The Indianapolis-based Eskenazi Health Foundation has launched an immersive learning program for its board members. The Eskenazi Health Experiential Learning Program allows participants to shadow clinical leaders in areas ranging from neurology to trauma and surgery.

November 25, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — The Eskenazi Health Foundation is now offering a unique way to experience the mission of Eskenazi Health. The Eskenazi Health Experiential Learning Program pairs friends of the Eskenazi Health Foundation with physicians and clinical leaders throughout the Eskenazi Health system to experience first-hand the heartbeat of one of America's largest essential health systems.

In areas ranging from emergency and trauma to surgery and neurology, participants are gaining experiences and insights into the high-quality care delivered at Eskenazi Health, experiences that will help them advocate for Eskenazi Health throughout the community. They're not only experiencing the state-of-the-art, compassionate care provided by Eskenazi Health physicians, nurses and additional patient care staff, they're learning more about complex health care environments.

“It was at a board retreat when the question was brought up, 'How can we best deliver the Eskenazi Health experience to our board members so they understand the full breadth of what we do here?'” said Ernie Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of Eskenazi Health Foundation. “It was one of our board members who came up with this immersive idea, and it's been a wonderful learning experience for everyone involved.”

Shadowing opportunities began in mid-October and will continue through November. Several board members have already taken advantage of the opportunity, including Frank Basile and his wife Katrina, Greg Maurer, Julie Qualkinbush, Sharon Reed, Larry Sablosky, and Mike Smith.

Eskenazi Health Foundation board chair Mike Smith was one of the first to participate. Smith signed up to follow Dr. Gerardo Gomez, chief of the Section of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgical Services at Eskenazi Health, for an intensive, first-hand look at the care provided within the Smith Level I Shock Trauma Center at Eskenazi Health, one of only two adult Level I trauma centers in the state. He also had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Charles Miramonti, medical director of the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department at Eskenazi Health, and Dr. Cheri Hobgood, chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine.

During the four-hour experience, Dr. Gomez and Smith toured the operating rooms at Eskenazi Health, observed a surgery, and met the members of the trauma team, providing Smith with a better understanding of the patient experience. Drs. Miramonti and Hobgood also spent time with Smith, showing him how the emergency department works, along with involving him in a discussion about how the health system prepares for responding to disaster situations.

Board member Larry Sablosky said he found the experience at Eskenazi Health very rewarding.

“I thought the interaction with the patients was very special, but was also impressed with the mentorship and guidance provided to the next generation of surgeons. It is no wonder why Eskenazi Health is held in such great regard when it has such qualified and compassionate people working throughout the hospital,” Sablosky said.

Upcoming shadowing opportunities include experiences in the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health, Eskenazi Health Women's and Children's Services, Eskenazi Health Critical Care and more. If you have any questions about the Eskenazi Health Experiential Learning Program, please contact Mike Eikenberry, director of development for Eskenazi Health Foundation, at 317.880.4909 or

The Eskenazi Health Foundation is raising philanthropic support for the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus in addition to current Eskenazi Health programs. To learn more about the Eskenazi Health Foundation, please visit

Source: Eskenazi Health Foundation

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