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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana University School of Medicine has received a $14 million gift that will allow for the establishment of a program that helps oncology patients navigate challenges they face with cancer and more.

The gift was provided to the university by the Walther Cancer Foundation. The Walther Supportive Oncology Program at the IU Simon Cancer Center will now offer the services in one place to patients, The Indianapolis Star reported .

“This is really something that is part of the future of medicine, how do we improve the overall lives of patients,” said IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess. “There has been a big focus on basic research leading to cures, but I think there’s an increasing awareness that the quality of people’s lives is extremely important.”

Dr. Patrick Loehrer is the director of the cancer center. He said matching and in-kind dollars from the medical school and Indiana University Health will bring the total value of the gift to more than $20 million. University officials said the gift will be put toward five new faculty positions.

Patients often are seen by a multi-disciplinary team, with experts in surgery, radiation oncology and medical oncology. Future plans may call for specialists in palliative care, nursing, social work, and more to help patients deal with depression, finances and other issues, said Dr. Greg Sachs, chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at the IU School of Medicine.

“You would have a much richer array of professionals on the team and they would be embedded in oncology care,” said Sachs.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star,