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Director's Message

A Message from the Director

A new chapter for our institute, IHSI 2.0, continues to take shape in an ever-changing health landscape. The recent health crises faced by our community, our nation, and the world challenge us to act more intentionally and ambitiously than ever before. We are focusing on meeting the needs of an increasingly robust health sciences ecosystem while leveraging the unique strengths of our institute.

  • Core resources. IHSI cores provide services and resources that benefit units across campus. By focusing our efforts and building capacity through our cores, we offer a robust and cost-efficient model for supporting the continued growth of the health sciences campus-wide.
  • Human infrastructure. IHSI’s “flexibly deployable human infrastructure” compliments Illinois’ incredible research facilities and investments in the health sciences. IHSI remains poised to take on the next challenge and organize large-scale efforts to address health challenges. 
  • Strategic collaborations. We make connections, build partnerships, coordinate programs, listen to needs, offer expertise, and make matches. We find the incredible strengths across our campus and in our community, and we work to improve health by striving together.  

IHSI's unique position in the health sciences ecosystem also allows us to both take part in and drive “intersectional” initiatives – which are larger and more interdisciplinary than can be supported by any one unit, and thus are based on committed partnering among units – while continuing to provide reliable sources of research support through our cores. Three key examples include

  • the SHIELD program,  where we have been critically involved in support of efforts to obtain FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), oversight of research requests involving SHIELD-related saliva samples and test data, and the expansion of SHIELD testing to the community via the roll-out of SHIELD CU;
  • Mayo Clinic and Illinois Alliance for Technology-Based Healthcare, which we have been expanding to create opportunities for Illinois scientists and engineers to work with Mayo Clinic physicians and researchers, in collaboration with Grainger College of Engineering and NCSA; and
  • We CU, which, in partnership with multiple campus units, including the Office of the Chancellor, provides opportunities for Illinois students to be community-engaged scholars, and thereby to expand their university experience to make a positive impact in the community, in this time of public health need elicited by COVID-19, and the need to address health inequities that are exacerbated by the pandemic.

We invite each of you to innovate with us to address the health challenges we face today – let’s partner in new ways, approach health from all lenses, and dismantle the social injustices that create health inequities. Together, we can and will make an impact.

Stay safe, healthy, and connected.

Neal J. Cohen
Director, IHSI

Neal Cohen, Director IHSI