Enhancing Communities

Connection. Commitment. Relationship. Impact.

Research outcomes can take many forms, but one of the most significant is the benefits brought directly to people where they live. IU research serves Hoosier communities in myriad ways, including extensive public-facing research delivered by IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute (see Well-Being section); IUPUI’s Office of Community Engagement; and the Center for Rural Engagement at IU Bloomington.

Read on for a few highlights of IU research positively impacting the quality of life for communities around the state and beyond.

Strengthening health and security for all

A local marketplace, part of the Diabetes Impact Project, or DIP-IN.

A healthier future

Three Indianapolis neighborhoods have a much greater chance for better health, thanks to the Diabetes Impact Project, or DIP-IN, carried out by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and funded by Eli Lilly and Co.

Learn about IU’s health equity work in Indianapolis
A therapist and patient at the Hope Academy, an after-school recovery and therapy program for high schoolers.

Hope for high school students in recovery

An after-school program at Hope Academy, the only high school in Indiana for students in recovery, provides a supportive place for students to engage with IUPUI student-mentors and coaches.

Learn about Hope Academy
A closeup image of lipstick and the application brush.

Ridding makeup of harmful chemicals

Millions of people may be exposed to seriously harmful chemicals in waterproof mascara, liquid lipstick, and foundation, IU research found. Better labeling and government oversight to protect consumers is critical.

Learn about potential makeup toxicity
Three electricity gauges lined up against a brick wall.

Revealing energy insecurity among the most vulnerable

The inability to pay energy bills is a widespread hardship, made much worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two IU Bloomington researchers have studied the scope of the issue, its impact on households, and what tools might help.

Learn about energy insecurity
An elderly woman worriedly looking into the distance while eating food.

Food security for older adults

Food insecurity among older U.S. adults is all too common, especially in rural areas. Researchers from IU’s Sustainable Food Systems Science project and others studied lower-income older adults to better understand how they meet their food needs — or don't.

Learn about food insecurity among older adults
An IU student researcher from the Indiana Geological and Water Survey investigating a mineral spring.

Protecting Indiana’s mineral springs

The first large-scale collection of data about 100 natural springs in the Indiana Uplands region is informing local communities about the quality of spring water in their areas, as well as the history of the springs’ uses. The work is being done by IU scientists and student researchers from the Indiana Geological and Water Survey.

Learn about Indiana’s mineral springs

Building community through the arts and humanities

An illustration of proposed redesign of the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA).

Turning a museum inside out

Working closely with Indigenous partners, the new IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is making IU’s world-class collections of archaeological and ethnographic artifacts more accessible, including important artifacts from the Angel Mounds State Historic Site.

Learn about the IUMAA
An attendant of IUPUI's Herron School of Art and Design, the first accredited art therapy program at a public university in Indiana.

Accredited art therapy

Students in IUPUI's Herron School of Art and Design combine artistic expression and research to help people heal from grief, addiction, eating disorders, and other traumas. The M.A. program is the first accredited art therapy program at a public university in Indiana.

Learn about art therapy at IUPUI
A landscape scene of the historic Beck's Mill.

Sustaining places

IU students and faculty collaborate on numerous projects to enhance Hoosier areas such as Washington County, Ind., where reviving the historic Beck’s Mill and creating a Salem, Ind. pocket park are ongoing.

Learn about IU's work to sustain Hoosier places
A father and daughter at her dance practice at the Jacobs School of Music Community Engagement Initiative.

Making the arts accessible

When artists and communities join together, communities flourish. The Jacobs School of Music Community Engagement Initiative helps counties across the state address community needs and aspirations through dance and music.

Learn about the Jacobs School of Music initiative

Creative aging

To help elder adults address isolation and boredom, Traditional Arts Indiana created Memory, Art, & Aging: A Resource and Activity Guide. Years in the making and published in 2020, the guide is filled with stories and activities to inspire older adults and help them flourish.

Learn more about inspiring activities for older adults
LaWaSo Ground is a contemporary memorial and a community ground of (La)nd, (Wa)ter, and (So)il.

Bridging past and future

For the biennial Exhibit Columbus, IU's Jeeyea Kim joined Indiana limestone and patterns from Indigenous earth mounds in the sculpture LaWaSo Ground. Designed with Indigenous artist Katrina Mitten, Kim's work was supported in part by IU Bloomington's Public Arts and Humanities Project.

Learn about Kim's sculpture