Award for Global Engagement

2011 Recipients

Kumar G. Belani

For more than a decade, Dr. Kumar Belani, professor of anesthesiology at the Medical School, has had a direct and positive impact on the University’s global engagement endeavors by advancing the institution’s work in India and building a solid foundation in one of the most strategically important parts of the world.

Dr. Belani earned his medical degree from St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India. Soon after, he came to Minnesota to complete his anesthesiology training. During his career at the University he has made outstanding contributions to global education and international programs. He provided educational leadership by coordinating programs and establishing rotation and elective sites for University medical students and residents at a multitude of hospitals in India. He has directed workshops, seminars, and educational programs, including the Global Health Institute with seven Indian institutions. He serves as a faculty mentor for students seeking rotations in India and is an adviser for the Global Health and Tropical Medicine Workshop.  

He seeks to develop global relationships that are mutually beneficial to both the partnership country and the University. Dr. Belani was key to the success of many relationships by understanding the cultures involved, such as in the relationship with the Indian Council on Medical Research, the Indian equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health; and in establishing the first bone marrow transplant program at Manipal Hospital in Bangalore.

Dr. Belani has been a member of the Medical School’s International Medical Education and Research Program (IMER) advisory committee since its inception in 1998. He has served as a member of the Center for Global Health Executive Committee, the Global Health Interdisciplinary Concentration, and the steering committee for the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility. He is the director of global programs (India) and an adjunct professor at the School of Public Health and the assistant vice president of India affairs at the Academic Health Center.

His impact on global health extends far beyond the University campus. He is also a professor of global health at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Institute of Medical Sciences in Bangalore, India, and lectures extensively worldwide on a range of topics around perioperative care and global health. Most recently, Dr. Belani was instrumental in the successful nomination of world-renowned Indian philanthropist and cardiac surgeon Devi Prasad Shetty to receive an honorary degree from the University of Minnesota, the first ever for an Indian physician. Locally, Dr. Belani has worked tirelessly to strengthen the relationship between the University and the Twin Cities Indian community. He has been active with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Minnesota—an organization that aims to foster entrepreneurship globally—to make connections with Indian medical colleges and hospitals.

Dr. Belani’s strong leadership and substantial contributions have resulted in increased internationalization at the University and major improvement in the lives of ordinary people in India. He is enthusiastic and passionate about his work, grounded in the understanding that the ultimate goal is to improve the health status of citizens around the world and to educate students in matters of social responsibility and global engagement.