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S11: Community-Based Integrative Medicine Research: The Challenge of Creating and Evaluating Effective Interventions for Urban Youth

13:30 - 14:30, Flagler, Terrace Level

Chris D'Adamo (1), Brian Berman (1,2), Beverly Pierce (2), Ali Smith (3), Margaret Chesney (4), Vance Benton (5), Claudia Witt (6)

(1): University of Maryland School of Medicine, United States          

(2): The Institute for Integrative Health, United States

(3): The Holistic Life Foundation, United States

(4): University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, United States

(5): Patterson High School, United States

(6): Charité University Berlin, Germany



Urban youth suffer from a disproportionately high prevalence of obesity, depression, violent behavior, and many other deleterious parameters of health and wellbeing. While integrative medicine offers numerous tools that can help ameliorate these disparities, access to integrative medical care among urban youth is severely limited. Accordingly, an interdisciplinary consortium composed of academic researchers, community-based non-profit leadership, and high school administrators designed, implemented, and evaluated a series of integrative health programs that directly engaged urban high school students in the community. These programs focused upon feasible and sustainable physical activity, personalized nutrition and cooking tailored to individual preferences, diverse strategies for mental resilience and stress management, and cultivation of environmental awareness and connectedness to nature. This symposium will feature presentations describing the intervention content, study design, and outcomes data for each of the three following studies: 1.) A controlled trial assessing whether an original and highly experiential curriculum in nutrition and cooking focusing upon using spices and herbs could improve diet quality and attitudes toward healthy eating; 2.) An outcomes evaluation of the effects of a multi-component integrative health summer program (farming, nutrition, cooking, yoga, mindfulness) on a variety of physical, emotional, and behavioral outcomes; 3.) An outcomes evaluation of a multi-component mindfulness intervention (yoga, breath work, silent reflection) offered to the entire student body and staff of a large urban high school. This symposium will focus upon the complexity of designing, implementing, and evaluating multi-component interventions of integrative medicine modalities in the community using mixed methods and stakeholder-informed outcomes to assess the real-world effectiveness of these programs. In addition to the three studies that will be presented, an international panel of experts in integrative medicine research and community leaders will offer their diverse perspectives on the past, present, and future of multi-component integrative health research conducted in the community.