Thrive by IU Health

April 15, 2021

Better People, Better Patient Care: How a Philanthropic Gift is Paving the Way for Leadership Development at IU Health

Better People, Better Patient Care: How a Philanthropic Gift is Paving the Way for Leadership Development at IU Health

In just five years, Indiana may be experiencing a shortage of more than 60,000 physician specialists. As the state’s largest health care provider, we’re working to shift the tides and lessen the decline.

Now, thanks to a $2.9 million gift from local philanthropist Bob Lehman, IU Health Foundation will help fund the Leadership Academy, a program of IU Health’s Leadership Institute. The leadership academy will create deeper learning and training opportunities for physicians, and team members at all levels within IU Health.

Why? Because people matter -- both the people being treated, and the people providing their care. That’s why investing in the recruitment and retention of top talent has long been one of the cornerstone priorities of the IU Health Foundation.

Christina Chapman, IU Health chief learning officer, says the new program will challenge physicians to approach the work they do in a way that goes above and beyond rules and policy. “We’re focused on advancing the IU Health Way and advancing the culture,” she says, “so there’s a real focus on values-based leadership. We really believe if we’re doing that, we’re going to get the excellence that we need to help support the best patient care and to be able to deliver on our promise.”

Geraldine Darroca, MD, an internal medicine specialist with IU Health, has participated in courses through the Leadership Institute, and says the program has offered her incredible value on the job, and at home. “I have tremendously benefited from the leadership programs at IU Health, both professionally and personally.” But why does Dr. Darroca believe these initiatives should be expanded? “Leadership programs are needed for IU Health for their physicians to help Indiana achieve the level of one of the healthiest states in the nation,” she says. “It also helps us lead our patients to achieve their utmost best health.”

That is the goal: to support better health for all Hoosiers by developing and supporting top talent. And that is precisely what the Leadership Academy will provide. But it would not be possible without philanthropy, and the generosity of donors within our communities.

“This philanthropic gift is amazing,” Chapman says. “I look at the far-reaching impacts it can have, not only with our team members, in helping them achieve their career aspirations and greater economic prosperity, but also with patients. If we’re investing in our leaders, they’re going to be investing in their teams, so we’re going to raise the quality of the team members we have, and they’re going to be able to deliver quality care.”

The Leadership Academy will provide learning opportunities for executives, emerging leaders and team members at every level of the organization. These programs will help them avoid burnout, find a professional mentor and grow collaboration. The Leadership Academy is also committed to diversity, and will work to provide support to underrepresented talent.

Dr. Darroca sums up the impact the Leadership Academy will have across IU Health: “We have to understand how to inspire our clinical teams, how to get them to maximize their talents for the patients to benefit. If we understand how to lead patients and we understand where they’re coming from, we’re going to get them there.”

Watch to learn more about Bob's story:

If you’re interested in supporting programs to support the recruitment and retention of top talent at IU Health, please contact IU Health Foundation at 317.962.1777 or email