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Sundar Natarajan

Sundar Natarajan, MD

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, health services research, clinical epidemiology, Randomized clinical trials, Population-based analyses

The overall goals of my lab’s research are to improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and to optimize care for conditions such as diabetes and heart failure. We aim to prevent cardiovascular disease and other complications by optimizing care for these complex chronic conditions.

Our behavioral clinical trials and clinical quality improvement projects include the following:

  • VALOR-QI: Veterans Affairs Lipid Optimization Reimagined Quality Improvement Program for patients with Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease. 

    This quality improvement project aims to refine clinical pathways and processes to impact Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) management of Veterans through a Learning Healthcare System model of quality improvement designed to enhance the management of dyslipidemia among those with high-risk ASCVD.

    New program for veterans with high cholesterol, associated cardiovascular disease | American Heart Association

  • PRagmatic EValuation of evENTs And Benefits of Lipid-lowering in oldEr adults (PREVENTABLE) This large study’s objective is to generate knowledge about the role of statins in older adults in whom risk/benefit for primary prevention is understudied. The purpose is to learn if taking a statin could help older adults live well for longer by preventing dementia, disability, or heart disease.


  • Preventing Amputation by Tailored Risk-based Intervention to Optimize Treatment (PATRIOT): This randomized controlled trial (RCT) tests the effectiveness the effectiveness of a personalized intervention aimed to improve diet, exercise, medication adherence and self-care in order to prevent incident foot lesions in patients with diabetes (primary prevention trial).
  • STEP UP to Avert Amputation in Diabetes: This trial tests the effectiveness of a tailored intervention aimed to improve self-care and self-monitoring in order to prevent the recurrence of foot ulcers in patients with a previous diabetic foot ulcer (secondary prevention trial).
  • VIP Treatment in Heart Failure: This interdisciplinary theory-based, three-arm RCT bases one active arm on the transtheoretical model (TTM), while the other active arm adds environmental (human and built) tailoring to TTM with the goals of interest being to enhance medication adherence and improve quality of life.
  • VALOR in Heart Failure: This trial evaluates a quality improvement program (QIP) to improve heart failure care using a pretest-posttest control group design. The QIP involves a patient-based behavioral and checklist intervention, as well as provider and system-targeted checklists and treatment defaults.
  • The SMILE BP Toolkit Project: this builds on our blood pressure trial to develop and pilot a toolkit and then perform formative evaluation of toolkit implementation.
  • TACTICS: This RCT tests the effects of a transtheoretical model-based intervention and a prospect theory-based intervention in improving low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in adults with diabetes.
  • A Behavioral Intervention to Improve Hypertension Control: This three-arm RCT evaluates whether a telephone-delivered stage-matched behavioral intervention is effective in lowering blood pressure compared to a health education intervention and usual care.

Our lab also has expertise in population science. We analyze large population-based databases to improve CVD risk assessment and management. We have experience working with the behavioral risk factor surveillance system (BRFSS), the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), the Framingham Heart Study data, the Nhanes Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (NHEFS), and other databases.

We welcome students interested in joining the lab. We conduct our research projects in a busy urban hospital setting with a multidisciplinary group that includes individuals with expertise in medicine, psychology, epidemiology, statistics, health education, public health, and health economics. There are opportunities for students to obtain research experience through working with observational data or work on our RCTs as a clinical research volunteer. Please email for details.

Academic office

423 East 23rd Street

Fifteenth Floor, Room 15160N

New York, NY 10010

Lab Website
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MD from Madras Medical College

Fellowship, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Primary Care Physician-Scientist Fellowship

Residency, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Categorical Program in Internal Medicine

Salovaara, Priscilla K; Li, Christine; Nicholson, Andrew; Lipsitz, Stuart R; Natarajan, Sundar

Clinical trials. 2022 Dec 22; 17407745221140041

Albanese, Natalie N Y; Lin, Iris; Friedberg, Jennifer P; Lipsitz, Stuart R; Rundle, Andrew; Quinn, James W; Neckerman, Kathryn M; Nicholson, Andrew; Allegrante, John P; Wylie-Rosett, Judith; Natarajan, Sundar

Health psychology. 2022 Oct; 41(10):701-709

Rodriguez, Maria Antonia; Wang, Binhuan; Hyoung, Sangmin; Friedberg, Jennifer; Wylie-Rosett, Judith; Fang, Yixin; Allegrante, John P; Lipsitz, Stuart R; Natarajan, Sundar

Hypertension. 2021 Jun; 77(6):1867-1876

Rodriguez, Maria Antonia; Friedberg, Jennifer P; DiGiovanni, Ana; Wang, Binhuan; Wylie-Rosett, Judith; Hyoung, Sangmin; Natarajan, Sundar

American journal of health behavior. 2019 Jul 01; 43(4):659-670

O'Malley, Patrick G; Arnold, Michael J; Kelley, Cathy; Spacek, Lance; Buelt, Andrew; Natarajan, Sundar; Donahue, Mark P; Vagichev, Elena; Ballard-Hernandez, Jennifer; Logan, Amanda; Thomas, Lauren; Ritter, Joan; Neubauer, Brian E; Downs, John R

Annals of internal medicine. 2020 Nov 17; 173(10):822-829

Bergsten, Tova M; Donnino, Robert; Wang, Binhuan; Nicholson, Andrew; Fang, Yixin; Natarajan, Sundar

Preventive medicine (1972). 2019 Oct 31; 105878