Division of General Internal Medicine

Department of Medicine Physician-Scientists Receive ECRIP Awards

Two Department of Medicine physician-scientists have been awarded funding under the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP) to supplement current research efforts at Montefiore, Montefiore/New Rochelle and Jacobi hospital. The ECRIP funding has been awarded in two categories: to centers and to individuals.

Julia H. Arnsten, M.D.
Dr. Julia Arnsten, Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine) and Division Chief, General Internal Medicine, received a Center award for the Montefiore Einstein Center for Comparative Effect Research (CCER) to help improve patient-centered outcomes in urban, multi-ethnic, underserved populations.

Dr. Arnsten is director of CCER, which also provides support to investigators to transform comparative effectiveness research (CER) ideas into feasible projects; collaborate in multidisciplinary teams, and maintain a broad research agenda encompassing patient-centered health services and comparative effectiveness research. Research programs include addiction treatment; chronic pain management; care and treatment of Hepatitis C; patient safety; tobacco cessation, transgender health, among other programs.

Center awards provide funding for teaching hospitals to form research teams focused on a specific topic, disease or condition, and enhance the ability of these hospitals to seek additional funding from the federal government to advance their work. Montefiore is among 18 institutions that will receive nearly $700,000 over two years for the training of a team comprised of at least three fellows.

Meredith Hawkins, M.D.

Dr. Meredith Hawkins, Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology); Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Medicine; Director, Global Diabetes Institute; and Co-Director, Einstein Diabetes Research Center, received an Individual ECRIP award for projects at both Montefiore/New Rochelle and Jacobi.

The hospitals are among eight institutions that will receive Individual Awards of up to $150,000 over two years, to allow teaching hospitals to build their research capacity and train researchers in a variety of diverse areas.

At Montefiore/New Rochelle, the project will examine how to restore normal responses to hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes. Such patients are often at risk of severe hypoglycemia, which can be fatal, due to loss of normal responses to a drop in blood glucose. We will explore approaches to restore this regulation.

At Jacobi, researchers will examine patients with diabetes who have low BMI's. This is related to a project Dr. Hawkins and researchers are conducting in India to study a poorly understood form of diabetes called "Malnutrition Modulated Diabetes Mellitus." Interestingly, with immigration to New York from regions such as South Asia where this form of diabetes is more prevalent, doctors in local hospitals are managing more patients who clearly do not have Type 1 diabetes and yet are far leaner than those with Type 2 diabetes. Dr. Hawkins said researchers will be performing careful studies of insulin secretion and insulin resistance to gain a better understanding of how to manage this challenging condition,” Dr. Hawkins said.

As part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to promote life sciences, Montefiore is one of 26 academic medical institutions that will receive $700,000 from New York State to train physician researchers and support research projects in areas such as cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and pain management. The awards will help train at least 62 physician researchers over the next two years.

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