He has served on the Board of Directors of the Arthritis Foundation (North Texas) and the Medical Advisory Board of the Lupus Foundation of America (Dallas). He has also been president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the largest ethnic medical association in the U.S., representing almost 100,000 physicians and medical students.
Passionate about improving access to good healthcare, Dr. Lakhanpal was instrumental in establishing the Lucknow Cancer Institute in 2001. He visits India regularly and organizes free health camps in his native city of Lucknow, where he personally sees patients and provides patient education. He has also organized, with medical faculty from the U.S., several free medical educational programs for the medical fraternity all over India with medical faculty from the U.S.
Henry Kunkel Early Career Investigator Award
The Henry Kunkel Early Career Investigator Award is given to physician-scientists who are within 12 years of post-rheumatology certifying examination eligibility and who have made outstanding and promising independent contributions to basic, translational or clinical research in the field of rheumatology. This year’s recipients are Cecilia Chung, MD, MPH, and J. Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD.
Cecilia Chung, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn., received her medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru. She then trained in rheumatology in Peru and Canada, and pursued training in clinical research and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Vanderbilt University. As an MPH student, she worked on projects examining the comparative safety of medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and COX-2 inhibitors. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for answering important questions related to drug safety using real-world data.
Dr. Chung completed internship, internal medicine residency and the clinical part of her rheumatology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She then returned to Vanderbilt University to complete the research-oriented part of her fellowship and, in 2012, joined the faculty at Vanderbilt. She will take up a new position as chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Miami, Fla., in January 2023 Her unusual combination of training includes clinical rheumatology, pharmacology and pharmacoepidemiology.
The overriding theme of Dr. Chung’s research addresses variation in drug response, with an emphasis on medications used by large numbers of people with rheumatic conditions. Her research is funded by the NIH and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She has led or contributed to work published in such journals the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, Arthritis & Rheumatology, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Nature Genetics.