Jamal Rana, MD

Cardiology, Oakland

“I hoped to find a better way to predict who is at risk of heart disease and stroke, so that patients wouldn’t have to commit to treatment they don’t necessarily need,” says Dr. Rana.

When Jamal Rana, MD, joined The Permanente Medical Group, he hoped to combine his passion for practicing medicine with his love of research. Not only has he immensely enjoyed and excelled in his clinical practice, but his recent research project has the potential to make a difference in the lives of millions of people.

Dr. Rana’s study, “Accuracy of the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk Equation in a Large Contemporary, Multiethnic Population,” published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (May 2016), examines the usefulness of an updated risk calculator recommended by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association in 2013.

“The risk equation made important advances but was based on 1990s data, and we quickly realized about half of American adults would be recommended for statin treatment,” says Dr. Rana. “I knew that if anyone could calculate a person’s real cardiovascular risk, we in Kaiser Permanente, with our diverse patient population and integrated health record, certainly could.”

Dr. Rana and Alan Go, MD, director of the Comprehensive Clinical Research Unit at the Division of Research, looked at the health records of over 300,000 KP members and found that in a diverse, “real-world” population, the calculator substantially overestimated the risk of a heart attack or stroke. One of the largest studies of its kind, it also was highlighted in Time magazine.