Top psychology, cardiology scientist to lead new Feinstein Institute research center


Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has appointed Karina W. Davidson to lead a new center focused on behavioral and cardiovascular health research. 

Davidson’s research focuses on the relationship between psychosocial risk factors and their role in the course and outcome of cardiovascular disease. Her new center will be located in Manhattan and comprised of a team of clinician-scientists and staff focused on disrupting the science of chronic disease management and health behavior change. Davidson will serve as dean of academic affairs, senior vice president of research, and professor and head of the new center at the Feinstein Institute, as well as professor of Behavioral Medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

Davidson previously served as the vice dean for organizational effectiveness and Center Head at Columbia University and as the chief academic officer for New York Presbyterian Hospital. She earned her Masters of Applied Science in industrial/organizational psychology as well as her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

“Karina joins the Feinstein Institute community of nearly 5,000 scientists and support staff and the Northwell community that treats more than 2 million patients with more than 4.3 million patient encounters per year,” said Dr. Thomas McGinn, head of the Center for Health Innovations and Outcomes Research at the Feinstein Institute and senior vice president of physician network operations at Northwell Health. “She will add to our breadth of research that can have an immediate impact on patient care.”

Her current research focuses on Personalized (N-of-1) trials to identify precise therapies that improve a single patients’ symptoms, conditions, or behaviors. Dr. Davidson has been the principal investigator of more than 22 federally funded grants and authored over 200 peer reviewed articles. She was recently awarded a Transformative R01 grant to accomplish this vision of re-imagining the process by which therapies are tested in the clinical encounter, which helped identify maximal benefit and minimal harm for each individual patient. 

“I am thrilled to join the Feinstein Institute and build a center of research experts who are focused on better treating cardiovascular diseases, which is the leading cause of death for men and women,” said Davidson.

For more than 25 years, she has served in leadership roles with diverse teams focused on improving scientific and educational missions. Davidson is joining the Feinstein Institute at a critical time of expansion.

“Dr. Davidson embodies our mission to produce knowledge to cure disease. As a leader in the fields of psychology and cardiology, I am delighted she will build a research program in Manhattan focusing on chronic disease management,” said Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, MD president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.


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