Monon Collaborative: A Community Learning Health System

Poster depicting the work of the Indiana CTSI Monon Collaborative.  This initiative is working with community and partners to tackle health inequities and poor health outcomes in Indiana.

Wiehe S, Hardwick E, Hudson B, Hege T, and Shekhar A

Indiana currently ranks 41st out of 50 states in health with the life expectancy of some zip codes being dramatically worse than others.  In fact, a study by Weathers et al (2015)[i] showed that persons living within particular Indianapolis neighborhoods lived, on average, fourteen years less than persons living fourteen miles to the north along the Monon (rail) Trail.  As a result, the Indiana CTSI is convening stakeholders from Indiana universities, public and private organizations and governmental agencies to collaborate in a coordinated manner with local communities and their leaders in order to design sustainable projects that improve health and wellbeing.  This initiative, named the Monon Collaborative, seeks to improve the health equity in Indiana through robust bi-directional and mutually-beneficial partnerships supported through a sustainable infrastructure that houses and promotes innovative and impactful research and service initiatives.  This approach directly engages the community in the design of these health projects and leverages existing data on social vulnerability, community assets, and health outcomes to guide and evaluate efforts. When applicable, it incorporates validated population and precision health strategies and, when there is none available, will work with the community to develop local solutions.  Thus, the objective of the Monon Colloborative is to improve health through engagement, utilization of data, and access to expertise. Current initiatives to address this objective include the following: 1) Community Impact Hubs, 2) Social Determinants of Health Resource Referral Platform Collaboration, and 3) Expertise as Service for Governmental Agencies.  Community Impact Hubs allow the Indiana CTSI and its collaborators to develop a strong foundation of partnership and seek to understand prioritized health issues and approaches from the community’s lens. Collectively, this focus will identify, tailor, and evaluate interventions with successful designs being scaled and further evaluated across additional communities in Indiana.  The Social Determinants of Health Resource Referral Platform Collaboration is an opportunity for the Monon Collaboration team to convene local healthcare institutions, payors, community-based organizations, and philanthropic organizations to develop a common, neutrally-managed system to refer and evaluate utilization of social services and resources by residents in need.  Lastly, the Monon Collaborative is partnering with the Indiana Federal Social Services Administration (FSSA) to create an Expertise as Service program which deploys university expertise to evaluate health and economic benefits of existing and/or new initiatives through task orders. 



[i] Weathers T, Leech T, Staten LK, Adams E, Colbert J, Comer K. Worlds apart: Gaps in life expectancy in the Indianapolis metro area. 2015 Jul. Indianapolis: The Polis Center. Available from



Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Operations Director - Monon Collaborative
Strategic Operations Director
Director, Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute