The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine conducts rigorous scientific research on treatments that address multiple aspects of patient’s health and wellness — biological, psychological, social and spiritual.
Our research aims to evaluate not only whether treatments work, but how they work. Through this research, the Osher Center aims to advance the evaluation of integrative medicine approaches and the inclusion of effective approaches in medical care.
Our research program has received two prestigious Center of Excellence award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The first award was received in 2004, and the second in 2008. It is highly unusual to receive one, let alone two, Center of Excellence grants from the NIH.
An important focus of our research is mind-body health approaches. We are the recipients of two Center of Excellence grants from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. The first Center of Excellence grant (2004-2009) is investigating the effects of a meditation based stress reduction intervention in HIV infection, including the impact on disease course, neuroendocrine function, and the immune system. The second Center of Excellence grant (2008 – 2014) involves a clinical trial investigating long-term weight loss and maintenance in obesity.
Other mind-body research includes: mind-body approaches to understanding and treating low back pain; the psychological, physical, and behavioral effects of interventions aimed at improving mood in persons with HIV; pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) for cancer treatment related fatigue; and the effects of mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting interventions.
Active areas of research include the health effects of meditation, yoga, and manual therapies, including massage. In conjunction with the clinical program, other areas of research interest include Traditional Chinese Medicine/acupuncture, botanicals, integrative psychiatry, integrative oncology, and Tai Chi.
Since the Center’s creation, our cumulative research funding has increased nearly ten-fold, rising to over $28 million. Expanding our reach, over the past two years, our program in research has been collaborating with our sister Osher Centers at Harvard University and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.