The National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health has awarded Tara Benjamin the 2017 Women of INfluence Trailblazer Award. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. Benjamin is a trailblazer in the area of substance abuse treatment of pregnant women. 

She serves as a mentor to other physicians caring for pregnant women battling Opioid Use Disorder and advocates for the exploding narcotics addiction epidemic on local, state and national levels. Benjamin was recently named director of the maternal recovery program for Riley Maternity & Newborn Health at IU Health, a comprehensive statewide program designed to improve access to coordinated, safe and high-quality medical care to improve the health outcomes for at-risk pregnant women and infants throughout Indiana.

Benjamin is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Tulane University and her fellowship in Meternal-Fetal Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, where she also received a Master’s of Science in Clinical Research. In addition to being an outstanding leader, educator and clinician, She is the only MFM in Indiana with a Drug Enforcement Administration waiver to prescribe Subutex, used to treat opioid addiction, for up to 100 patients. Since becoming faculty at IUSM in August 2015, she and her team have managed almost 300 pregnant women with Opioid Use Disorder.?

Also, Baindu Bayon has received the 2017 Women of INfluence Advocate Trailblazer Award. She recently earned her Doctoral Degree in Medical and Molecular Genetics from the Indiana University School of Medicine. Bayon is passionate about promoting STEM careers, especially among underserved and minority populations. She works tirelessly in her community to be a visible, accessible example for young people to pursue the highest levels of achievement. Her drive to be a  leader and mentor is evident in her work with many local and national groups, such as the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, the 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Urban League Exchange.

As a post-graduate researcher at the IU School of Medicine Neuroscience Center, Bayon focuses on the regulation of BACE1, one of the enzymes responsible for the formation of amyloid-beta, which contributes to Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Her aim is to act as a liaison between the neurogenetic bench research process and the administration of therapies to the patient by management of clinical trials. She plans to continue participating in research from a regulatory standpoint.

Bayon has received many awards and honors, including the IUPUI Elite 50, the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion and Dr. George Rawls Emerging Leader Award recipient.