Global Diabetes Institute

Faculty and Staff

meredith hawkinsDr. Meredith Hawkins, MD, MS 

Dr. Hawkins is Harold and Muriel Block Professor of Medicine, co-director of the Diabetes Research Center, and founder and director of the Global Diabetes Institute at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Hawkins’ current research interests involve examination of the multi-organ pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus and of ‘malnutrition modulated diabetes mellitus’, demonstrating the paradox whereby related etiologies can fuel metabolic disease at both ends of the nutritional spectrum. At a basic science level, her work is focused on examining how adipose tissue inflammation and tissue triglyceride deposition contribute to whole-body insulin sensitivity. Her work has been recognized by the following prestigious honors and awards: the Novartis Young Investigator Award, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation of Medical Research, the Beeson Award from the American Federation of Aging Research, and election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Over the past 16 years, Dr. Hawkins has mentored more than 60 M.D. students, residents, fellows and junior faculty members at Einstein. As Director of the Global Diabetes Institute, she has been conducting comprehensive metabolic studies in partnership with Christian Medical College, Vellore for the past 6 years as well as building partnerships in Uganda. Since 2005, Dr. Hawkins has served in the leadership of the annual International Continuing Medical Education Meetings, to educate doctors around Africa and Asia (particularly in low income settings) in comprehensive diabetes management.

 
 
 

Anneka WickramanayakeAnneka Wickramanayake, MPH 

Anneka Wickramanayake is Program Manager for the Global Diabetes Institute. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics with a specialty in Global Health from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Anneka has experience in implementing community and hospital-based health interventions in developing countries. She has worked in rural hospitals in Tanzania and Uganda, to foster excellence in patient care. She has also participated in community health, through community based health education interventions and surveillance initiatives in Uganda. 

Anneka has an interest in working with refugee populations, and has participated in programs with the Tibetan refugee community in India and Nepal, as well as refugee resettlement programs in Northern California.  

Her diverse interests and experience center on providing directed health care through evidence-based interventions to under-served populations. Her current work focuses on diabetes research and programming in the developing world. 

 
 
 

nihal thomasDr. Nihal Thomas, MD, MNB 

Dr. Nihal Thomas is Professor of Medicine, Head of the Endocrinology Department, and Vice Principal for Research at Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

Dr. Thomas has authored more than 110 (pubmed indexed) manuscripts. He has supervised more than 30 international clinical trials as well as collaborative hypothesis-driven research. He is experienced in metabolism studies and has established a state-of-the-art Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at CMC that includes next-generation sequencing facilities. Dr. Thomas also has expertise in conducting epidemiological studies of diabetes in schools and remote and low-income rural areas. In the past 10 years, Dr. Thomas has mentored over 50 residents, students and fellows at CMC. Over the past 6 years, he was awarded $4M USD in research and training grants from various international agencies. In 2009, Dr. Thomas set up a distance diabetes education course funded by Project HOPE-USA, which trains health professionals throughout India and from other countries.

Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards including the Young Investigator of the Year Award from Inclen in 2003, Lourde Yedanapalli award for Outstanding Researcher in 2009, and the MMS Ahuja Oration at ESICON-2012. He has served on domestic and international (Karolinska Institute, University of Sydney) PhD committees. Dr. Thomas actively collaborates with researchers at Copenhagen University, Oxford University, Karolinska Institute and Einstein. In addition, he has edited two books, is an Associate Editor for the Indian Journal of Endocrinology, and an Editorial Board member for the journal Clinical Endocrinology.

 
 
 

michelle careyDr. Akankasha Tiwari, MD 

Dr. Akankasha Tiwari joined the Division of Endocrinology, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine after completing her fellowship in Endocrinology at Montefiore Medical Center, New York. She completed her medical education at Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi, India and Internal Medicine residency training at Jacobi Medical Center, New York. Dr. Tiwari’s current research focuses on understanding the pathways and mechanisms that regulate whole-body glucose metabolism. She has traveled to Christian Medical College Vellore, India twice in the past 4 years, assisted in conducting pancreatic clamp studies and in consolidating and analyzing the valuable data with our partners there. She has presented our ongoing collaborative work with CMC Vellore at National meetings.

 
 
 

elizabeth walkerDr. Elizabeth Walker, PhD, RN, CDE 

Dr. Walker is director of the prevention and control core for the Diabetes Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University as well as professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health.

Dr. Walker has deep experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of a number of diabetes self-management interventions, which include healthy eating, physical activity, and medication adherence components; all are grounded in behavioural theory. She is experienced in research interventions that range from research capacity-building for health care professionals in community health centers, to peer training and peer-based interventions in the community.

Dr. Walker is currently the principal investigator of a large behavioral intervention study in minority diabetes populations and has completed several National Eye Institute studies to promote ophthalmic examinations. She is a behavioral scientist and co-investigator for the multi-center Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) and co-chairs the DPP Medication Adherence Workgroup.

A diabetes nurse specialist and certified diabetes educator, Professor Walker was co-chair of an expert panel on risk perception and decision-making in chronic disease affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has also served as national President of Health Care & Education of the American Diabetes Association. In 2008, she was named a Fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

 
 
 

Sylvia KehlenbrinkDr. Sylvia Kehlenbrink, MD 

Dr. Sylvia Kehlenbrink is currently a Resident in the Social Internal Medicine Program at Albert Einstein/ Montefiore Medical Center. She graduated from medical school at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and has been working with Dr. Meredith Hawkins in Endocrinology research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine throughout medical school and residency training. Her dedication to global health is due to her international upbringing, which included time in Germany, the United States, and South America. Under the auspices of the Global Diabetes Institute she has traveled to Kampala, Uganda, to help coordinate a symposium on comprehensive diabetes management for local health care practitioners and CMC Vellore to help conduct pancreatic clamp studies. Dr. Kehlenbrink is pursuing a Fellowship in Endocrinology and hopes to join multi-sectorial global efforts and advocacy in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

 
 
 

michelle careyDr. Michelle Carey, MD, MPH 

Dr. Carey is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Carey attended medical school at Boston University School of Medicine, where she also received a Master in Public Health with a concentration in International Health. She completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, where she was part of the Global Health Residency Track, and completed fellowship training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center.  

Dr. Carey’s interests include global non-communicable diseases, particularly diabetes, and metabolic research in diabetes physiology. Dr. Carey has traveled to CMC Vellore two times, and assisted in conducting pancreatic clamp studies with our partners there.  

 
 
 

Dr. Ross Kristal, MDDr. Ross Kristal, MD 

Ross Kristal is a resident-physician in the Yale Internal Medicine Primary Care Program. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Business Administration at the University of Florida and his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition to clinical medicine, Ross is passionate about population health and non-medical determinants of health.

In medical school, Ross founded the student organization BODY (Bronx, Obesity, Diabetes and You), which is an umbrella for community-based events, collaborations, and initiatives focused on improving physical activity and diet. He worked on an initiative to link primary care with local public health agencies and community partners to promote healthy behaviors of patients and communities in the Bronx. His research using health behavior questionnaires integrated in the electronic health records has been reported on by numerous news outlets.

Ross' work extends overseas as well. He co-founded an on-going type 1 diabetes support group at Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, India, and he has co-authored a text book chapter about diabetes support groups.

Here is a story about Ross.

 
 

meredith hawkinsDr. Meredith Hawkins, MD, MS 

Dr. Hawkins is Harold and Muriel Block Professor of Medicine, co-director of the Diabetes Research Center, and founder and director of the Global Diabetes Institute at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Hawkins’ current research interests involve examination of the multi-organ pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus and of ‘malnutrition modulated diabetes mellitus’, demonstrating the paradox whereby related etiologies can fuel metabolic disease at both ends of the nutritional spectrum. At a basic science level, her work is focused on examining how adipose tissue inflammation and tissue triglyceride deposition contribute to whole-body insulin sensitivity. Her work has been recognized by the following prestigious honors and awards: the Novartis Young Investigator Award, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation of Medical Research, the Beeson Award from the American Federation of Aging Research, and election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Over the past 16 years, Dr. Hawkins has mentored more than 60 M.D. students, residents, fellows and junior faculty members at Einstein. As Director of the Global Diabetes Institute, she has been conducting comprehensive metabolic studies in partnership with Christian Medical College, Vellore for the past 6 years as well as building partnerships in Uganda. Since 2005, Dr. Hawkins has served in the leadership of the annual International Continuing Medical Education Meetings, to educate doctors around Africa and Asia (particularly in low income settings) in comprehensive diabetes management.

 
 
 

Anneka WickramanayakeAnneka Wickramanayake, MPH 

Anneka Wickramanayake is Program Manager for the Global Diabetes Institute. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics with a specialty in Global Health from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Anneka has experience in implementing community and hospital-based health interventions in developing countries. She has worked in rural hospitals in Tanzania and Uganda, to foster excellence in patient care. She has also participated in community health, through community based health education interventions and surveillance initiatives in Uganda. 

Anneka has an interest in working with refugee populations, and has participated in programs with the Tibetan refugee community in India and Nepal, as well as refugee resettlement programs in Northern California.  

Her diverse interests and experience center on providing directed health care through evidence-based interventions to under-served populations. Her current work focuses on diabetes research and programming in the developing world. 

 
 
 

nihal thomasDr. Nihal Thomas, MD, MNB 

Dr. Nihal Thomas is Professor of Medicine, Head of the Endocrinology Department, and Vice Principal for Research at Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

Dr. Thomas has authored more than 110 (pubmed indexed) manuscripts. He has supervised more than 30 international clinical trials as well as collaborative hypothesis-driven research. He is experienced in metabolism studies and has established a state-of-the-art Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at CMC that includes next-generation sequencing facilities. Dr. Thomas also has expertise in conducting epidemiological studies of diabetes in schools and remote and low-income rural areas. In the past 10 years, Dr. Thomas has mentored over 50 residents, students and fellows at CMC. Over the past 6 years, he was awarded $4M USD in research and training grants from various international agencies. In 2009, Dr. Thomas set up a distance diabetes education course funded by Project HOPE-USA, which trains health professionals throughout India and from other countries.

Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards including the Young Investigator of the Year Award from Inclen in 2003, Lourde Yedanapalli award for Outstanding Researcher in 2009, and the MMS Ahuja Oration at ESICON-2012. He has served on domestic and international (Karolinska Institute, University of Sydney) PhD committees. Dr. Thomas actively collaborates with researchers at Copenhagen University, Oxford University, Karolinska Institute and Einstein. In addition, he has edited two books, is an Associate Editor for the Indian Journal of Endocrinology, and an Editorial Board member for the journal Clinical Endocrinology.

 
 
 

michelle careyDr. Akankasha Tiwari, MD 

Dr. Akankasha Tiwari joined the Division of Endocrinology, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine after completing her fellowship in Endocrinology at Montefiore Medical Center, New York. She completed her medical education at Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi, India and Internal Medicine residency training at Jacobi Medical Center, New York. Dr. Tiwari’s current research focuses on understanding the pathways and mechanisms that regulate whole-body glucose metabolism. She has traveled to Christian Medical College Vellore, India twice in the past 4 years, assisted in conducting pancreatic clamp studies and in consolidating and analyzing the valuable data with our partners there. She has presented our ongoing collaborative work with CMC Vellore at National meetings.

 
 
 

elizabeth walkerDr. Elizabeth Walker, PhD, RN, CDE 

Dr. Walker is director of the prevention and control core for the Diabetes Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University as well as professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health.

Dr. Walker has deep experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of a number of diabetes self-management interventions, which include healthy eating, physical activity, and medication adherence components; all are grounded in behavioural theory. She is experienced in research interventions that range from research capacity-building for health care professionals in community health centers, to peer training and peer-based interventions in the community.

Dr. Walker is currently the principal investigator of a large behavioral intervention study in minority diabetes populations and has completed several National Eye Institute studies to promote ophthalmic examinations. She is a behavioral scientist and co-investigator for the multi-center Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) and co-chairs the DPP Medication Adherence Workgroup.

A diabetes nurse specialist and certified diabetes educator, Professor Walker was co-chair of an expert panel on risk perception and decision-making in chronic disease affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has also served as national President of Health Care & Education of the American Diabetes Association. In 2008, she was named a Fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

 
 
 

Sylvia KehlenbrinkDr. Sylvia Kehlenbrink, MD 

Dr. Sylvia Kehlenbrink is currently a Resident in the Social Internal Medicine Program at Albert Einstein/ Montefiore Medical Center. She graduated from medical school at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and has been working with Dr. Meredith Hawkins in Endocrinology research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine throughout medical school and residency training. Her dedication to global health is due to her international upbringing, which included time in Germany, the United States, and South America. Under the auspices of the Global Diabetes Institute she has traveled to Kampala, Uganda, to help coordinate a symposium on comprehensive diabetes management for local health care practitioners and CMC Vellore to help conduct pancreatic clamp studies. Dr. Kehlenbrink is pursuing a Fellowship in Endocrinology and hopes to join multi-sectorial global efforts and advocacy in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

 
 
 

michelle careyDr. Michelle Carey, MD, MPH 

Dr. Carey is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Carey attended medical school at Boston University School of Medicine, where she also received a Master in Public Health with a concentration in International Health. She completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, where she was part of the Global Health Residency Track, and completed fellowship training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center.  

Dr. Carey’s interests include global non-communicable diseases, particularly diabetes, and metabolic research in diabetes physiology. Dr. Carey has traveled to CMC Vellore two times, and assisted in conducting pancreatic clamp studies with our partners there.  

 
 
 

Dr. Ross Kristal, MDDr. Ross Kristal, MD 

Ross Kristal is a resident-physician in the Yale Internal Medicine Primary Care Program. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Business Administration at the University of Florida and his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition to clinical medicine, Ross is passionate about population health and non-medical determinants of health.

In medical school, Ross founded the student organization BODY (Bronx, Obesity, Diabetes and You), which is an umbrella for community-based events, collaborations, and initiatives focused on improving physical activity and diet. He worked on an initiative to link primary care with local public health agencies and community partners to promote healthy behaviors of patients and communities in the Bronx. His research using health behavior questionnaires integrated in the electronic health records has been reported on by numerous news outlets.

Ross' work extends overseas as well. He co-founded an on-going type 1 diabetes support group at Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, India, and he has co-authored a text book chapter about diabetes support groups.

Here is a story about Ross.

 
 
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