Indiana hospital 'mission control' for brain care

By Bernie Monegain
10:29 AM
'The most important thing we can do at this moment is to address the crisis in mental health.'
Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital

Eskenazi Health introduced today its new Sandra Eskenazi Center for Brain Care Innovation, which officials call the first of its kind in the nation.

The brain center will employ a new model of care that includes two important distinctions: It will provide care for the whole person – mind, body and family – and it will expedite the translation of best practices discovered in the lab directly to patient care, Eskenazi officials said in a statement.

"The most important thing we can do at this moment is to address the crisis in mental health, which draws very deeply on the work that we've committed to for decades here at Eskenazi Health," said Lisa Harris, Eskenazi Health CEO, added. "We've created a rich environment historically designed to promote and support the health and well-being of each patient from every direction, creating the perfect backdrop for us to focus on mental health. Sandra's gift has empowered us to follow our passion – one we mutually hold."

Eskenazi Health is known in Indianapolis for its leadership in advancing brain health through implementation science. It is recognized internationally for the work of the Healthy Aging Brain Center and the Prevention and Recovery Center for Early Psychosis.

[See also: Philips, MIT take on brain injuries.]

"Diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer's, will affect you in your lifetime, whether it is your own experience or that of a friend or family member," Ernest Vargo II, president and CEO of the Eskenazi Health Foundation, said in a press statement. "As every family knows, these illnesses do not discriminate by ethnicity, geographic or socioeconomic status."

Malaz Boustani, MD, serves as founding director of the center. As director of the Healthy Aging Brain Center, he developed core competencies to address the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease and dementia for his patients. He will build on this expertise in brain care research and healthcare innovation to lead the Sandra Eskenazi Center in developing and implementing a new model of brain care.

"Through decades of research in brain health, we have learned that by reorganizing care, we can obtain better outcomes at lower costs," added Boustani. "While the Sandra Eskenazi Center will first focus on patients and their families in Indianapolis, the model of care will be scalable to various locations, age groups and diseases, and could soon expand nationally and internationally, and become a new standard of care in the 21st century."

[See also: Obama unveils $100M BRAIN Initiative.]

The Sandra Eskenazi Center will be "mission control" for brain care, integrating pioneering technology with personalized treatment. Caregivers and family members will also be active participants and have significant responsibility in the overall success of treatment.

Alan Breier, MD, has dedicated his career to treating and finding new solutions for those who suffer from severe mental illness. His clinical work currently focuses on patients at PARC. Dr. Breier's research, which extends back more than 30 years and includes more than a decade at Eli Lilly and Co., focuses on understanding the causes of psychotic disorders and developing innovative therapies for such illnesses, particularly schizophrenia.

Eskenazi Health and the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County named the center in honor of a leadership gift from Sandra Eskenazi to the Eskenazi Health Foundation's $50 million campaign in support of the center's vision: "transforming brain health for all, now."

Eskenazi is the daughter of Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, the Central Indiana couple who provided a $40 million gift to the Eskenazi Health Capital Campaign and for whom the Eskenazi Health system is named.