Enduring Impact: Indiana University Dance Marathon Endowments

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Seventeen students, side by side in green IUDM t-shirts, quickly flipped poster boards high above their heads, each with a single digit or symbol. The lineup revealed $4,152,440.23FTK! — the amount Indiana University Dance Marathon raised “For The Kids" during its 2016 marathon year.

The record-breaking effort brought the total IUDM has raised for the Wells Center for Pediatric Research and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health to more than $28 million since 1991. With IUDM’s partnership, Riley has built one of the preeminent infectious disease programs in the country. 

IUDM’s “extraordinary” support has been vital to the center’s mission of clinical care, education, and research, says Chandy John, M.D., with Riley’s Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health. Three IUDM-funded endowments honor Ryan White’s courage in the face of public fear and misinformation before AIDS claimed his life the spring prior to his freshman semester at IU. 

The Ryan White Chair in Pediatric Infectious Disease Endowment (funded in 2009) supports a professorship in the Section of Infectious Disease, Department of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine — the position Dr. John currently holds. The Ryan White Endowment for Pediatric Infectious Disease (funded in 2011) provides unrestricted support for clinical programs. More than 1,000 children with complex infectious diseases receive expert care at Riley each year. Such funding also helps the center recruit outstanding faculty. who in turn have trained many of Indiana’s physicians in pediatric infectious diseases, and positions Riley to train the next generation of specialists as well.

The $10 million Indiana University Dance Marathon Infectious Disease Research Endowment (funded in 2015) provides ongoing financial support for scientific, medical, and health-related research. Riley’s research programs, particularly in malaria and HIV, are internationally recognized. The center also trains globally focused physician-scientists through a pediatric infectious disease fellowship and projects in partner countries Kenya and Uganda. 

“We at Riley are incredibly grateful for IUDM, but when I meet them, they tell me how grateful they are for what we do here,” Dr. John says. “They are so dedicated to Riley and to making life better for kids.”

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