IU School of Medicine receives $34.2M for child, adolescent psychiatry center

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – A couple of Evansville residents announced a great gift for the Indiana University School of Medicine.

William C. and Mary R. (O’Daniel) Stone announced a donation of $ 34.2 million to the Mary O’Daniel Stone and Bill Stone Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine based in Evansville.

School officials say the center will seek to improve standards of care for people with bipolar disorder and improve access to mental health care for the children and adolescents in southwest Indiana.

They say this is one of the largest donations in the history of the IU School of Medicine.

A press release states that the new center will equip three new chairs and have a fund to support six additional child and adolescent psychiatrists / scholarships. Officials say this is a dramatic infusion for southwest Indiana, where several counties are devoid of a mental health facility.

Even in Evansville, officials say it would nearly triple the number of child psychiatrists, improving access, allowing earlier diagnosis, and faster treatment.

The psychiatrists will also conduct research at the center, with a focus on bipolar and other mood disorders.

According to a press release, these researchers will be able to build on existing strengths in neuroscience at the IU School of Medicine, leveraging tools and expertise in gene analysis, animal modeling and imaging, biological sampling, drug development, and data analysis.

The new center will also enable better treatments through big data.

School principals say a real evidence data lake is planned – a comprehensive data platform of its kind for psychiatric research and machine learning. They say this data lake would draw from millions of patient records across the United States.

Officials tell us that through medical artificial intelligence, a research team in Evansville would identify the most effective therapies and promising innovations by analyzing patient characteristics and prescribing patterns that lead to optimal outcomes.

According to school officials, this data lake would be continually updated and expanded as new patient data is added, creating a resource not only for treating Hoosier patients but also making southwest Indiana a national center for research into childhood and psychiatric illnesses will be attracted by talented researchers and investment capital to Evansville.

Indiana ranks way behind the national average in psychiatry, according to the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy at the IU School of Medicine.

For adults, there are about half as many psychiatrists treating patients in Indiana as the national average. In child and youth care, the number of patients to doctors at a ratio of 20,916 to 1 is even lower than the national figure of 8,848 to 1.

Officials say the new center director, clinicians, and support staff will be based out of Evansville, with most of the operations taking place at the new Deaconess Downtown Clinic.

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