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Debra K. Litzelman, MD, MA, MACP

Debra K. Litzelman, MD, MA, MACP

  • Research Scientist, William M. Tierney Center for Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
  • D. Craig Brater Professor of Global Health Education, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Director of Education, Indiana University Center for Global Health
  • Education Leadership Cabinet, Indiana University School of Medicine  
  • Global Health Leadership Committee, Clinical Translational Science Institute 

Dr. Litzelman is a Senior Research Scientist at Regenstrief Institute where she conducts research in innovative health care system workforce development and patient-centered behavioral change strategies.

Her work with the Indiana University Center for Global Health is focused on bilateral exchange of ideas to improve health and well-being for the medically underserved across the globe. The ideas for creating a new workforce to care for vulnerable populations in Indiana arose from her work in Kenya where community health workers (CHWs) are widely deployed to improve care of patients.

As co-investigator on a project to expand the Aging Brain Center (ABC) collaborative care model for older patients with cognitive and mood disorders, Dr. Litzelman developed and implemented innovative screening, hiring and training processes to prepare the ABC CHWs.

As PI of the HRSA funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program, Dr. Litzelman and team train interprofessional health care teams, including CHWs, to provide improved geriatric care as measured by a variety of health outcomes. As PI of WeCare Indiana, a program to improve infant mortality rates in Indiana, Dr. Litzelman and her team have implemented community-based behavioral change interventions among high-risk women. CARE Plus (an innovative, community-based addiction reduction program) is currently building on the foundation of WeCare Indiana to reduce infant mortality through outreach, health coaching, community engagement, and mobile health (mHealth) messaging technology with a special emphasis on the reduction of substance and opioid use in pregnant and post-partum women.

“Infant mortality is a key epidemiological indicator of health in a community, state, country….the infant mortality rates in Indiana indicate we have much to accomplish as researchers and health care providers.”

Highlighted Publications

Litzelman DK, Butler DE, Iloabuchi T, Frank KI, Bo N, Tong Y, Garrison E, Roth S, Vannerson J. Combined interprofessional education and system intervention to improve screening older adults for dementia and falls. Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2021 Nov 10:1-13. doi: 10.1080/02701960.2021.2001336.

Takesue BY, Tierney WM, Embi PJ, Mamlin BW, Warvel J, Litzelman DK. Regenstrief teaching electronic medical record (tEMR) platform: a novel tool for teaching and evaluating applied health information technology. JAMIA Open. 2021 Mar 17;4(1):ooab010. doi: 10.1093/jamiaopen/ooab010.

Adeoye-Olatunde OA, Vlashyn OO, Illingworth Plake KS, Woodyard JL, Weber ZA, Litzelman DK, Russ-Jara AL. A mixed-methods study of pharmacy instructors’ early experiences with a teaching electronic medical record. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2021 Sep;13(9):1180-1193. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2021.06.036. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Li HW, Scanlon ML, Kisilu N, Litzelman DK. The role of community health workers in the surgical cascade: a scoping review. Hum Resour Health. 2021 Oct 3;19(1):122. doi: 10.1186/s12960-021-00659-z.

Wagle K, Cottingham AH, Butler D, Grover J, Litzelman DK. Understanding social workers’ hidden roles in medication safety for older adults: A qualitative study. Soc Work Health Care. 2021;60(4):369-386. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2021.1900023. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Turissini M, Mercer T, Baenziger J, Atwoli L, Einterz R, Gardner A, Litzelman D, Ayuo P. Developing Ethical and Sustainable Global Health Educational Exchanges for Clinical Trainees: Implementation and Lessons Learned from the 30-Year Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) Partnership. Ann Glob Health. 2020 Oct 26;86(1):137. doi: 10.5334/aogh.2782.

McHenry MS, Baenziger JTH, Zbar LG, Mendoza J, den Hartog JR, Litzelman DK, Pitt MB. Leveraging Economies of Scale via Collaborative Interdisciplinary Global Health Tracks (CIGHTs): Lessons From Three Programs. Acad Med. 2020 Jan;95(1):37-43. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002961.

Glassburn SL, Westmoreland GR, Frank KI, Fulton JS, Garrison E, Roth S, Bo N, Tong Y, Litzelman DK. Preparing advanced learners for geriatric team care: A short-term curricular model that works. Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2022 Jan-Mar;43(1):102-118. doi: 10.1080/02701960.2020.1795648.

Litzelman DK, DiCorcia M, et al. Teaching Behavioral Medicine: Theory & Practice. In M Feldman, J Christensen (eds.) Behavioral Medicine: A Guide for Clinical Practice 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill 2020, 531-546.

Gilligan MC, Osterberg LG, Rider EA, Derse AR, Weil AB, Litzelman DK, Dunne DW, Hafler JP, Plews-Ogan M, Frankel RM, Branch WT Jr. Views of institutional leaders on maintaining humanism in today’s practice. Patient Educ Couns. 2019 Oct;102(10):1911-1916. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.04.025.

Smith J, Carlos WG, Johnson CS, Takesue B, Litzelman D. A pilot study: a teaching electronic medical record for educating and assessing residents in the care of patients. Med Educ Online. 2018 Dec;23(1):1447211. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2018.1447211.

Azar JM, Johnson CS, Frame AM, Perkins SM, Cottingham AH, Litzelman DK. Evaluation of interprofessional relational coordination and patients’ perception of care in outpatient oncology teams. J Interprof Care. 2017 Mar;31(2):273-276. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2016.1248815.

Current Research Projects

WeCare Indiana Plus 2.0: Improving Maternal and Infant Health to Reduce Infant Mortality
(Indiana State Department of Health, PI: Litzelman) (2019 –2023)
WeCare is focused on positively impacting behaviors associated with infant mortality.

WeCare Indiana University Health
(Indiana State Department of Health, PI: Litzelman) (2021-2022)
The goal of this project is to expand WeCare program to IUH sites beginning in Central Indiana.

CARE Plus: A Community-based Addiction Reduction plus Policy Innovations Program for Indiana
(Indiana University Grand Challenge Addiction Initiative, PI: Litzelman) (2018-2022)
IU AGC CARE Plus is focused on training community health workers in screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment, and hiring and training addiction recovery CHWs to improve our ability to support and enable women of child bearing age with substance use disorder to engage in substance abuse and mental health treatment through workforce development.

CARE Plus: An Innovative, Community Based Addition Reduction Program
(Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, PI: Litzelman) (2018-2022)
RMFF CARE Plus is focused on training community health workers in screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment, and hiring and training addiction recovery CHWs to improve our ability to support and enable pregnant and post-partum women with opioid use disorder to engage in substance abuse and mental health treatment through workforce development.

Indiana Geriatrics Education and Training Center (Indiana GETC)
(HRSA, PI: Litzelman) (2015-2024)
The goal is to train interprofessional health care teams to provide improved geriatric care in primary care settings.

WeCare Plus: An Innovative, Community Based Collaborative Initiative to Decrease Infant Mortality/(WeCare Perinatal Home Visitation Education and Training and Ongoing Guided Case Management Program
(Indiana State Department of Health, PI: Litzelman) (2017-2021)
The Goal is to train and provide on-going case management opportunities to Perinatal Home Visitation providers practicing in Indiana and to expand the WeCare program in St. Joseph County.

Indiana CTSI 3.0 in 3D: Global-Local
(Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, CoPIs: Wiehe & Moe) (2018-2023)
The goal is to allow people in Indiana to benefit directly from the global health research conducted by Indiana CTSI member institutions. Role: Co-Investigator

AMPATH Model Replication in GHANA  
(Helmsley Award, PI: Gardner) (2019-2022)
This replication effort is focused on adapting Kenya AMPATH Model for implementation in Ghana. Role: Co-Investigator

Training Leaders in Healthcare Professions to Implement Best Practices in Medical Education for the post-COVID Era
(Kern Institute, PI: Branch) (2021-2022)
Facilitate and evaluation interprofessional seminars promoting humanism, professionalism, and diversity, equity and Inclusion. Role: Co-Investigator

Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities (CCR)
(CDC, PI: Einterz) (2021-2022)
The goal of this project is to create an evaluation and monitoring system for deployment of CHW in St. Joseph County, Indiana. Role: Co-Investigator