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Butler Provides Critical Clinical Expertise to Insurance Industry

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 04 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Eric Farmer ’07 remembers being frustrated.

It was around 2014, and Farmer, an HIV Clinical Pharmacist at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, was working at one of the largest providers of HIV care in Indiana, yet he was spending most of his time filling out paperwork.

The Affordable Care Act was in the midst of being implemented, and many of Farmer’s patients were having issues with their health insurance marketplace plans covering the HIV medications he prescribed. So, Farmer was looking for an “in” at the Indiana Department of Insurance in hopes of influencing the process on a larger scale.

Then, an email from a former Butler University professor popped into his inbox.

Carriann Smith, professor of pharmacy practice, was working on a project —with the Department of Insurance—on marketplace health insurance plans. Would Farmer be interested in helping?

“It was unbelievable timing,” says Farmer, who graduated from Butler with a degree in Pharmacy in 2007. “I was desperately looking for a way to improve the process when it comes to deciding what drugs insurance companies cover on marketplace plans. We were having issues with plans covering some of the HIV medications and not others, and I wanted to influence the process on a much bigger scale than just my institution.”

Now, about four years later, the partnership between Butler and the Department of Insurance, which has involved about 25 Butler undergrads, five Butler alumni, and 11 Butler faculty, is doing just that—influencing the process. The tool they created, which insurance companies in Indiana fully implemented last year, specifies what medications insurance companies should cover for 17 diseases that are health priorities in the state.

One purpose of health insurance plans available on the marketplace, Smith says, was to provide a level playing field, and to make sure individuals with certain diseases were not discriminated against by insurance companies in terms of the level of coverage provided.

However, prior to this tool, insurance companies were deciding which medications to cover for each disease. There was limited external clinical perspective or dialogue with experts about why certain medications would or would not be covered, Smith says.

“Our tool takes into account all of the latest research, the published literature, and uses the clinical experience and expertise of our faculty, as well as external experts,” Smith says. “The goal is to bridge the gap between the regulators, the insurance companies, and the clinicians, and get everybody on the same page. We look at the evidence and, based on that evidence, say 'Is that side effect of that medication really true, or is a prior authorization really needed, or, from a clinical perspective, this really should be covered.' Medicine is not always black and white, and this now allows for more of a dialogue.”

The Department of Insurance now shares the tool with insurance companies in Indiana, who in turn use it while finalizing their marketplace insurance plans for the year. Plans are then submitted to the Department of Insurance for approval. The tool is used by the insurance companies when deciding which medications to cover for the 17 diseases it looks at.

By providing this expertise, and in turn, this tool, to insurance companies, Butler is adding a clinical perspective to the medication decision-making process when it comes to designing insurance plans. Most insurance companies have limited clinical expertise on staff when thinking through which drugs should be covered. As a result, the clinical perspective is not always taken into consideration or discussed. This process adds that clinical expertise, which in turn could result in a more thorough development of  insurance plans.

“Our goal is not necessarily to make more drugs covered, but to make sure the key products are covered,” Smith says. “We need to weigh the benefits and potential side effects for patients. So our job as clinicians is to carefully consider the literature and evaluate whether or not a treatment is best.”

Keeping up with the latest literature and research has been the main focus of Drew Johnson, a P3 Pharmacy major, who has been involved in the project since 2018. Johnson reviews all of the generic products that come to market and makes sure the tools for bipolar, depression, and MS reflect the most current medications.

To do that, Johnson collaborates with clinical pharmacy specialists, reads up on drug industry newsletters, sifts through literature in the latest databases, and, occasionally, whips out his notes from the clinical experts who recently taught his classes at Butler to see if there is a particular drug in the pipeline that he should be aware of.

“Without having an external clinician looking at these plans, it is possible for the insurance company to look past the clinical perspective,” Johnson says. “Our involvement helps to ensure that quality insurance programs are sold throughout the state of Indiana to all individuals.”

That was essentially why the Department of Insurance reached out to Butler in the first place.

Jenifer Groth, spokesperson for the Department of Insurance, says the Department reached out to Butler in an effort to leverage the pharmacy program’s expertise, as the Department worked to determine if insurance carriers were covering an adequate amount of prescription drugs.

Which all leads back to Eric Farmer and all that paperwork.

As the Affordable Care Act was being implemented, Farmer was noticing that many of his patients with marketplace plans were having trouble getting coverage for the HIV medications he was prescribing.

“Keep in mind, when it comes to HIV, these pills are expensive,” he says. “To control HIV, the first line regimen is usually $2,500 to $3,000, and it only gets more expensive from there.”

The problem was, Farmer was seeing that most of his patients with marketplace plans were getting denied those first line regimens. The insurance companies were asking for prior authorizations for those drugs. Sometimes, insurance companies would not only ask for a prior authorization, but they would instead recommend trying a different drug—usually one from the 1990s, or one that was no longer on the market in the U.S.

“HIV is a field that moves super fast and many insurance companies weren’t keeping up,” Farmer says. “I would spend the majority of my day filling out paperwork, and I am lucky that I was able to. Imagine a small primary care doctor in rural Indiana—if he or she gets a prior authorization back from an insurance company, they likely won’t have the time or person power to fill out that paperwork. Instead, they will just ask the insurance company what will they cover, and just prescribe whatever the insurance company says they will cover. As a result, that patient is not getting the best care.”

Now, Farmer is working on the HIV tool to help guide insurance companies. One aspect of Farmer’s work is determining what medications should be covered, and which should require prior authorizations and which shouldn’t—all from a clinical perspective.

 

MEDIA CONTACT
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
317-940-9257 (mobile: 914-815-5656)

Pharmacy
AcademicsCommunity

Butler Provides Critical Clinical Expertise to Insurance Industry

Butler has developed a tool that could aid in a more thorough development of insurance plans.

Apr 04 2019 Read more
Arts & CultureCommunity

Blue Note: The Butler Youth Jazz Program

BY Marc Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Mar 26 2019

Kent Hickey snaps his fingers—one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. The drummer kicks in—CH-ch-ch, CH-ch-ch, along with the piano—doo-doo-dah-doo-doo.

"Good afternoon, everybody," the Butler University senior trumpet/jazz studies major tells the audience. "We're very excited to be here on a Sunday afternoon at the Jazz Kitchen."

Hickey introduces the five-piece band, and it launches into Charles Mingus' Nostalgia in Times Square, segueing into Henry Mancini's Days of Wine and Roses.

It's the final day in the spring session of the Butler Youth Jazz Program, and the musicians—students from local high schools and middle schools—are getting a chance to show what they've learned. They've been rehearsing for two hours every Sunday for eight weeks, and now they're finishing with a concert in front of  about 200 friends and family members.

"It's been a real pleasure working with these guys," Hickey says from the stage. He serves as a Teaching Fellow in the Butler Community Arts School, which administers the Youth Jazz Program, and has taught at summer jazz camps, as well as during the school year, for almost all of his time at Butler. "These guys are really special. They're really hard workers. They practice their parts and they're ready to play at every rehearsal. Great questions, really curious."

Hickey's band—the second of three that will perform—finishes with Duke Ellington's Caravan, then yields the stage to the program's 17-piece big band for three songs. The last of those is a version of Freddie Hubbard's Crisis.

*

The Butler Youth Jazz Program is Associate Professor of Music Matt Pivec's brainchild. Pivec brought the idea with him from California State University, Stanislaus, where he taught previously.

In California, he was responsible for everything in the program—attracting students, teaching, scheduling, and more. At Butler, he teamed up with the Butler Community Arts School (BCAS), which offers a variety of affordable arts instruction to anyone ages 5 and up, including adults. hat enables Pivec to recruit and teach.

"My job is easy," Pivec says after the concert. "You get great kids in a room with really good teachers and let them learn great music. Then, usually, good things happen."

The Youth Jazz Program yields numerous benefits. Butler's Jazz Studies program gets an early look at local talent, as well as the opportunity to recruit those students to Butler. The Butler students who serve as Teaching Fellows get to hone their teaching skills and work with older, more experienced teachers and professionals who are part of the program.

As for students in the program, they learn to play together and develop self-confidence. They meet other musicians they might never have met otherwise, and they get to raise their talent level. Pivec says he's seen several students arranging jam sessions and gigs on their own through the relationships they've made through the program.

"That's really special," he says. "That comes with working hard at something and getting better at it—and being recognized for it, too."

*

Mitchell Remington understands that. Remington, now a senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis, started in the Butler Youth Jazz Program when he was a sixth-grader.

"There's a really wide spectrum of skills in the program," he says, "so the learning curve gets pretty steep. But it's cool to have an environment outside of school. The teachers know where you're at and they respect it and they really help."

Mitchell's mother, Lynn, heard about the program from the band director at his middle school and thought it would be a good fit for her son. He was a little younger than students were supposed to be, but she contacted Pivec, who offered Mitchell an audition. He passed.

"It's become his passion," Lynn says. "He's in the jazz band in high school. This allows him so much more of an outlet for him to learn, collaborate with other musicians, and play with a group that's different from what he experiences at school."

"We've tried to encourage his friends to do it," adds Mitchell's dad, Grant. "Other people I know, if they have kids who are interested in jazz, we tell them, ‘you've gotta get down there and try it’. Because it really is a great program."

Mitchell says he's been able to parlay what he's learned through the program and the friendships he's made into gigs in the Indianapolis area.

"And all of them are with people I've met here—whether it's an instructor or a Butler student or another student I'm in a combo with," he says. "The networking piece of this has been huge for me."

And in the fall, Mitchell will be a first-year student at Butler.

Arts & CultureCommunity

Blue Note: The Butler Youth Jazz Program

Students are able to parlay what they learn through the program into gigs in the Indianapolis area.

Mar 26 2019 Read more

Ready for the Real World at Roche

by Kylie Stine ’21

 

 

On any summer day, walk down the halls of Roche Holding AG, a multi-faceted, international healthcare company, and you are likely to find a Butler Bulldog. Through developing a strong partnership with the University over the course of two decades, Roche has been able to build a talent pipeline straight from 46th Street and Sunset Boulevard to their North American headquarters on the northside of Indianapolis. Each year, Roche recruits more and more Butler students to its summer internship program and, in turn, employs an increasing number of alumni to fill its professional ranks.

“Because we live in an ever-evolving world, a diverse skill set is crucial,” says Julie Schrader, Associate Director of Internship and Career Services and Butler alumna. “Employers [like Roche] love Butler students because they come into the workforce and hit the ground running. When they are finished with a task, instead of asking, ‘What now?’ they ask, ‘What more can I do?’ Instead of standing on the sidelines, they take initiative, provide input, and want to be heard.”

Senior Emily Flandermeyer ’19 is a prime example of this type of student. After attending a career fair last year, she applied for and was accepted to the Roche summer internship program. Although she is a psychology major, her position was in the communication department.

Flandermeyer began her position at Roche with previous internship experience working in psychology research and higher education. At Roche, she began working in bigger teams, thus collaborating with people with diverse backgrounds, degrees, and skill sets.

“My internship with Roche gave me the ability to gain diversity of experience,” Flandermeyer says. “As a Bulldog, Butler prepared me for the internship through its liberal arts curriculum structure. Butler makes it possible for me to major in psychology and earn a minor in both neuroscience and digital media production, so I take a variety of classes in three different departments. Because I am encouraged to pursue both my technical and creative interests, I have so much fluidity when it comes to the workforce.”

As a communication intern, Emily worked with project management, brand management, and video production. Roche also recruits interns in many other departments, from sales operation and training, marketing strategy and services, centralized diagnostics marketing, and conference and site planning.

And these real-world experiences can often pay off. Upon completing her internship, Flandermeyer was offered a full-time position at Roche which she will begin this July.

Community

Ready for the Real World at Roche

Roche recruits many Butler students to its summer internship program and employs an increasing number of alumni.

Community

Caring for Our Community at the Community Outreach Pharmacy

BY Marc Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Mar 13 2019

The man’s blood pressure is 160/88, which is one reason Butler University Pharmacy student Michael Grim is sitting beside him on a folding chair, explaining why it’s important for the man to take his medicine and an 81-milligram aspirin as prescribed.

Grim sits with the man for a few minutes to make sure he understands. When he’s sure the man does, Grim hands over a bag containing his prescription.

It’s a scene that will play itself out a few dozen times on this particular Saturday, when Grim and five of his Pharmacy classmates are volunteering at the Butler University Community Outreach Pharmacy (BUCOP) on the eastside of Indianapolis.

From 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturdays, BUCOP volunteers are an integral part of the IU Student Outreach Clinic, which provides care for underserved people who live in the area near the Neighborhood Fellowship Church, 3102 East 10th Street.

Here, inside the church, Butler Pharmacy students join University of Indianapolis students studying Physical Therapy, and IU students training in medicine, dentistry, occupational therapy, social work, ophthalmology, law, and other areas, to get practical experiences in the field.

In 2018, 217 Butler Pharmacy volunteers filled 3,275 prescriptions for 1,047 patients—some were repeat visitors to the Community Outreach Pharmacy. Mostly it's preventative medicine—for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acute sicknesses like strep throat.

BUCOP spent over $9,500 on medications and medical supplies. It also works with partners like CVS, which donated vials, and Walgreens, which donated flu shots.

"We’ve had some patients who are so happy with the students that they cried in gratitude," says Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Kacey Carroll '12, who serves as BUCOP faculty advisor. "I think that’s meaningful for the students to see their impact. Some come just to  say 'hi' and 'thank you.' One patient didn’t understand what high blood pressure meant. Our student spent an hour with her to explain. No one had done anything like that with the patient before. Though it took a long time, it was time well worth it."

*

On this particular Saturday, there are no tears—just grateful patients. Grim and Kate Gordon, another P2 Pharmacy student, are the managers today. Their job is overseeing the operation and working with patients to explain their medicines.

"It's really cool being with all these other areas of practice," Grim says. "We communicate with the medical team all the time."

To their left is Alyssa Mason. She's training to be a manager, so she's watching what Gordon is doing. At the tables behind them, Tyler Kennedy is reading the prescriptions, instructions, and dosages written by the doctor so she can make the label. Rachel Robb is recording prescriptions in the database and printing their labels to pass on to fillers so they can fill them. And Lauren Schmidt is filling prescriptions and giving them to the pharmacist to check.

The pharmacist today is Bradley Carqueville Pharm.D. '17, who's in his second year of residency with Community Health Network, specializing in ambulatory care. Carqueville had volunteered at the clinic when he was a student; now he's the licensing professional, double-checking what the students are doing.

"I let the students run the show," he says. "They're supposed to do all the counseling, they do all the filling, and the documenting. I'm just here making sure everything is right, but I'm supposed to be in the background."

If the students have questions, they can ask Carqueville or the two Medication Therapy Consultants in the next room. Today, that's Chandler Howell and Nichole Barnard, both of whom are set to graduate in May.

"It's rewarding to be here, knowing that it's a great thing for the community," Howell says. "It's also rewarding to work with the medical team. You have so many opportunities to work with so many professions so closely. It gives you more experience working with the entire team, and I think it helps seeing what the other professions are doing, their thought processes."

"Rewarding" is a word that comes up often in conversations with the student volunteers. Grim tells the story of a patient on oxygen who was out of the inhalers he needed to breathe. He helped him fill out the paperwork to get the man what he needed.

"For me, what's most rewarding are the educational aspects—being able to talk to the patients after we fill the medications and counsel them on specific things," Gordon says. "For example, one time a lady picked up a medication for her cholesterol. I started asking her questions about it and she was like, 'I don't know why I have to have a cholesterol medication. Everybody has cholesterol.' I was able to explain that there's bad and good cholesterol, and this medication helps lower her bad cholesterol. It's rewarding to build connections with the patients."

*

The IU Student Outreach Clinic, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on February 14, was founded by Indiana University Dr. Javier Sevilla M.D., who wanted to create a free, student-led clinic in a neighborhood that desperately needed doctors. According to the clinic's website, among the 15,000 homes in the area, half live at or below the poverty level and report unmet health needs due to cost, lack of transportation, lack of a primary care provider, or unemployment.

At first, the clinic provided only medical care. The student-doctors would write prescriptions and church leaders would reach into their pockets and do the best they could to help the patients. Within a couple of months, Sevilla invited Butler's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to participate.

"Once that happened," says Sevilla, "there was a cascade of other partners who were waiting. Butler has been key to making this clinic the largest, most vibrant student-run clinic in the nation."

Jim Strietelmeier, the church elder who oversees the clinic, says Butler "has gone far and above what anyone would have expected."

"When I speak to the pharmacists," Strietelmeier says, "I tell them what Martin Luther King Jr. said: 'Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.' Pharmacists are by far the servants of the crowd. They take instruction and then give what's necessary."

*

Kacey Carroll was a Butler Pharmacy student when BUCOP started and has been the advisor since joining the Butler faculty in August 2017.

She remembers realizing as a student that there are so many barriers to healthcare — "unintended barriers," she says, "but it doesn’t mean that any person is any less deserving of receiving healthcare."

"If there’s anything I can do with the knowledge that I’ve gained to help people improve their life and improve their health, I want to do that. So it helped instill in me a need and a want to reach out to the community and use this skill that I have to give back."

What she often hears from students who volunteer through BUCOP is about how much they appreciate experiencing the practical application of what they learned in class. The common refrain is: "We talked about this in class, but once I did it, I see that it matters and it made a difference."

As Javier Sevilla says: "It is a beautiful, beautiful service learning opportunity for all of us."

Community

Caring for Our Community at the Community Outreach Pharmacy

Here, Butler Pharmacy students get practical experiences in the field.  

Mar 13 2019 Read more
Community

President James M. Danko on SB 12

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 28 2019

Just as we did as a University back in August, we continue to stand for, and support, strong hate crimes law. The specific language that made SB 12 a strong, comprehensive, and therefore, effective, hate crimes bill, was removed, rendering it unenforceable, unjust, and therefore, unacceptable. That’s why I called Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma to express the time is long overdue to remove Indiana from the list of five states without sufficient hate crimes law that the majority of Hoosiers support. I have signed on with other area leaders in a letter to Legislative Leadership making it abundantly clear how important a real bill that protects everyone is. Butler was founded on the ideals of inclusivity, respect, and making sure we provide an open and tolerant environment for all. That is our responsibility and duty. Those are our values and principles.

 

Gateway to Success

 

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has a problem. With each passing year memberships— family, two-person household, and single—are declining. For an organization that relies on these fees to operate, reversing this nearly decade-long slide is critical.

So, when Gregg Hiland, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the YMCA, set out to address the issue, he was excited to have 27 helpers. Enter, the newest batch of Butler University MBA students.

This is MBA 505, the Gateway Experience—the first on-campus course in the program after they finish their online prerequisites—and it is a trial by fire. Meet new people, learn to work together, examine a problem, come up with recommendations, and deliver those recommendations directly to the leaders of the organization.

All in one day.

Over 800 students have gone through the class since 2006, helping more than 20 different businesses tackle a specific problem. The future MBAs are put through the wringer for a specific reason.

"Having only 24 hours helps students realize that time can't be the excuse for coming up with great solutions," says Marie Mackintosh '06, who is both the Chief Operating Officer of EmployIndy, which delivers workforce services and training to Marion County residents, and the professor who has taught the course for the past four years. "It simulates the pressures of the real world where you have to juggle many different priorities, and the trial by fire forces teams to gel quickly and leverage each other’s strengths. Or learn from their failures.”

They get a little preparation beforehand, in the form of a two-page background briefing on their issue and a session with Butler Business Librarian Teresa Williams to learn about conducting background research. Each team is assigned a facilitator who provides advice and feedback on what they did well and what they need to work on.

Then the rush begins.

The Butler University MBA promises that students get ample opportunities to apply classroom concepts to real-world situations—and that explains why 27 new participants in the program are spending their first day of class fanned out across Indianapolis.

For the next 24, breathless hours, they've been grouped in teams of five or six students—strangers to each other previously—and asked to help the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis reverse a nearly decade-long slide in family memberships.

*

The class starts at 5:30 PM on Thursday with a big dinner and introduction to the organization. Hiland, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, lays out the problem: Since 2014, the number of two-adult member households has dropped from 12,746 to 10,281. The number of one-adult households is down from 3,784 to 3,353.

This is a trend nationwide, not just in Indianapolis, he says.

"We want recommendations from you that will be actionable, something that will help us," Hiland tells the group.

For the next 45 minutes or so, the MBA students pepper him with questions: Are outside vendors allowed in? How are you marketing? Do you survey the people who quit? And so on.

"I'm enjoying the idea of getting to make a presentation to people who can really make a difference," says Taylor Cagle, a Financial Analyst with Roche Diagnostics. "It feels like you're putting in work and getting value out of that work. This isn't an academic exercise."

*

The teams are given more time that night and some the next morning to confer before they get into vans and head to one of five YMCAs in the city (there are 12 YMCAs in greater Indianapolis.)

They arrive at their locations around 10:00 AM, and then it's up to them how to use the next two hours. For Team Holcomb (each group is named for a Butler building), the six students spend that time touring the Arthur Jordan YMCA on the north side of Indianapolis. They interview staff and talk to members about their experience at the Y.

Team member Alyssa Rudner, a Client Success Manager for a software company, talks to a member-services representative and finds that one of their biggest challenges is that there isn’t a method in place to schedule exercise classes in advance.

"If I'm paying $80 a month, I want to know that if I show up to the Y, I'm going to be able to take the class that I want to take," says Rudner.

There's one recommendation for her team to share: explore a scheduling system that goes beyond physical passes.

Cagle, another member of Team Holcomb, finds it surprising that the Jordan Y sometimes turns away parents looking for preschool programs due to lack of space. He looks around the facility and sees plenty of places to add new preschool programs.

That becomes another recommendation for the team: expand preschool offerings.

"If you can do that here," he said. "You're really separating yourself from the Lifetime Fitnesses, the LA Fitnesses. I think it would be really beneficial."

Andy Starling agrees. He's the Senior Membership Director at the Y, and he thinks the perspective of these business-minded outsiders is going to help.

"I've worked at the Y for more than six years, and you get tunnel vision a little bit," he says. "We always try to be innovative, but they brought up some things I hadn't thought about.

*

The teams return to Butler around 1:00 PM. They adjourn to their respective "war rooms" and, over boxed lunches, get to work. They have about three hours to hash out their ideas and prepare both a sheet of brainstormed recommendations and a PowerPoint they'll use as part of a rigidly-timed 10-minute presentation.

They also need to prepare what they're going to say and how they're going to say it, and the deadline comes quickly.

"We were five individuals who didn't know each other 24 hours before presenting," Chancellor Collins, a Product Manager in Marketing at Roche Diagnostics and member of Team Lilly, says. "It's funny, because you quickly figure out roles and responsibilities, and strengths, and different ways to play off each other, and I think we did a great job of that in that 24-hour period."

At 4:30 PM, the teams assemble in Gallahue Hall 108, a lecture hall, where seven representatives of the Y—including retiring CEO Eric Ellsworth—are ready to listen. There's a notable buzz among the students.

"I love the energy in this room," says Mackintosh.

For the next 90 minutes, the teams take their turn presenting their findings and watching their counterparts.

If the students are nervous, they don't show it. The presentations go off remarkably well across the board. The Y comes away with a long list of useful ideas.

"I want to hire all of these people," says Ellsworth.

Hiland praises the group for their fantastic work and innovative ideas. He was impressed with how deeply the students dove into the issue in only 24 hours. In the future, he wants to put the students’ concepts into practice at local Ys.

“We're committed to implementing and trying some of these ideas—either in pilots at certain centers or potentially across the organization,” he says.

*

In the end, Team Lilly—Chancellor Collins, Danny Lawton, Davina Isaacs, James Pokryfky, and Swetha Vaddi—won Butler goodie bags and, more importantly, bragging rights. They made suggestions that included installing a kiosk, at a cost of $1,000, to allow members to give instant feedback, offering incentives for positive reviews on Google, and instituting a holistic approach to wellness.

"The judges appreciated Team Lilly’s focus on retention and their financial implications," Mackintosh says. "They thought they did the best job of telling the story of their problem-solving process and had good ideas of how to increase retention of family memberships in particular."

Collins says the team owed credit to its facilitator, Marcelle Gress, an Executive Coach at Butler. She advised them to make time to practice their presentation a couple of times. They listened, and rehearsed twice.

"If she had not held our feet to the fire to carve out 30 minutes before we had to turn in our presentation, I don't think it would have gone so smoothly," says Collins.

In the end, Team Lilly celebrated with high-fives, fist bumps, and some wine.

"This really was a good experience and exposure to what we'll be going through in the Butler MBA program in terms of looking at complex cases and having to think through ways to solve problems," Collins said. "I think that's what the Butler MBA is going to prepare us for the most—how to think differently about ways to solve real-world problems."

 

AcademicsCampusCommunity

Gateway to Success

This is MBA 505, the Gateway Experience—the first on-campus course in the program—and it is a trial by fire.

Community

Cybersecurity, An $87 Billion Industry and Growing

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Feb 20 2019

Keny Ramirez and Linet Rivas visited Butler University on Tuesday, February 12, thinking they might be interested in some kind of computer career. They left feeling even more certain.

The 10th graders from Shortridge High School made the trip to campus to participate in The Alliance Cybersecurity Converge Tour, a three-hour exploration of potential jobs in computer security, along with lessons in how to protect themselves from scammers.

"I'm definitely thinking about it," says Ramirez.

The event was part of a partnership between Security Advisor Alliance (SAA), a nonprofit serving the cybersecurity industry, and Butler's Information Technology office. SAA approached Eric Schmidt, Butler's Chief Information Security Officer, who thought the session would be a good way to bring students to campus and give them information about potential careers.

Shortridge and Purdue Polytechnic High School brought about 40 students total to the Reilly Room, where they heard some startling statistics about the cybersecurity industry, played a game of Capture the Flag (on computers, of course), and heard from professionals about career options.

The students heard that cybersecurity is an $87 billion industry annually, and it's growing by 30 percent a year. Gaming, by comparison, is a $70 billion industry, growing by 5 percent a year. Not only that, but 1.5 million computer security jobs are currently open, as the industry tries to stop the $2 trillion in cybercrime that takes place each year.

The industry is looking for more women, and more people of diverse backgrounds. Diverse backgrounds, they were told, equals diversity of solutions for stopping hackers.

They also heard about scams like "vishing"—people who pretend to be from reputable companies and get their victims to reveal personal information like credit card and social security numbers—and were schooled in the benefits of "password hygiene"—creating a password that cannot be easily guessed.

Sidney Plaza, Executive Director of SAA, says her organization wants students to understand that hacking into computers is just one way thieves steal information. Sometimes, people unknowingly give away their information.

"It's the human element," Plaza says. "It's not just 1's and 0's; it's people making decisions."

Taft Davis, who teaches engineering and computer science at Shortridge, said the International Baccalaureate school is adding cybersecurity courses next year. He wanted his students to attend the session at Butler to give them an idea of what cybersecurity is and gauge their interest in a career.

"Like they said, it's a wide-open market out there, and it's just going to get bigger," Davis says. "Every company needs protection."

Community

Cybersecurity, An $87 Billion Industry and Growing

1.5 million computer security jobs are open, as the industry combats $2 trillion in cybercrime annually.  

Feb 20 2019 Read more
PeopleCommunity

In National Survey, Butler Alumni Outshine Most Others

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 29 2019

For Jarod Wilson, work is much more than just a job. The 2008 Butler University graduate was a first-generation college student. He was able to attend Butler only after being named a 21st Century Scholar.

Now he works at the place that awards those scholarships.

Gallup Poll Results“It’s exciting to me to be able to work for an agency that helped me want to go to college and go to Butler, which was my dream school,” he says. “And the work that we do is so important and close to my heart, coming from a first-generation background. I have a close, personal connection to the work.”

Wilson is the Director of Post-Secondary Outreach and Career Transitions with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. He works with colleges to make sure they are providing support to students who receive financial aid. To him, his job and his mission is personal.

Through Wilson, it is easy to see why 78 percent of Butler grads say they are deeply interested in the work they do. That compares with 73 percent of college graduates nationwide, according to the Gallop-Purdue Index. The GPI is an annual survey of a representative sample of more than 70,000 U.S. college graduates who have obtained a bachelor’s degree. It measures overall well-being, workplace engagement, college experiences, and affinity and attachment to one’s alma mater.

Butler outperformed its peers by most GPI measures. For example, nearly nine in 10 Butler alumni are satisfied with the education they received, and 80 percent say Butler was the perfect place for them.

Mollie Thomas, a 2015 graduate, completely agrees.

Thomas majored in Arts Administration and minored in Art + Design. She now works as the Manager of Member and Donor Experience for Newfields, the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s campus. For her, Butler provided the perfect combination of being challenged, yet also providing a place to figure out exactly what path to take after school.

“I was able to pursue my passion in an environment where people helped me grow,” she says. “It was ideal. I feel way more equipped to navigate our world and our culture because of the education I got.

It is not surprising, then, that 42 percent of grads said they had a job waiting for them when they graduated, according to the GPI. That compares with 31 percent of college graduates nationally. And 53 percent say that Butler’s Internship and Career Services office was helpful in their preparation to land that job. Nationally, 43 percent say that about their alma mater’s career services office.

Aaron Smith doesn’t know where he would be without Butler’s Career Services Office. The 2017 grad knew he was passionate about clothing design, but Butler didn’t teach that. He sought out Courtney Rousseau, a Career Services Advisor who teaches a course called Career Planning Strategies. Her course covers topics like resume writing, networking, and interviews. After talking to Smith, Rousseau connected him with a professional in the clothing design field who was able to share her experiences.

Now, Smith works as a personal stylist for Dia & Co., a plus-size women’s clothing subscription company. He selects outfits for customers and helps them style the clothing he picks.

“Courtney making that happen—that was just the best for me,” he says. “I’m now doing something that I love, which is working in the realm of fashion.”

Butler President James Danko says he is pleased that grads appreciate what they learned and the attention they received while on campus.

“I’m so happy to see that Butler graduates have found their education worthwhile, and that they’ve been able to have meaningful, fulfilling careers,” Danko says. “This is what we strive for every day.”

PeopleCommunity

In National Survey, Butler Alumni Outshine Most Others

Butler Grads excel in well-being, work place engagement, and college experience.

Jan 29 2019 Read more
AcademicsCommunity

You Are Not Alone

BY Marc D. Allan MFA '18

PUBLISHED ON Dec 17 2018

Kat Strube was “incredibly nervous” as she stood in front of 47 middle-schoolers at Christ the King Catholic School in Indianapolis. And that seemed fitting, really, for what was about to happen next.

For the next 30 minutes she and Butler University classmates Sid Garner, Alex Reinke, Maggie Nobbe, and Hannah Justice would deliver a presentation called "Understanding Anxiety," their final project in the course “Mental Illness: Biological, Psychological, and Sociological Perspectives.”

“I’m not somebody who feels super comfortable in this setting,” Strube, a biology major, says, “but it’s an interesting project.”

As the 11- and 12-year-olds listened attentively, the Butler students went through topics such as what anxiety is, what causes it, and what are the best ways to deal with it. They made paper fortune-tellers with the kids—"a fun, useful distraction for those facing anxiety or other mental illness," they explained—and answered the students’ questions. While one student wanted to know if any of the Butler group knew men’s basketball player Kamar Baldwin, all the other questions they asked dealt directly and seriously with the topic.

“I was super-surprised,” Strube said. “Everyone seemed receptive and to be listening. No one had their head down. Everyone participated and everyone had great questions. It’s not what you expect from middle school students. So that was pretty cool.”

Strube and her classmates were one of 12 teams from the Butler class who went out to Indianapolis-area middle schools in early December to discuss—and attempt to destigmatize—mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. The groups also delved deeper into areas including technology disorders and addictions, sleep disorders, and substance abuse.

The class, which was offered this fall for the third time, is team-taught by Professors Kate Novak (Sociology), Tara Lineweaver (Psychology), and Jennifer Kowalski (Biology). But this was the first time Butler students went into the community to share what they'd learned, including general information (6.8 million children suffer from General Anxiety Disorder), and specifics, such as breathing techniques to ease symptoms.

 “We wanted our students to help middle school kids recognize the stigmas associated with mental illnesses, how the stereotypes are not true, to combat fears and worries about mental illness and to encourage them to know how to get help if they have a problem or they know someone who has a problem,” said Lineweaver.

It was not just about what the Butler students said, but who was delivering the information, Novak said. And getting into the community gave Butler students the chance to understand the implications of what they are learning in the classroom in a new, more real way.

“It's good to have college students come and talk to middle-schoolers because they really look up to college students,” Novak said. “They're going to take it a little more seriously. And a lot of our students have incorporated examples from their own lives. They're saying, ‘I'm willing to talk about this.’ It's been really good for our students, too. It gets them out and thinking about this: What does this mean in terms of people lives? They're not just thinking about the academic component. What is a mental illness? What does the research say? How does this impact people's lives, and how can they have an impact?”

To get the Butler students into the community, the professors teamed with the Joseph Maley Foundation, whose HOPE Program (Health through Outreach, Personal Perspectives, and Engagement) was created to bring emotional, physical, social and mental health awareness and advocacy to students in preschool through 12th grade. HOPE is one of five programs that fulfills the Maley Foundation's mission to serve children of all abilities.

Allison Boyll, a manager with the foundation, helped arrange the Butler students’ visits to local schools, including Westfield Middle School, Indianapolis Public Schools 91, St. Richards, St. Lawrence, St. Monica, and Christ the King.

"I think anytime we can work with students in the area of mental health and help them realize that it’s a natural area of conversation and we can talk about all areas of mental health, it helps to reduce the stigma on mental health and getting the support that you need,” Boyll said. “It just makes it everyday language, so that when you do need some extra support, if you need extra support, you don’t have to be afraid to reach out to get that help.”

That was the reason Christ the King Principal Ed Seib wanted his students to see the presentation. He said mental illnesses get in the way of students being able to reach their potential. Since a social stigma exists, “we want to let them know early on that it’s something they can talk about, it’s something that can be dealt with, and we’re here for them. The presentation was a great way of opening those doors and seeing kids who aren’t that much older than they are talking to them on their terms.”

Frank Meyer, 12, a Christ the King seventh-grader who saw the presentation, said he thought it was extremely worthwhile. He learned that while talking to a friend might not always be the most helpful, it’s always good to have someone to talk to when you’re going through a tough time. He also was interested in hearing about the most common disorders among children—test anxiety and social anxiety—because he deals with those from time to time.

He said hearing from the college students let him know that he’s not alone.

And getting that message out, Professor Kowalski said, is just one of the many benefits of this course.

“It's been a good challenge for the students to have to take the more academic information that they learned and then figure out what's critical, what's going to resonate with the middle-school students,” she said. “And I think it fits with the goals of the course, which are integrating these ideas, communicating about mental illness, dispelling stereotypes, things like that.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
News Manager
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822  

AcademicsCommunity

You Are Not Alone

Butler students explain mental illnesses to Indianapolis-area middle schoolers.

Dec 17 2018 Read more
PeopleCommunity

As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Nov 12 2018

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS—Veronica Vernon has, essentially, two jobs.

The Butler University Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice spends about half her time teaching student pharmacists and student physician assistants in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the rest of her time is spent at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. At the VA, where she has worked since 2011, she sees Iraq veterans, Afghanistan veterans, male veterans, and transgender veterans. But there was one segment of the population she noticed she was seeing more and more of: female veterans.

The total veteran population is projected to decline from 20.0 million in 2015 to 11.9 million in 2045, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. And male veterans are expected to diminish by nearly half over that same time period. But despite all of this, the number of female veterans has been on the rise, and is projected to continue going in that direction.

However, Vernon says, services have not necessarily matched that trend.

“For the foreseeable future, there will be more and more female veterans coming through the VA and we need to adapt and learn how to provide the best possible care for them, just as we have done for men,” Vernon says. “A team-based approach to care of female veterans is required. The VA desires to be a leader in women’s healthcare.”

So Vernon, who specializes in women’s health, took matters into her own hands. She, along with Butler graduates Maggie Meuleman and Christina White, and Butler undergraduate Sarah Lenahan, assessed menopausal symptom management by a clinical pharmacist at the Indianapolis VA.

Their research, which they just presented at the annual North American Menopause Society Conference, showed that female veterans who received care for menopausal symptoms by a clinical pharmacist specializing in women’s health, saw a significant decrease in symptoms.

“We saw major resolution for these patients at the end of this specialized care,” Vernon says. “That highlights two important things. One, pharmacists bring a real value to the healthcare team when it comes to managing disease states. And two, which is probably even more important, is that most VA’s don’t have a pharmacist who focuses on women’s health issues. Women’s healthcare is a rapidly growing area in the vet population and the more we focus on it, evidently, the better off patients will be. This population deserves the best possible care and we need to start giving that.”

From August 2013 to August 2017, Vernon and her team tracked a total of 121 patients at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. The average age of the female veteran patients was 52.

When Vernon and her team started seeing patients, the average number of hot flashes or night sweats reported was 11.9 per day. After a year of being treated by the team of pharmacists dedicated to women’s health, the average number of hot flashes or night sweats reported was 1.4.

The percentage of patients reporting vaginal dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse prior to pharmacist management was 57 percent. After a year of pharmacist management, the average was 6.6 percent.

In all, 88.4 percent of patients who had vaginal dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse, saw resolution, Vernon says. The team followed up with patients, on average, every three weeks, and used different therapies depending on the situation. Some therapies were hormonal agents, non-pharmacological, Gabapentin, and Clonidine.

“Physicians have limited time to fully dive into the different obstacles patients are facing and then counsel the patient all the time. We believe this research shows the power of having a pharmacist as part of the care team,” Lenahan says. “After the initial diagnosis is made by the primary care physician, the pharmacist can enter the picture and manage the disease state from there in a much more specialized, specific way.”

And nowhere is the power of this continuity of care clearer that at the VA, Vernon says, where female veterans are on the rise, yet there is a real gap when it comes to adequate services. Many providers at the VA have never had a female patient so there is a discomfort and lack of knowledge when it comes to treating things, such as menopausal symptoms, she says.

But as this segment continues to grow, the reality is that providers at the VA will have to treat a female veteran. Having a system in place that utilizes the pharmacist fully, Vernon says, clearly produces results that will benefit patients.

“Our research shows the power of the right care,” she says. “Most VA’s don’t have a pharmacist that focuses on women’s health but the hope is that this data shows how impactful it is, and as this population grows, awareness too grows, in hopes our female veterans get the best possible care. This is about improving access for female vets.”

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

PeopleCommunity

As Female Veteran Population Grows, So Do Their Healthcare Needs

The number of female veterans has been on the rise, and is projected to continue going in that direction.

Nov 12 2018 Read more

Families in Residence

For most of us, the idea of raising a family in a residence hall on a college campus sounds, to put it mildly, challenging. But for many of Butler’s Faculty In Residence (known as FIRs), this challenge is well worth it. Celebrating nearly three decades, the FIR program places faculty members in residence halls with “learning communities” of approximately 80-120 students. Officially, FIRs host a minimum of two activities a month for their learning communities, to introduce students to campus and the city of Indianapolis. Activities might be shared meals, game nights, volunteer work, or attending lectures or sports events with students.

Unofficially and by choice, FIRs do much more. They lead lots of informal conversations in their living quarters, ranging from politics and entertainment to picking careers and Final Four teams. FIRs dispense cookies and encouragement to students cramming for exams, model the fun and challenge of family life, and offer a concerned adult ear to the homesick, the lovelorn, the questioning—even to parents emotionally overwhelmed at leaving their child on campus.

While not all FIRs have children in residence, many do. Sharing a family home with approximately 100 undergrads under your roof may seem daunting, but these communities become extensions of the FIR’s family. The unique living quarters provide extraordinarily unique opportunities for children of FIRs to see college life up close and for college students to see family life.

We asked Four Faculty in Residence to speak about what it’s like to raise children in this unique arrangement.

 


Meet the Families in Residence

Name: Catherine Pangan
Position at University: Associate Professor, College of Education
Names of Family members who live in residence: Roland, Hudson (13), Violet (7)
Residence Hall (current and past): Fairview, Resco, Schwitzer

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
They are so fortunate to be around an enormous amount of role models doing extraordinary things every day. On a daily basis, they see students studying, working, enjoying friendships, struggling and succeeding.  They get to see what it is like for college students to grow, as they grow themselves! We also feel like we are in a mini-neighborhood within Butler. Ms. Janine Frainier and the bookstore staff, BUPD, and of course, Miss Denise, and the Starbucks staff have been extraordinarily supportive and kind throughout the entire experience. They feel like family as well.

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
You age, but your neighbors don't. It is kind of like the fountain of youth!

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope they feel connected to a community the same way they feel living at Butler.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
I've told this story so many times, but when Hudson was four years old and learning to ride his bike, he was trying to make it down the whole length of Hampton. As he rode, he had students shouting "Go Hudson!" from sorority and fraternity windows - students were clapping for him on the street as he rode by, and then they let out a huge cheer for him when he made it to the end. I will never forget his smile when he made it, or the Butler students that helped him get to the end! If that doesn't exemplify the Butler Way, I'm not sure what does!

What's your commute like in the morning?
Short!

***

Name: John Esteb
Position at University: Chemistry Professor
Names of Family members who live in residence: 4 total (including me)
Residence Hall: Resco C-Wing

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
The kids learn how to interact with adults and also are exposed to so many wonderful cultural events, speakers, shows, etc. that almost no other kid gets to experience on a regular basis

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
There is constantly a lot of energy around and there is ALWAYS something going on!  It is a unique experience that we get to interact with them both inside and outside the classroom and help not only with their academic development but get to know them as the fun and talented people they are in their day to day life as well.

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope that they see the value of the college experience (with everything that it entails) and also learn that everyone has strengths that they can showcase in their own unique ways when put into an environment that provides the right opportunities and fosters the development of skills and talents.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
We have had many! Ranging from my son jumping around and singing along with students at a Butlerpalooza concert, to cheering on the Colts and my kids going crazy in the stands at the game with students that were die-hard Colts fans, to the kids competing with the students to see who would be willing to eat the wildest sushi order, to just hanging out with the students over cheesecake, bbq, cookies, donuts, etc. at the apartment!

What's your commute like in the morning?
Normally great (since I just walk in)! Haha!

***

Name: Ryan Flessner
Position at University: Associate Professor of Teacher Education (COE)
Names of Family members who live in residence: Courtney (wife), Abel (11), Adelyn (10)
Residence Hall (current and past): Fairview House (2016-present), Ross Hall (2013-2016)

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
Our kids are surrounded by young adults who are working toward their goals on a daily basis while also enjoying each other's company and the beautiful campus on which we live. The kids have the opportunity to see college students find their way, develop friendships, and contribute to our community. Abel and Adelyn learned to ride their bikes on the mall, and they can always find a pick-up game of kickball with ever-ready college students. Who wouldn't want to grow up on this campus?!

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
It's inspiring to see students finding their way in the world, discovering their passions, and contributing to the community. I'm a better professor because I see more than just the academic side of college life. In addition to their commitments to their studies, I see the students' commitments to campus and community organizations, their commitments to their network of friends and mentors, and their commitments to their future careers.

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope my kids understand the privileges they have in life and the ways in which their experiences are shaping their futures. I hope they use their privilege to benefit others as they make their way in the world.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
There are too many magical moments to count. We've been to the wedding of one of our RAs, we've been references for residents as they seek employment, and we've even helped a student learn to wrap holiday gifts! My favorite memory, however, is probably from a faculty dinner we hosted on our patio last fall. After the event with her professors that evening, one of our residents said, "This is why I came to Butler - so I could interact with the faculty and we could get to know each other as people." Making that moment possible for her was incredibly rewarding, and her gratitude was worth all of the effort we put into this role.

What's your commute like in the morning?
I love the fact that I can walk my kids to the bus and then walk across campus to my office. That 15-minute stroll is a great way to organize my thoughts as I transition into my teaching or my research.

***

Name: Erin Garriott
Position at University: Instructor in Special Education, College of Education
Names of Family members who live in residence: Scott Garriott (husband), Ella (15), Mae (9) and Weston (5)
Residence Hall (current and past): ResCo B-wing currently, Schweitzer for 2 years

What are the benefits of raising a family in this unique environment?
To have my kids surrounded by goal-centered, focused, kind, thoughtful BU students is priceless. We also think the access to sports, the arts, campus projects, and events are real benefits.

What's it like to live in a neighborhood of only college-age students?
It’s so much fun! There’s always something going on or conversations to join in on. We’ve been so lucky to live by wonderfully caring and kind students. We realize how much we rely on their energy to get through our days. When students aren’t here, we totally miss them!

As your children grow and become adults, what do you hope they will take from this experience?
I hope they will remember the time we got to spend together in our cozy living space. I hope they take with them the importance of working hard to reach a goal. We hardly ever go by a study lounge where there isn’t at least one student in there studying. Mostly, I really hope they take the amazing feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves. Butler is a really special place to be. I know my kids “know” that because of the conversations we’ve had about the people here and the experiences we’ve gotten to have with our residents.

Is there a story that you think exemplifies your family in residence experience?
There are sooooo many, from Ms. Denise getting Scott and I an anniversary cake to students leaving encouraging notes to our kids outside our door. The one that always sticks out though came from my husband Scott. As long as I’ve known him, I’ve always been an educator. He had often made comments about how I always had my students on my mind and he didn’t seem to understand how that happened. Fast forward 15 years...our first year as a FIR family was coming to an end. I mentioned one evening during dinner that classes were finishing up and students would be moving out soon. Scott said in a panic, “Do you think we’ll ever see Emma again?” And all evening, he would randomly ask things like, “I wonder if Allison got her summer job?” and “Do you think Helen will stop by to say good-bye?” My favorite one was, “I hope Rex (Hailey’s dad) knows he can stop by and see us anytime.” After just one year, he had experienced the relationships you build with young people and how it changes your life. He has a better sense of what it means to care deeply about a group of students; it was a lesson I could never teach but am so glad I got to see click.

What's your commute like in the morning?
Surprisingly, I drive to my office. I take my kids to their bus stop at 46th and Cornelius and then hustle to South Campus for class.

PeopleCommunity

Families in Residence

Sharing a family home with 100 undergrads under your roof may seem daunting, but they become family.

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