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Giving and Awards

HCRN supporters contribute more than $5,400 through Reps for Research

Supporters of Hoosier Cancer Research Network (HCRN) donated more than $5,400 this spring through the Reps for Research challenge.

The annual event, led by HCRN Chairman Christopher A. Fausel, PharmD, and Jeanne Schilder, MD, involves contributions tied to the number of bench press repetitions they complete during the Arnold Sports Festival 5K Pump and Run event in Columbus, Ohio. The event took place on Sunday, March 8.

Thirty-four supporters answered the challenge in 2020, contributing $5,480 to support novel investigator-initiated research conducted by HCRN. Read More

Rangaraju values Fisher Award support for leukemia research

Since pathology class in medical school in Nepal, Sravanti Rangaraju, MBBS, this year’s George and Sarah Jane Fisher Young Investigator Award recipient, has found studying peripheral blood smears intriguing.

“When you look at blood cells under a microscope, you can get clues to several diagnoses just based on that,” said Dr. Rangaraju, a third-year hematology oncology fellow at Indiana University School of Medicine.

During her internship at the Northern Railway Central Hospital in India, she cared for a patient who was presumed to have tuberculosis due to enlarged lymph nodes, but actually had lymphoma.

“Through residency, I was interested in non-malignant hematology. I wanted to treat and workup anemias and blood clotting disorders. That completely changed when I entered fellowship because my first rotation was on the inpatient leukemia service. I was completely blown away by the disease biology of leukemia.” Read More

Reps for Research contributors donate more than $6,000 to HCRN

For the fifth consecutive year, supporters of Hoosier Cancer Research Network (HCRN) donated thousands of dollars this spring through the Reps for Research challenge. The annual event, led this year by (pictured, from left) HCRN Chairman Christopher A. Fausel, PharmD; gynecologic oncologist Jeanne Schilder, MD; and nurse practitioner Courtney Cortez, involves donations tied to the number of bench press repetitions the team completes during the Arnold Sports Festival 5K Pump and Run event in Columbus, Ohio.

Thirty-four supporters answered the challenge in 2019, contributing $6,090 to support novel investigator-initiated research conducted by HCRN. Read More

HCRN honors UNC’s Anthony Drier for excellence in clinical research

Anthony Drier, clinical research coordinator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently received the 2018 Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award for his effort in coordinating cancer research studies with great attention to detail, service, and timeliness.

The Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award is awarded annually by the Hoosier Cancer Research Network (HCRN) to individuals who exemplify the qualities of the late Sandra Turner, HCRN’s first executive director, including a strong professional commitment, contribution to the progress of oncology care, and the constant touch of compassion. Read More

Fisher award recipient Shahid Ahmed credits mentoring as key to professional success

Having good mentors is something that this year’s George and Sarah Jane Fisher Young Investigator Award recipient, Shahid Ahmed, MD, values greatly. Through his personal drive and strong mentors, Dr. Ahmed pursued learning opportunities and research that led him to Indiana University School of Medicine, where he is currently exploring novel oncology research as a third-year hematology/oncology fellow. Read More

Peprah honored for excellence and compassion in clinical care coordination

Ensuring the timely execution of multiple clinical trials at a major university is no small task. Nana Peprah, MPH, clinical research coordinator at the University of Chicago, may see herself as only a coordinator, but her efforts in keeping clinical research trials on schedule through compassion and service to cancer patients and clinical staff have made her an exemplary member of her team.

When she first received an email announcing that she was the winner of this year’s 2018 Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award from Hoosier Cancer Research Network, she didn’t believe it. Read More

Patient advocate offers a sanctuary for loved ones to gather and rest

Families who fight cancer along with their ailing loved one grapple with many issues, from health decisions and a myriad of emotions to logistical and financial concerns. The range of concerns is something Becky Armbruster, this year’s Terry Hoeppner Patient Advocacy Award winner, recalls very poignantly.

From the time her late husband, Doug, underwent treatment at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center for myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disorder that interrupts a body’s production of blood cells, she learned how other families were coping and spending time.

“You start finding out that people are sleeping at the hospital because they don’t have the money to stay at a hotel and families are piled into waiting rooms because there’s no place to stay,” says Armbruster. Read More

HCRN recognizes four individuals with 2018 awards

Hoosier Cancer Research Network honored four individuals for their outstanding contributions to clinical research and advocacy during its annual holiday and awards dinner Nov. 29 in Indianapolis. Read More

Reps for Research raises more than $3,400

For the fourth consecutive year, Christopher A. Fausel, PharmD, challenged his friends, colleagues, and local businesses to support Hoosier Cancer Research Network through his participation in the annual Arnold Sports Festival 5K Pump and Run event. The 2018 event was held March 5 in Columbus, Ohio.

Fausel competes each year in the 5K Pump and Run, which includes bench-pressing and a 5K run. The challenge, organized through Reps for Research, invites supporters to pledge a dollar amount for every bench press “rep” he completes.

As clinical manager of oncology pharmacy at the IU Simon Cancer Center and chairman of the HCRN board of directors, Fausel’s support for cancer research is more than just a job — it is his passion. “These patients are facing their fight with cancer with uncommon strength and courage,” he said. “It’s a privilege to compete in their honor.” Read More

Turner Award winner reflects on the gift of presence in oncology care

“Oncology is not for the faint of heart. It can be filled with a lot of joy, but there are really sad moments. You must have a way to manage those emotions, acknowledge them, and address them in a way that allows you to be there for a patient or a family. Though you have been an observer for a million times in this work, every time is their first time, and you have to pay attention to that.”

This perspective, shared by Maggie Uhrich, RN, BSN, OCN, during a recent interview, serves as a guiding principle in her work as a thoracic oncology nurse at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

At a recent event, Hoosier Cancer Research Network honored Uhrich with the 2017 Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award. The award was established in 2002 by HCRN co-founder William B. Fisher, MD, through the George and Sarah Jane Fisher Fund to honor the memory of Sandra Turner, HCRN’s first executive director. The award is given to those who exemplify the qualities Turner possessed and respected in others, such as sustained professional commitment, contribution to the progress of oncology care, and the unflinching touch of compassion.

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Hashemi honored for contributions to GU oncology research

A remarkable thing happens when someone contributes to a cause bigger than oneself. But even more profound is the call to do so. That this calling goes beyond time and space is evident in oncology, where it echoes across generations and nations. This call continues to be answered, as proven by significant contributions and those who make them — those like Neda Hashemi Sadraei, MD.

Hoosier Cancer Research Network (HCRN) recently recognized Hashemi with the George and Sarah Jane Fisher Young Investigator Award. The award honors Indiana University oncology fellows and faculty members who have made significant contributions to clinical or basic science research, by providing support for research conducted in collaboration with Hoosier Cancer Research Network. In 2011, Dr. William B. Fisher and others generously established the award through the George and Sarah Jane Fisher Fund to challenge the next generation of cancer researchers.

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Loman receives Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award

Cancer research, as complex and technical an endeavor as it is, involves real people, and no matter what resources are expended, it is the human element that sustains it and propels it forward. HCRN annually recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to cancer research, patient care, and advocacy.

At a recent event, HCRN honored Rhoda Loman, clinical research specialist at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, with the 2017 Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award. The award was established in 2002 by HCRN co-founder William B. Fisher, MD, through the George and Sarah Jane Fisher Fund to honor the memory of Sandra Turner, HCRN’s first executive director. The award is given to those who exemplify the qualities Turner possessed and respected in others, such as sustained professional commitment, contribution to the progress of oncology care, and the unflinching touch of compassion.

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Reps for Research raises the bar for research funding

For the fourth consecutive year, Hoosier Cancer Research Network chairman Christopher A. Fausel, PharmD, is encouraging his friends, colleagues, and local businesses to support HCRN through a unique challenge event.

Fausel competes each year in the Arnold Sports Festival Pump & Run 5K in Columbus, Ohio, a combination event that includes bench-pressing and a 5K run. A dedicated fitness enthusiast, Fausel is passionate about advancing cancer research, and is inviting pledges in support of HCRN for every bench press “rep” he completes (maximum of 30) during the event on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Read More

The art of advocacy

“With cancer comes recognition of the fact that death is real, that you only are blest with so many days, and you only have so much time. But you also realize that you get to make choices about how you spend this measured time. When my diagnosis came, I decided how I wanted to spend this time — I chose advocacy and art. That was where I want to be, what I want to do.” Finding beauty in the midst of pain. It is a rare ability, but one that is not uncommon among a certain group of determined individuals: patient advocates.

“It is the beauty,” says Teresa Altemeyer. “When you soulfully paint someone’s eyes, you are trying to look as deeply as possible into a person and capture them. Likewise, when you are working with somebody who is a patient, you are trying to capture their essence, to answer questions that are profound.”

[Teresa is pictured with her husband, Don Altemeyer, and daughter Dana Altemeyer]

Teresa Altemeyer is a pillar in the Hoosier patient advocacy community and is the current board chair of the Indiana Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). HCRN recently honored Altemeyer with the Terry Hoeppner Patient Advocacy Award, named in memory of beloved Indiana University football coach Terry Hoeppner, who died from brain cancer in 2007. The award honors individuals who exhibit Coach Hep’s spirit and determination to champion their cause.

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HCRN honors four with annual awards

Hoosier Cancer Research Network honored four individuals for their outstanding contributions to clinical research and advocacy during its annual holiday and awards dinner Nov. 30 in Indianapolis. Read More

Award advances retrospective analysis of HCRN LUN14-179

Investigators working on the HCRN LUN14-179 study, which involved the use of concurrent chemoradiation with consolidation pembrolizumab for unresectable stage III non-small cell lung cancer, anticipated that some patients would experience pneumonitis. But they did not know which of their patients might be more susceptible than others.

To learn more about the rates of pneumonitis among study participants, and whether biomarkers could be identified that might predict whether a patient might be more susceptible, researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center launched a retrospective analysis of the study data. Read More

Alistar a compassionate innovator in GI cancer research

Angela Alistar, MD, has long considered both the emotional and physical well-being of patients as mutually paramount. A medical oncologist with Atlantic Hematology Oncology, Atlantic Medical Group, and the medical director of GI Medical Oncology at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Dr. Alistar held this conviction even before she pursued a career in medicine.

“Throughout my training and my career I have gravitated towards trying to understand the impact that illness has on patients and their families,” Dr. Alistar said. “Oncology seemed the appropriate fit for me because patients with cancer have high emotional needs and require tremendous support from their families and from their doctors,” she reflects. “This is why oncology is my path in medicine.”

For Dr. Alistar, compassion walks hand-in-hand with scientific passion. Before assuming her current role, she developed a research portfolio for GI cancers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, including investigator-initiated studies and Phase I studies in pancreatic cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, and colon cancer.

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Hoeppner Award recipient Lutane knows what it takes to get the job done

Hoosier Cancer Research Network recently honored Billye Lutane with the Terry Hoeppner Patient Advocacy Award. Lutane is a buyer for University Hospital, Riley Hospital, and the IU Simon Cancer Center. But more than that, she is a pillar within IU Health, having served for 35 years.

Like past recipients of the Hoeppner award, Lutane has demonstrated that patient advocacy is not simply something to do; it is a way to do everything. It is not so much a profession as a calling. It is a calling answered by people of all backgrounds and professions. Read More

Richardson brings relentless dedication to patient care

The Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award was established in 2002 by Dr. William B. Fisher through the George and Sarah Jane Fisher Fund to honor the memory of Sandra Turner, the first executive director of Hoosier Cancer Research Network. Each year the organization selects individuals for the award who exemplify the qualities Sandra possessed and respected in others, such as sustained professional commitment, contribution to the progress of oncology care, and the unflinching touch of compassion.

Stacey Richardson, RN, BSN, was honored as a recipient of the Sandra Turner Excellence in Clinical Research Award in 2016. Richardson is a clinical research coordinator with Community Health Network. Her story illustrates how a spark of compassion becomes a flame.

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Gbolahan receives Fisher Young Investigator Award

Hoosier Cancer Research Network, formerly known as Hoosier Oncology Group, recently honored Olumide Gbolahan, MD, as the 2016 recipient of the George and Sarah Jane Fisher Young Investigator Award.

Dr. Gbolahan grew up in Nigeria where his interest in medicine took root in high school. “My aptitude was really more toward the health sciences, biology core sciences,” he said. “I found myself moving in the direction of medicine. Once I found myself in medicine, I did not see that I could do anything else.” Read More

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