Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom

HMO Research Network Honors PAMF Research Institute Work

Dr. Powell Jose to receive Early Career Investigator Award

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) has recently become a full member of the HMO Research Network, a consortium of 19 health care delivery organizations with the mission to use collective scientific capabilities to integrate research and medical practice for the improvement of health and health care among diverse populations.

As a part of the HMO Research Network, researchers at PAMFRI are able to connect with collaborators and leverage shared resources to conduct comparative effectiveness studies and health services research.

Harold S. Luft, Ph.D., PAMFRI Director, said, “Joining the HMO Research Network allows us to compare our research with that of other large, well-established research units including those at Kaiser, Group Health, Marshfield, Geisinger and Harvard.”

 In April 2013, the HMO Research Network will award an Early Career Investigator Award to Powell Jose, M.D., assistant research physician at the PAMF Research Institute.  Dr. Jose is broadly interested in preventive medicine with particular interest in chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.  His research focuses on chronic disease epidemiology and examining racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular risk factors and disease burden. 

His award recognizes his work in collaboration with the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, where they examined the effects of a volunteer, non-medical health coaching program for South Asians, a population known to be at high risk for developing dyslipidemia and subsequent cardiovascular disease. Subjects received culturally appropriate health messages regarding diet, physical activity, and stress reduction for over a year.  Researchers found significant reductions in cholesterol profiles for those who participated compared to those who did not. 

“Using trained, non-medical volunteers to deliver culturally appropriate health messages may be a powerful and cost-effective method to help lower cardiovascular risk in a high risk population such as South Asians,” said Dr. Jose.  This work resulted in an abstract entitled “Culturally competent heart health coaching improves lipids in South Asians.” Dr. Jose will present the abstract when receiving his Early Career Investigator Award.

Dr. Luft noted that, “Receiving this honor in our first year as a full member is testimony to the fine work of Dr. Jose and the entire team of PAMFRI researchers.”

South Asians are one of the groups at highest risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The South Asian Health Program at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation provides services and resources tailored to South Asian patients’ specific health needs. For several years, South Asian physician consultations have been available at PAMF’s medical centers in Palo Alto, Redwood City and Los Altos and, under the leadership of Powell Jose, M.D., recently expanded to PAMF’s Fremont Center.

“Our South Asian patients comprise 12 percent of all our patients and are the largest racial/ethnic minority group. PAMF’s South Asians patients have the highest rates of heart disease and diabetes,” said Latha Palaniappan, M.D., M.S., a PAMFRI investigator who leads PAMF’s South Asian Wellness Program in Palo Alto, along with Ronesh Sinha, M.D. in Redwood City and Los Altos. “Expanding PAMF’s South Asian Wellness Program and physician consultations to Fremont allows us to provide increased services and help improve the health of our South Asian patients.” 

For more information on the South Asian Health Program: