A team of IUPUI faculty and staff are recipients of the AcademyHealth Health Services Research (HSR) Impact award for their work on the Indiana Prevalence Study.
In collaboration with the Indiana Department of Health, the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health conducted a scientific study over three phases to measure the spread of COVID-19 through the state of Indiana.
This study was the first and most comprehensive random sample study of its kind in the US and the world.
“This award recognizes the leadership that Indiana displayed in generating high quality evidence to help guide public health policy in our state and around the nation during the pandemic,” said Nir Menachemi, lead scientist on the study and a professor and Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and IU Fort Wayne. “Based on our data, the CDC updated its national guidance about asymptomatic infections and the magnitude of underestimated community-based infections.”
Menachemi and his team of researchers contributed groundbreaking scientific knowledge to our understanding of COVID-19 over all three phases of the study, including:
- Finding that more than 40 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.
- Calculating the first generalizable infection-fatality rate for COVID-19 by age, race, ethnicity and sex.
- Finding that only one of out of every 11 true infections was identified by testing during the early pandemic.
- Identifying the loss of taste and smell as key symptoms among those mildly infected with the novel coronavirus.
- Identifying that public health measures, such as shelter-in-place orders, reduced the spread of the virus.
“The results of this study informed the statewide policy framework that governed the use of masks, social distancing, business capacity, and predicted COVID-19 surges so preparations could be initiated to protect the health of the public, frontline health care workers and others in essential work roles in our state,” Menachemi said.
The HSR award recognizes research that has had a significant impact on health and health care. The award is intended to identify and promote examples of outstanding research that has been successfully translated into health policy, management, or clinical practice in order to address cost, quality, access, equity and/or patient outcomes and the delivery of care.
“Dr. Menachemi’s research results informed policy broadly and improved the health of Hoosiers -- and provided an example of the power of real-world partnerships between policymakers, public health practitioners, and researchers,” said Robin Newhouse, dean and distinguished professor of the Indiana School of Nursing, and the main nominator for the HSR award.
The primary research team also includes: Paul Halverson, Thomas Duszynski, Brian Dixon, William Fadel and Constantin Yiannoutsos -- all of the Fairbanks School of Public Health, and Kara Wools-Kaloustian of the IU School of Medicine.
Other key team members who were involved in the research and dissemination and/or implementation of the work includes: Justin Blackburn, Amanda Briggs and Nadia Needleman -- all of the Fairbanks School of Public Health, and Aaron Carroll of the IU School of Medicine.