Tech Talk: Catching Up on Some Conversations


Two of the focus areas of the Indiana Chamber’s EchoChamber podcast are education and technology. Both take center stage in the early months of 2018.

Two conversations – with Marian University President Dan Elsener and WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber – are available now. Three more to come feature Trine University President Earl Brooks (January 30), Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Bob Stutz (date to be scheduled) and South Bend’s Rich Carlton, president and COO of Data Realty (February 27).

Innovation is one of the themes that carries throughout these discussions. Elsener was greeted with a great deal of skepticism when he announced plans to start a medical school at the private Indianapolis university. Its first graduates came in 2017. That is among a variety of initiatives that has Marian well on the way to doubling in size by 2025.

WGU Indiana brought a new online, competency-based approach when it became the state’s eighth public university in 2010. It offers an avenue for working students (80% are employed full time) to advance their skills and earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Trine has expanded its academic and athletic offerings, with significant growth both geographically and in enrollment.

Stutz has touted Indiana’s tech environment since his arrival in 2016. Carlton is passionate about data management and community development. We know you will enjoy their insights and getting to know them a little better.

You can listen to all EchoChamber conversations online. Subscribe at iTunes, GooglePlay or wherever you get your podcasts to be notified about the latest episode. Also, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts.

Velodrome/Indy Cycloplex a ‘Major’ Asset for Central Indiana

The soon-to-released July/August BizVoice will feature a series of stories on cycling in Indiana. One piece will feature an interview with Dean Peterson, head coach of Marian University’s dominant college cycling program (which now boasts 26 national championships).

In addition to the hard work of Peterson and his staff, one asset the team has parlayed into a big advantage is the Indy Cycloplex and Major Taylor Velodrome. Visible to those driving on I-65 on the city’s north side, the bike park is operated by Peterson and the school to serve the public. He explains:

The Velodrome is a unique asset for a school, and three years ago, Marian entered into an agreement with the city to manage the Indy Cycloplex park (over 40 acres). We wanted to retool and revitalize the park and invite the community in a little more – and maybe re-energize to a new level. The city recognized it was hard for them to do that with the money they had, but they looked at us because we could be more autonomous in how we could raise money and be more creative in our operations.

It’s certainly a great synergy and it helps us recruit – and the community gets to come in and race and ride with our riders. We do run this as a city park in a unique setting.

There’s very few Velodromes in the country with the amenities we have here. It was built for the International Sports Festival and the Pan Am Games, and this is an amazing set-up with bathrooms and fountains and places to change. Usually tracks are out in the middle of nowhere. But it is expensive to keep it all going. But I think we were the right people to take it over and have been very happy with our partnership with the city.

He adds that developing the BMX track has been a benefit, as well as a challenge.

That’s been a challenge financially, but we’ve learned a lot and that has more capacity to generate income while making a lot of young riders happy and generate great cyclists. They learn skills there that are very hard to teach anywhere else.

Furthermore, Peterson says the school strives to communicate the history surrounding the Velodrome’s namesake, Major Taylor, as well. For more on this champion cyclist who overcame racial prejudice, visit the Major Taylor Association’s web page.

Indiana’s New Medical School Opens

Tried to get in to see your primary care physician lately? It’s possible you’ve found it harder and harder to get a quick turnaround time on an appointment, unless it was scheduled months in advance.

There’s a likely reason for that: a shortage of primary care physicians, plus more patients in the system, equals less time for you to see your doctor. (That’s not to mention what will happen when the full brunt of the Affordable Care Act begins in 2014, forcing huge numbers of new patients to vie for attention from a dwindling number of physicians.)

In 2011, I wrote a story for BizVoice® magazine about Marian University opening the first college of osteopathic medicine in the state – and the first new medical school to open here in more than a century.

The Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine will open next week and will produce about 150 graduates per year, according to a press release from the school.

While writing that story I found some sobering facts about our looming doctor shortage:

“The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine is predicting a shortage of more than 150,000 doctors by 2025 (nationwide).

“Indiana’s statistics are staggering: The state is short 5,000 physicians. By 2020, Indiana will need 2,000 more primary care physicians. Of 92 counties, 57 are medically underserved. The mental health provider shortage is 38%, while the deficiency in primary health care physicians is 30%”

So you can see we have a dire need for more physicians.

Do you know the difference between an osteopathic college and a college of medicine? Here’s a quick run-down of the differences:

  • Doctors who graduate from an osteopathic college earn a DO degree; those who graduate from a college of medicine earn an MD degree
  • DO’s and MD’s are in the same medical board; qualifications are essentially the same
  • It mainly comes down to philosophy. When I spoke to the college’s dean, Dr. Paul Evans, in 2011, he said this about the difference: “The philosophy of osteopathic medicine stresses looking at the patient as a whole and the wellness and prevention aspects of medical care. The bottom line (for both) is to treat the patient”
  • Students in both types of school earn a four-year degree and then begin three to seven years of postdoctoral medical education, residencies and fellowships
  • Osteopathic medicine traditionally graduates more primary care physicians

After that story, I sought out a DO for my primary care physician and am quite happy with the results. Cheers to the new school of osteopathic medicine!

Filling the Call for Potential Doctors

Indiana (and much of the rest of the country) needs more primary care physicians. Dr. Richard Feldman, former state health commissioner, provided some interesting statistics and analysis in his Tuesday Indianapolis Star column.

The Indiana University School of Medicine is a national leader, but it can’t do the job alone. Feldman applauds the IU efforts and warmly welcomes the planned osteopathic medical school at Marian University. That is the latest area in which Marian, led by a strong Indiana Chamber supporter in president Dan Elsener, has stepped up to be part of the solution.

Feldman writes:

The announcement of a proposed osteopathic medical school by the Indiana Osteopathic Association and Marian University on Jan. 15 is a welcome development for the future primary-care needs of Indiana. Currently, about 20 IU graduates enter family medicine residencies yearly, with nearly 80 first-year family medicine residency positions available in Indiana. The gap is obvious.

But give IU credit. Its priorities are evolving. Dean Craig Brater’s support for increasing the number of graduates apt to enter primary-care careers as a goal for the medical school is impressive and is prominently reflected in its expansion plans. His willingness to embrace a new osteopathic medical school in a collegial and collaborative manner is awesome. As a residency director, I share his regrets that IU turns away hundreds of qualified students each year, many of whom are Hoosiers. There is more than enough room for another medical school. Despite plans for a new osteopathic school, it is important for IU to persevere in its plans for expansion. Both schools will be needed to meet Indiana’s future physician requirements.