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IHSI Name Change

IHSI Name Change

Newest Interdisciplinary Research Institute Announced

IBHE Approves Name Change

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) yesterday approved a new name for the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI): the “Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute.” With the Institute designation, IHSI joins six other Interdisciplinary Research Institutes as the newest pillar of the research ecosystem at Illinois.

IHSI was launched in 2014, a major – and explicit – step in achieving the campus’ strategic plan goal to “Make a significant and visible societal impact.” The approval underscores the importance of IHSI’s charge to better coordinate major research and outreach efforts around grand health challenges.

With guidance from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, and with strong campus-wide support, planning, and participation, the University’s Academic Senate approved the institute designation in September 2016. The University of Illinois Board of Trustees gave its stamp of approval in November 2016, and with today’s IBHE go-ahead, IHSI is now officially a University-wide Institute.

“This is an exciting milestone in the University’s history,” said Peter Schiffer, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I am grateful to Founding Director Neal Cohen, Deputy Director John Erdman, and all the other faculty members who have made IHSI a reality.”

Cohen, a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and a member of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was named the director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative in 2014, and led the successful Institute application process. As Founding Director, Cohen brings a record of exceptional scholarship and administrative leadership. Cohen also currently serves as the Founding Director of the Center for Nutrition, Learning and Memory (CNLM, a partnership with Abbott Nutrition) and heads the Memory Systems Lab at the Beckman Institute.

“The University can already be proud of the breadth and strength of health-related research on this campus,” said Cohen. “The formalization of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute is a permanent move toward focusing on synergies that lead to innovative, large-scale outcomes. Together, I know this campus can address today’s grand challenges in global health issues.”

IHSI actively unites and enhances the University’s existing, far-reaching excellence in health sciences research and technology. IHSI nurtures, builds, and maintains health research communities at Illinois, and is already working to expand the research infrastructure and portfolio that supports all health science research, campus-wide, for all colleges and research institutes, including the newly created Carle-Illinois College of Medicine. IHSI fosters collaborations between Illinois scientists and a growing number of clinical institutions, such as the Carle Foundation, with whom it has a long-standing and intensifying partnership.

Currently, IHSI oversees and provides support for the Cancer Community at Illinois, the Mayo Clinic and Illinois Alliance for Technology-based Health Care, and the Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Community at Illinois. Campus strengths in health sciences research and technology continue to emerge, as does the potential for IHSI to shepherd new health research focus areas.

“Founding IHSI doesn’t just put a check mark next to a strategic plan goal, it aligns perfectly with the new College of Medicine and other efforts to support health research at Illinois,” Schiffer said. “This University has remarkable strengths in the health sciences, and harnessing them will enable us to create more funding opportunities for our research community and ultimately, improve the health of our community, our state, and beyond.”

June 14, 2017