Dr. Janani Krishnaswami is currently the Program Director of the Preventive Medicine Residency Program at University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. Her goal is to engage residents and stakeholders in a collaborative, community-based approach to building and sustaining healthy lifestyles. She is committed to narrowing health disparities and promoting health in diverse and vulnerable settings, by addressing the environmental conditions that drive risk of chronic disease.
Dr. Krishnaswami builds momentum for this cause through an “upstream” educational approach: advocating for a comprehensive educational curriculum where physicians learn to engage communities and promote health, in addition to acutely treating disease. Dr. Krishnaswami established the PM program as the first ACGME-accredited residency based on the “Community-Engaged Lifestyle Medicine” curriculum, intending to build health equity and local health in the training of residents. The program’s goal is to increase healthy nutrition and activity behaviors in community settings, eventually helping to turn the tide on the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that currently pervades the Texas-Mexico border. The program will produce leaders in the field of lifestyle and community-based preventive medicine, well versed in the tools needed to promote health in underserved populations.
Dr. Krishnaswami’s background centers on building health “outside the hospital”: engaging students, community members and trainees in participatory efforts to promote wellness, prevent chronic disease, and sustain health. Prior to her role as Program Director, Janani contributed to the education of medical students and development of the new Preventive Medicine residency at the University of California – Los Angeles. Here, she spearheaded discussion and curriculum development on community engagement and quality improvement for UCLA Primary Care residents. As a Kennamer Community Medicine Fellow, Janani provided clinical care, led health improvement and innovation projects,conducted research and mentored residents in various Los Angeles safety net clinics. She received an Innovation Grant award for her project involving gaming technology in adolescent obesity prevention. In addition, she developed and taught a novel health policy curriculum for the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Internal Medicine residency program, and mentored Family Medicine and Internal Medicine residents through the program’s first community-engaged research elective. Based on her work in curriculum design and medical education, she was invited to serve on a national steering committee directing the creation of a novel inter-residency health policy fellowship, led by George Washington University and Kaiser Permanente.
Dr. Krishnaswami received her M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan,where she was named a Dean’s Scholar. She completed training in Internal Medicine (IM) and Preventiv eMedicine (PM) at University of California, San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente, and received aUniversity Fellowship to pursue her Masters in Public Health (M.P.H., epidemiology) at University of California –Berkeley. Her research and publications center on the cultural context of wellness, humanism in medical education, and measuring “best practices” of community engaged programs focusing on preventing sedentary behavior and obesity.