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S04: Methodological Innovation in Integrative Medicine Research Targeting Health Disparities

10:45 - 12:00, Flagler, Terrace Level

Maria T. Chao (1), Larissa G. Duncan (1), Kimberly M. Tippens (2), Paula Gardiner (3), Danielle Dresner (3), Katherine Gergen-Barnett (3)

(1): Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), United States         

(2): National College of Natural Medicine, United States

(3): Boston Medical Center, United States



Improving health outcomes among medically underserved populations and eliminating health disparities are among the nation’s public health priorities. Integrative medicine has the potential to uniquely contribute to efforts to reduce health disparities through innovative, non-pharmaceutical, low-cost, patient-centered approaches. The fields of integrative medicine and health disparities research are limited by the sparse evidence-base of integrative medicine among diverse patients and healthcare settings and by our current knowledge of models of service delivery that improve access to integrative medicine. Innovative methodological approaches and partnerships are needed to address these knowledge gaps and the multifaceted factors contributing to health disparities. This session proposes a discussion with an expert panel of researchers applying a range of multidisciplinary methods to investigate integrative medicine, underserved populations, and health disparities. Panel speakers will present on: (1) triangulating quantitative, qualitative, and biomarker data to examine the effects of mindfulness on the role of maternal stress in birth outcomes disparities among underserved women; (2) using community-based participatory research to evaluate access to and quality of care at low cost, community acupuncture clinics; (3) conducting patient-centered outcomes research of an integrative medicine group visit model for predominantly low-income minority patients with multiple chronic conditions; (4) building clinical and research partnerships to enhance chronic disease management among underserved patients; and (5) applying frameworks of implementation science to improve the sustainability of integrative medicine interventions in safety net hospitals. Speakers and audience participants will be prompted to discuss: priority health conditions impacting disparities populations, rationale for methodological approaches and applications to health disparities research, the role of integrative medicine in achieving health equity, and perspectives on addressing knowledge gaps to advance integration of the fields of integrative medicine and health disparities.