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September 4, 2015 

HHC Lincoln Medical Center Receives State Grant to Study Obesity and Hypertension in Inner-City Settings

(Bronx, NY – September 3, 2015) Mr. Milton Nuñez, Executive Director of Lincoln Medical Center of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), announced today that HHC Lincoln has been selected by New York State to receive over $1.26 million over two years from the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program for biomedical research on obesity and hypertension in minority patients.

To be led by Balavenkatesh Kanna, MD, MPH, FACP, and Maria Espejo, MD, researchers at Lincoln will use the state funds to study how to achieve weight loss and blood pressure control among minority patients within various inner-city settings utilizing a shared decision making approach.

“Obesity and hypertension are important public health problems faced by our community,” says Milton Nuñez.  “We believe that patient engagement is key to the success of this health program.  Our experienced team of researchers will apply cutting edge and novel patient centered methods to address these chronic health issues.”

“Community based settings offer us a unique and favorable opportunity to ask research questions on how we can counter the barriers related to weight loss and blood pressure control, while engaging the patient in shared decision making,” according to Dr. Kanna, lead researcher for the Center Award.   He stated that a community based approach ensures that the interventions for improving chronic disease conditions were selected by patients themselves “and therefore have a higher likelihood of achieving success.”

Another New York City public hospitals – HHC Elmhurst in Queens – also received an award for biomedical research under the program. Overall, 26 hospitals throughout the State were selected to receive a total of $17.2 million.

The Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program was first created in 2000 upon the recommendation of the New York State Council on Graduate Medical Education, an advisory body of medical educators within the New York State Department of Health that provides policy advice relating to medical education and training. Almost $103 million has been awarded since the program’s inception.

The awards are intended to provide funding for teaching hospitals to form research teams focused on a specific topic, disease, or condition to further the development of clinician researchers and give hospitals a foundation from which they can seek additional funding from the federal government to build upon their work. The awards are typically used to train researchers in diverse research fields such as obesity, diabetes, lupus, kidney transplant, schizophrenia, HPV infection and hearing loss.


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