Debra K. Litzelman, MA, MD, MACP

D. Craig Brater Professor of Global Health Education, Indiana University School of Medicine
Associate Director, Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research
Associate Director, William M. Tierney Center for Health Services Research, Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
Director of Education, Indiana University Center for Global Health

Dr. Litzelman is a Senior Research Scientist in Regenstrief Institute, Inc. with research interests in interprofessional education and practice, innovative health care system's workforce development, and patient-centered behavioral change strategies. 

Dr. Litzelman has used her experience in organizational change interventions with primary care health care groups working to establish relational Patient Centered Medical Homes and with IU Health oncology care groups. Her research focuses on the impact of practical training to prepare interprofessional health care team members to optimally function within relational, collaborative models of care. As principal investigator of the IU Health Values Grand Challenge "WeCare Indiana: Improving Infant Mortality Rates in Indiana" project, Dr. Litzelman, with interdisciplinary and community-based teams, is implementing and evaluating this community-based population health initiative. 


As Director of Education for the Indiana University Center for Global Health, Dr. Litzelman focuses on bilateral exchange of ideas to improve health and well-being of the medically underserved across the globe. The ideas for creating a new workforce to care for vulnerable elders arose from her work in Kenya where community health workers are widely deployed to improve care of patients with chronic illnesses. Her global efforts have local impact here in Indiana.  As co-investigator on a CMS-funded project to expand the Aging Brain Center (ABC) collaborative care model to a wider number of older adult patients with cognitive and mood disorders and caregivers, Dr. Litzelman as led the Workforce Training Core, which developed and implemented innovative screening, hiring and training processes to prepare the ABC Care Coordinator Assistants. 


Dr. Litzelman's most recently funded effort will tackle Indiana's opioid crisis in the project, "CARE Plus: A Community-based Addiction Reduction plus Policy Innovations Program for Indiana." CARE Plus will focus on training community health workers (CHWs) in screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment and hiring and training Addiction Recovery CHWs to improve our ability to support and enable opiate-addicted mothers and fathers to engage in substance abuse and mental health treatment through workforce development.

Dr. Litzelman is board certified in Internal Medicine and an attending physician in both Eskenazi Medical Center and Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center.

Indiana University Health Profile



  General Internal Medicine
  Health Services Research



Physician Group:  
     IU Health Physicians  
Hospital Privileges:  
     IU Health Methodist/IU Health University  



School of Medicine      University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Fellowship      Indiana University Medical Center
Residency      University of Cincinnati School of Medicine

Active Projects

WeCare Plus Indiana

2017-20, Principal Investigator
Aims: The goal is to decrease risk factors for infant mortality using mHealth and lay health coaches in Indiana.


WeCare Indiana: Improving Maternal and Infant Health to Reduce Infant Mortality

2016-17, Principal Investigator
Aims: The goal is to decrease risk factors for infant mortality using mHealth and lay health coaches.
Learn more:  


Faculty Development for the Interprofessional Teaching of Humanism

2016-18, Co-Investigator (Branch, PI)
Solicitation:  Josiah Macy Foundation
Aims:  The goal is to improve faculty teaching and role modeling of humanistic and professional values in a multi-institutional faculty development program.


Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP)

2015-18, Principal Investigator
Aims: The goal is to train interprofessional health care teams to provide improved geriatric care.


Transformative Power of EMR to Create Virtual Medical Education Laboratories using e-Patient Panels to Prepare Future Physicians to Excel in New Health Care Systems

2013-18, Co-Investigator (PI: Allen)
Aims: The goal is to use a clone of a real EMR to train medical students about health delivery science and systems.


Enhancing Graduate Training for Implementation Research in Chronic Diseases  

2012-18, Principal Investigator (beginning June 2016)
Aims: This initiative seeks to advance two interrelated aims: 1) development and implementation of a MUSOM trans-disciplinary clinical and implementation research training program for graduate trainees, and 2) support of a clinical delivery system ‘laboratory’ for Kenyan trainee translational and implementation research practicums.


Selected Publications                               |                              Go To PubMed List >>

1: Branch WT Jr, Weil AB, Gilligan MC, Litzelman DK, Hafler JP, Plews-Ogan M, Rider EA, Osterberg LG, Dunne D, Derse AR, Pittman JR, Frankel RM. How physicians draw satisfaction and overcome barriers in their practices: "It sustains me". Patient Educ Couns. 2017 Jun 8. pii: S0738-3991(17)30348-8. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2017.06.004. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28623052.

2: Litzelman DK, Inui TS, Griffin WJ, Perkins A, Cottingham AH, Schmitt-Wendholt KM, Ivy SS. Impact of Community Health Workers on Elderly Patients' Advance Care Planning and Health Care Utilization: Moving the Dial. Med Care. 2017 Apr;55(4):319-326. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000675. PubMed PMID: 27875482;PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5352503.

3: Litzelman DK, Inui TS, Schmitt-Wendholt KM, Perkins A, Griffin WJ, Cottingham AH, Ivy SS. Clarifying Values and Preferences for Care Near the End of Life: The Role of a New Lay Workforce. J Community Health. 2017 Mar 28. doi:10.1007/s10900-017-0336-5. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28353007.

4: Azar JM, Johnson CS, Frame AM, Perkins SM, Cottingham AH, Litzelman DK. Evaluation of interprofessional relational coordination and patients' perception of care in outpatient oncology teams. J Interprof Care. 2017 Mar;31(2):273-276.doi: 10.1080/13561820.2016.1248815. Epub 2016 Dec 12. PubMed PMID: 27936991.

5: Litzelman DK, Cottingham AH, Griffin W, Inui TS, Ivy SS. Enhancing the prospects for palliative care at the end of life: A statewide educational demonstration project to improve advance care planning. Palliat Support Care. 2016 Dec;14(6):641-651. Epub 2016 Jun 20. PubMed PMID: 27320687.

6: LaMantia MA, Perkins AJ, Gao S, Austrom MG, Alder CA, French DD, Litzelman DK,Cottingham AH, Boustani MA. Response to depression treatment in the Aging BrainCare Medical Home model. Clin Interv Aging. 2016 Oct 31;11:1551-1558. eCollection2016. PubMed PMID: 27826188; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5096774.

7: Carney PA, Palmer RT, Fuqua Miller M, Thayer EK, Estroff SE, Litzelman DK, Biagioli FE, Teal CR, Lambros A, Hatt WJ, Satterfield JM. Tools to Assess Behavioral and Social Science Competencies in Medical Education: A Systematic Review. Acad Med. 2016 May;91(5):730-42. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001090. Review. PubMed PMID: 26796091; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4846480.

8: Umoren RA, Gardner A, Stone GS, Helphinstine J, Machogu EP, Huskins JC, Johnson CS, Ayuo PO, Mining S, Litzelman DK. Career choices and global health engagement: 24-year follow-up of U.S. participants in the Indiana University-Moi University elective. Healthc (Amst). 2015 Dec;3(4):185-9. doi:10.1016/j.hjdsi.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Oct 23. PubMed PMID: 26699341.

9: Rdesinski RE, Chappelle KG, Elliot DL, Litzelman DK, Palmer R, Biagioli FE. Development and use of an instrument adapted to assess the clinical skills learning environment in the pre-clinical years. Med Sci Educ. 2015Sep;25(3):285-291. Epub 2015 May 27. PubMed PMID: 26509103; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC4617779.

10: Cottingham AH, Alder C, Austrom MG, Johnson CS, Boustani MA, Litzelman DK. New workforce development in dementia care: screening for "caring": preliminary data. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Jul;62(7):1364-8. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12886. Epub 2014 Jun 10. PubMed PMID: 24916743.

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