Grand Challenge Initiatives

Indiana University (IU) is pioneering the approach of pairing faculty and students from all disciplines in partnership with cross-sector teams of community and business leaders to address the economic, social, and environmental problems negatively impacting our state and the world. Its Grand Challenges Program is a partnership to tackle issues that impact our state like cancer and degenerative disease, or unpredictable severe weather and dwindling natural resources. The Polis Center is currently working on two of these initiatives: Precision Health and Responding to the Addictions Crisis.

Precision Health

The Precision Health Initiative (PHI) is an investment of new resources, personnel, and broad collaboration with key businesses and community partners. Applying the results of extensive research, PHI aims to cure at least one cancer through the development of new cell, gene and immune therapies. PHI will also seek to cure one childhood disease and unlock preventative treatments for one neurodegenerative disease and a chronic illness.

The Polis Center collaborated on the development of a proof-of-concept Exposome API that provides access to the SAVI database for the initiative's Health Data Commons. The access to SAVI data via the Health Data Commons will help clinical researchers and health care providers consider patient social and environmental conditions in care and treatment decisions.

Responding to the Addictions Crisis

Responding to the Addictions Crisis aims to reduce deaths from addiction, ease the burden of drug addiction on Hoosier communities, and help to improve health and economic outcomes. Utilizing IU’s seven campuses, and in partnership with state officials, IU Health, Eskenazi Health and others, this statewide initiative is one of the nation’s most comprehensive state-based responses to the opioid addiction crisis—and the largest led by a university.

The Polis Center, in partnership with Regenstrief Institute, the IU School of Medicine, the State of Indiana's Management Performance Hub, and the Indiana Business Research Center developed the Indiana Addictions Data Commons, a decision-support framework for sharing and integrating data and information pertinent to the state's opioid epidemic. In addition, Polis is designing and developing the first-of-its-kind chemical surveillance system database to connect clinical information, overdose locations, chemical drug identification, and drug concentration information. The goal is to enable more effective drug abuse prevention strategies, and help the state craft better policies and allocate resources more effectively.