation's health ranking lists, but his is all set to change.
A state-wide network of researchers and staff at Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame have sought to work together and seek the support of Indiana residents to drive this transformation.
"This NIH grant in excess of $33mn to the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is an outstanding achievement, demonstrating Indiana University's commitment to research excellence and service to our community," noted IU President Michael A. McRobbie.
"IU researchers, as part of this multi-campus and multi-institutional effort, are collaborating to solve some of our state's most critical health challenges. Together, we are striving to make Indiana one of the nation's healthiest states."
Indiana's preeminent research universities are collaborating through the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), which has recently been awarded more than $33mn in renewed National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for the next five years. The institute was founded in 2008 by Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, Indiana CTSI Director and IU Associate Vice President of Research and University Clinical Affairs.
"We are thrilled to receive this continued support from the NIH," said Dr. Shekhar, who is also executive associate dean for research affairs at IU School of Medicine. "It enables us to continue improving health for people living in Indiana, to recruit more researchers and seed innovations in the state, and to speed the movement of discoveries across the universities' labs to solutions benefiting people living in Indiana."
Dr Carmel Egan, PhD, Indiana CTSI chief operating officer, added: "The Indiana CTSI was founded in 2008 to improve health and the economy of Indiana and beyond through building translational research programmes.
“The institute used its first multimillion dollar award from the NIH to build research infrastructure, recruit talent and identify the state's greatest health challenges. The CTSI's second grant award built bridges and collaborations and initiated research projects. Now, we are seeing the outcomes of that effort and improvements in health are being made, with more to come."
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Some of the progress researchers have made through the Indiana CTSI in recent years includes alerting state and local lawmakers to dangerous lead levels in South Bend and creating lead test kits as the first line of prevention against lead exposure. Researchers are also reducing risk factors for infant mortality in Central Indiana by lowering rates of depression and anxiety by 20% and improving nutrition intake, with a reported 24% fewer meals skipped per week.
"The Indiana CTSI is an incredible asset to the State of Indiana. This programme is one of the best of its kind in the country and enables our research universities and private companies to collaborate, speed clinical translation and have more impact," observed Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, Vice President for University Clinical Affairs at IU and Dean of the IU School of Medicine.
"This new grant and the programmes it makes possible will not only benefit our researchers, but will ultimately improve health for countless Hoosiers across the state."
"There is no better time than now to be living in Indiana from a health perspective," reflected Dr. Shekhar.
"Our vision is of an Indiana that is one of the nation's healthiest states, and 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."
The Indiana CTSI has also launched a new initiative called "All IN for Health," which aims to sign up at least 100,000 Indiana residents to its health research volunteer registry over the next three years. So far, the initiative has recruited more than 6,000 people.
"Until we clearly understand the full picture of health--including individual motivations--for a diverse population of our state's residents, we won't be able to come up with more successful solutions that will last," explained Programme Director, Tiffany Campbell.
The new grant is the Indiana CTSI's third, five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The CTSA Programme, which includes a nationwide network of more than 50 academic medical centres, aims to improve the translational research process to get more treatments to more patients more quickly.
How can the healthcare industry build trust with consumers?
One of the many ways the pandemic has impacted society is that it has firmly cast the healthcare industry in the public spotlight. From producing ventilators and PPE to developing life-saving vaccines, consumers have looked to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to keep us safe and find a way out of the Covid-19 crisis.
As a result, healthcare companies have an opportunity to build upon this and utilise their marketing to drive greater engagement and trust with consumers. When it comes to effective marketing, it’s vital to remember the important role which visuals play. Consumers increasingly engage with brands through the visual communications and storytelling they absorb while online or browsing through media channels. These visual communications can have a huge impact not only on consumer purchasing decisions but also the relationship between brands and customers.
At Getty Images, we work with healthcare companies throughout Europe to advise them on their visual content. This study forms part of the research for our insight platform Visual GPS, which looks at the key factors affecting consumer decision making and how that impacts their visual choices.
In partnership with YouGov, we surveyed 10,000 consumers globally and have been tracking this consumer sentiment for the past two years. This latest deep-dive into the healthcare industry is part of our wider on-going research, and aims to better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector and what motivates their visual preferences.
Our research revealed that many companies are not using visuals as effectively as they could. In the UK, for instance, the vast majority of consumers do not feel represented by the visual communications which businesses are producing – only 7% of British respondents to our global Visual GPS survey say they felt represented. That is even lower than the global average of 14%.
This latest deep dive into the healthcare industry has uncovered some important insights that can help us better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector.
Mental health should be centre stage
A key finding shows that mental health remains a highly relevant issue for consumers. Over nine in ten British consumers think it is important to talk about mental health and put it on an equal footing with physical and emotional health. Not surprisingly, 55% of British consumers believe that more people are being diagnosed with depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health across Europe. Health and pharmaceutical companies should acknowledge this in their visual communications but do so in an empathetic and compassionate way. Only five years ago, visuals around mental health often depicted people alone, isolated and expressing feelings of shame, whereas now we are seeing a more empathetic and supportive approach to visualising mental health - with an increasing number of positive visuals showing support groups, or individuals proactively seeking and finding support.
Visual communications that show support for mental well-being in a meaningful way will resonate deeply with consumers.
A more holistic approach
Another key finding is that consumers want to focus more on holistic health. Our survey found that the majority of UK consumers place an almost equal importance on emotional, physical and mental health, and almost three quarters (73%) placed the health and well-being of family as a top priority.
It’s important that healthcare companies reflect this. Our research paired with ongoing image testing revealed that consumers want to see visuals that humanise healthcare, so companies should consider visualising inclusive care across intersecting factors such as age, ethnicity and gender. Brands can help establish trust with their customers by highlighting a collaborative relationship between medical professional and patient, as well as ensuring that their visual choices feel genuine.
Technology and innovation in healthcare are gaining traction
Thirdly, eHealth and purposeful innovation was another key finding. Consumers want innovation that will meaningfully support their care. Particularly in Europe, the older generation will pay more for brands that use technology to provide advice and recommendations, while Gen Z & Millennials are willing to pay for self-service capabilities. It’s important therefore for healthcare companies to incorporate purposeful innovation in their visual communication and demonstrate consumers at the centre of accessible eHealth.
Given these insights, what visual content do consumers expect to see from pharmaceutical brands? Our research highlighted three key themes.
- Consumers want to see how healthcare companies fit into people’s lives. Accessible health services are a key factor here. Decision makers should build trust by showing consumers at the centre of a holistic healthcare ecosystem.
- Consumers want to see the emotional rewards others get from using a healthcare company. This can be achieved by building brand loyalty through empathetic and inclusive visual storytelling.
- Finally, consumers want to see people who are similar to them and their lives. British consumers want to see people that look like them and reflect their lived experiences in advertising and brand communication. Decision-makers should ensure that their visual communication is inclusive and authentic and represents the diverse population of the market in which they’re operating.
Ultimately, the key to successful visual storytelling for pharma and healthcare businesses is to ensure that they understand what matters to their audience while establishing trust of care. An important element of this is authentically representing the full spectrum of the population. That means representing all ethnicities, ages, abilities, body shapes, sexuality, religion and genders, to ensure patients of all backgrounds feel included and represented.
Healthcare brands should bear in mind that, as a result of the pandemic’s impact on healthcare systems around the world, consumers may be feeling anxious about whether they will be able to access care if they need it. The healthcare industry has an opportunity to reassure customers and build greater engagement and trust by showing them that they matter through inclusive visuals that represents them authentically at the heart of brand storytelling.