Dr. Balavenkatesh Kanna has a passion for research.
“The idea is to go from the basic science bench to the bedside to the community,” says the PAGNY Internist at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, “so we can prevent diseases and help our patients lead healthier lives.”
That passion led Dr. Kanna to develop and become the Chairman of the PAGNY Research and Education Committee, which has the goal of encouraging collaboration among PAGNY members, sharing research best practices and exploring research grant opportunities.
“The rationale was to bring together the strength of the six organizations where PAGNY conducts internal clinical research and hopefully encourage collaboration among them,” he says.
The Committee’s first event was a big success—PAGNY’s First Annual Research Day, which was held May 4th at the New York Academy of Medicine and featured 47 research projects by PAGNY medical professionals. Its next event will be a one-day retreat later this month to organize PAGNY’s research agenda.
“Our committee is planning to bring together a very select group of individuals from the six PAGNY facilities to create an agenda for working together on current projects and bringing in new projects so we can become a research enterprise,” Dr. Kanna says. “Our plan is to build PAGNY’s research capacity, encourage collaboration and obtain new research grants.”
To facilitate the application and management of research grants, PAGNY has created the PAGNY Health and Research Foundation in collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals. “The Foundation will apply for grants as a collaborative group for PAGNY,” Dr. Kanna says. “The Foundation will provide infrastructure support for PAGNY physicians, including staffing and budgeting to help the principal investigators apply for grants. Its purpose will be to get things done at the right time so we are successful in managing the grants.”
Dr. Kanna, who has been an Internist at Lincoln for 20 years, is a noted researcher himself in the area of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and colorectal cancer. His goal is to translate scientific evidence from the lab and clinical research into solutions that can help his patients and improve the health of the community.
He is currently leading a $1.26 million state-funded study into hypertension among minorities and obesity among cab drivers. “We need to find answers for our patients because we know the Bronx population has very poor health outcomes,” he says. “Why is that?”
He and his team have completed the first phase of the study—collecting data—and they are about to launch the second phase, which will involve testing interventions. “We are translating evidence we know into real settings in the community to see if they work in real life,” he says.
Dr. Kanna is also the President of Lincoln’s Faculty Practice Plan (FFP). Under his leadership, the Lincoln FPP is a model for FPP’s at other PAGNY institutions.
Dr. Kanna received his Bachelor’s degree in India, a Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and his Medical degree from NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln’s Internal Medicine program in 1997. He lives with his wife and two children in Scarsdale in Westchester County.