Lincoln Medical Center (146256)
Credit: Contributed

Milton Nunez, executive director of Lincoln Medical Center of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, announced that HHC Lincoln has been selected by New York 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 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,” said Nunez. “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 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.”

Two other New York City public hospitals—HHC Elmhurst in Queens and HHC Kings County in Brooklyn—also received awards 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 on 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 on 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.

Lincoln Medical Center, located at 234 E. 149th St. in the Bronx, is a 362-bed, Acute Care Level 1 Trauma Center with the busiest single site emergency department in the region. Winner of the 2012 American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Finalist Award and 2013 recognition as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” by the Joint Commission, the hospital emphasizes primary care and specialty medicine and uses the latest advances in medical science. Lincoln Medical Center is a member of the Generations+/Northern Manhattan Health Network, a healthcare conglomerate that is part of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is a $6.7 billion integrated health care delivery system and the largest municipal health care organization in the country. Its own health plan, Metroplus, is a plan of choice for nearly half a million New Yorkers. HHC serves 1.4 million New York City residents every year, of which more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, five skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community-based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC is the recipient of the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit or follow us online at or