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New Frontiers in Medicine

June 1, 2024

Lifetime Achievement Award 
Shankar Niranjan, MD

Dr. Sankar Niranjan is a nephrologist in Bloomfield CT for the last 20 years and is affiliated with Saint Francis Hospital. He obtained his medical degree from the Kilpauk Medical College, India (1994), his medical residencies in the UK and the University of Connecticut. He has authored multiple posters and publications in peer-reviewed journals/international conferences. He has been awarded the Thomas R. Preston Best Teaching Faculty Award by the UCONN Internal Medicine residency program, the Arthur Pasquarella Leadership in Action National Award (2021) and is being conferred the Medical Advisory Board Distinguished Service National Award in the spring of 2024.

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Lifetime Achievement Award 
Varalakshmi Niranjan, MD

​Dr. Varalakshmi Niranjan is an Associate professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Connecticut. She obtained her medical degree from Kilpauk Medical College in India and was trained further in UK and then in United States. She is board certified in internal medicine and obesity medicine and practices both specialties. She is the director of Lifestyle Medicine track and faculty advisor for Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group in UConn. She is the founder of Project ECHO for obesity in Primary care to educate primary care providers nationwide. She represented Obesity Medicine Association in CT State legislative assembly to pass the bill for coverage of anti obesity medications. She is the founder of ‘Walk with the Doc’ UConn chapter that conducts monthly walks in Elizabeth Park, Hartford, engaging patient community in lifestyle changes along with the medical community. She has given interviews in NBC CT and WNPR on the significance of lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapy on obesity management. She has received multiple awards from various medical organizations including being nominated by the medical community as CT Magazine Top Doctor for the past three consecutive years.

Friend of CAPI Award
Jay Kurup

​Jay Kurup graduated from University of Pune in Computer science and engineering, worked in the health insurance, retail and financial industry for over 25years as an IT leader. He always had a passion for real estate and gradually steered towards being a real estate investor and residential developer dedicated to enhancing the urban landscape. His journey in real estate began seven years ago, driven by a deep-rooted commitment to revitalizing neighborhoods and maximizing the potential of underutilized properties. He is Currently working on two major developments in Clinton and Greenwich CT.

He has been involved in all CAPI activities and always willing to lend a helping hand whether it is in computer related matters or helping organize for our meetings.

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Outstanding Medical Student Award

Poorna Balakumar

Ms. Poorna Balakumar, is a first-year medical student at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine (UConn SOM). She matriculated to the UConn SOM following an impressive undergraduate performance at the University of Connecticut, where she triple majored in Molecular and Cell Biology, Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences, and Asian Arts, Culture and Feminism, and dual minored in Healthcare Management and Insurance Studies and India Studies. Through her efforts she achieved multiple awards including Dean’s List, Presidential Scholar, Babbidge Scholar, University Scholar and Honors Scholar.

Ms. Balakumar has become involved in women’s health, not only in her continuity clinic in an ob/gyn’s office, but also through her participation in the South Park Inn Medical Clinic. She has been selected by her peers to serve as the Director of Women and Female Reproductive Clinic for the 2024-2025 academic year.

She also has continued her passion for dance. She currently serves as the Legends National Dance Championship Judging and External Affairs Chair for the Desi Dance Network, Inc. She also serves as the Senior Advisor for the UConn Thunderaas collegiate dance team, after previously being a member herself, as well as captain, chief financial officer and internal executive board during her undergraduate career.

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