Notre Dame virtually hosts annual Indiana CTSI retreat

Author: Brandi Wampler

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On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, the University of Notre Dame hosted a virtual Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) retreat with over 125 participants. The retreat focused on the topic of social and structural determinants of health and featured speakers from Indiana University, IUPUI, Purdue University, and Notre Dame.

Keynote speaker Darrell Hudson, associate professor at Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, St. Louis and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, discussed how understanding structural and social determinants of health are essential to achieving equity. He also spoke to racial disparity and the importance of considering public policy.

Joshua Vest, professor and vice-chair of health policy and management at Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, spoke specifically to accessing existing data from healthcare resources and leveraging it for ongoing research programs. 

“We were grateful to be able to bring together such an esteemed group of researchers to discuss this important area of focus for the Indiana CTSI: social and structural determinants of health,” said Melanie DeFord, assistant vice president for research, as well as deputy director and Access Technology Program liaison for the Indiana CTSI at Notre Dame. “As we look forward to the next chapter of this statewide institute, our goal is to show the ongoing work we have in this area and how we can help make an impact throughout Indiana.”

At the retreat, Sarah Wiehe, co-director of the Indiana CTSI, provided an overview of the Indiana CTSI by discussing the resources and programs available from the institute to support researchers across the state and explaining to attendees how to get more involved with the Indiana CTSI through these outlets. 

In addition to the 10 speaker presentations, Notre Dame also offered a poster session that touched on three categories – drug development and target identification, bioengineering and device engineering, and applied math, statistics, and data science – and a community voice panel featuring Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, president of the St. Joseph County Board of Health and Notre Dame liaison to the Indiana CTSI Community Health Partnerships, Dr. Mark Fox, deputy health officer for the St. Joseph County Health Department and associate dean at the IU School of Medicine South Bend, Breanca Merritt, chief health equity and ADA officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and Waldo Mikels-Carrasco, director of community and governmental solutions at the Michiana Health Information Network and Indiana Health Information Exchange.

To learn more about the event including exploring speaker bios, watching the event’s recordings, and reading the poster abstracts, please visit


Brandi Wampler / Research Communications Specialist

Notre Dame Research / University of Notre Dame / +1.574.631.8183 / @UNDResearch

About Notre Dame Research:

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.

Originally published by Brandi Wampler at on March 16, 2021.