Thrive by IU Health

June 08, 2023

This team member draws blood and keeps the beat for IU Health’s Pride float

This team member draws blood and keeps the beat for IU Health’s Pride float

He’s been with IU Health since he was 16, and has supported IU Health’s presence in the annual Pride Parade since the beginning. This year, he’ll provide music at the June 10th parade beginning at 10 a.m. in downtown Indianapolis.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

Let this sink in: Dan Fanning has worked at IU Health since he was 16. He started working as a phlebotomist 37 years ago as part of his health occupation class at Decatur Central High School.

“They started me out doing heel sticks on babies in the Riley NICU. I lasted a month and the boss said, ‘get this kid out of here. He’s crying as much as the babies,’” said Fanning. He then began working with adolescent patients - seeing his first patient one week shy of his senior year of high school.

After graduation, he entered the military working with mobile labs with the Navy reserves - drawing blood at nursing homes. Following Desert Storm, Fanning switched to the Army reserve, and continued working as a medic focusing on blood draws. He eventually joined IU Health North Hospital where he now serves as team lead in the lab.

Why phlebotomy? “I really feel like I can do a lot for my community and make a positive impact on patients’ lives,” said Fanning. “In phlebotomy, you learn about 70 percent of decisions are based on lab work. I’m not just a phlebotomist; I’m an important part of the patient care team.”

Dan Fanning at Indy Pride Festival

Since 2015, Fanning has been sharing his talents with the Indy Pride Festival. He provides the music that accompanies IU Health’s float. Last year, hundreds of team members walked and danced alongside the float. Fanning has been a DJ for 17 years, starting out with karaoke and then moving into weddings.

“Weddings keep me busy, but Pride goes on my calendar every year as soon as I get the date,” said Fanning. This year’s parade steps off at 10:00 a.m. on June 10. The event is sponsored by Indy Pride, an organization that participates in philanthropic work throughout the year, supporting many LGBTQ+ organizations throughout Central Indiana.

In another effort, IU Health provided resources to purchase "Stop the Bleed" kits and trained staff and volunteers for all our Pride events. ‘Stop the Bleed’ kits include a tourniquet, dressings, gloves, trauma shears, bandages and more. They are designed to be mounted on a wall in a visible space and/or somewhere easily accessible.

The initiative started as an effort to quickly respond and protect members of the LGBTQ+ community.

So far, Indy Pride has distributed ‘Stop the Bleed’ kits to 12 queer owned/supporting bars and organizations around Indianapolis. With a grant from IU Health and its community benefit efforts, Indy Pride plans on purchasing another 20 to 30 kits for Pride Month events. Additionally, all Indy Pride Festival volunteers, board members, staff, and security will have access to the kits and will be trained on how to use them.

“I participate in Pride as a way to show my support to others and have a good time,” said Fanning. “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I think it’s important to show my team members that they are not alone. A lot of times we feel we can’t be open and IU Health’s participation in Pride is a way to show that support.” Three years ago, Fanning married Jason Chew, who also works at IU Health North as a supervisor over registration services.

Fanning is also part of the IU Health LGBTQ+ affinity group, a forum for LGBTQ+ individuals, along with allies, to come together to build support, provide employee advocacy, and develop organizational culture through participation in community programs and Pride events.

“I’d like to let others know that everyone has a seat at the table no matter what diversity group they identify with. You belong and everyone deserves to be heard and be involved in all aspects of life - work and personal. Just be kind,” said Fanning.

So what are the most popular tunes he’ll be playing during this year’s Pride Parade?

“We usually play a lot of music from the 80s and pop hits,” said Fanning. The Village People’s “YMCA” is a crowd favorite, along with Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration.”

Other IU Health Pride Month events include:

“Rainbow Reads,” a program where IU Health team members will read books and talk about the impact the book made on their lives. The program includes three sites including IU Health Methodist, Riley, and University Hospitals.

IU Health Village will be located in Military Park and will include artwork designed by team member, a resource table, and health screenings.