Research

The goal of the UA Division of Integrative Medicine is to contribute rigorous scientific research on the integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and related therapies with conventional medicine.

We are delighted to collaborate with others on clinical outcomes research. Our graduates form a uniquely trained and broad network amongst whom outcomes research projects can be pursued and completed.

The Center’s research program, led by Esther M. Sternberg, MD, continues at the forefront of integrative medicine scientific inquiry. In 2015 we broadened our partnerships with other university departments, as well as national and corporate research programs, to further develop and extend our scope of clinical outcomes research. Our goals are to convert basic science findings to IM practice and to continually validate the effectiveness of our educational programs.

University of Arizona Institute on Place and Wellbeing

The UA Institute on Place and Wellbeing (UAIPW) is a partnership of the UA Center for Integrative Medicine, UA College of Medicine - Tucson, and UA College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture in a collaboration unique in the nation — the study of the impact of the built environment on health and wellness.

Mobile and non-invasive health devices currently in development at the Institute and other UA laboratories will be used to determine people’s health and wellbeing responses linked to environmental features to which they are exposed. The impact of complex integrative medicine interventions on health, wellbeing and disease prevention will also be measured by these methods.

This research is changing the landscape of health to include human health and wellbeing outcomes in standards for green and sustainable design, leading to the creation of healthy environments of all types and scales—hospitals, office buildings, schools and homes, as well as urban design.

On this new frontier of integrative health, attention to the environment plays an important role in prevention and facilitating behaviors that enhance health (e.g., exercise and meditation).

Learn more...

Integrative Medicine Primary Care Trial: UAIHC–Phoenix Outcomes Study

Comparative Effectiveness Study of an Integrative Primary Care Clinic Model on Clinical and Cost Outcomes in an Employee Health Benefit Program

A generous grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation is funding a study at our University of Arizona Integrative Health Clinic (UAIHC) in Phoenix examining the health- and cost-effectiveness of integrative primary care versus conventional medical care. The Integrative Medicine Primary Care Trial (IMPACT) is under the leadership of principal investigator Victoria Maizes, MD, in collaboration with senior health services researchers, economists, and health claims analysts from the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomics Research—the HOPE Center—at the UA College of Pharmacy.

More than 590 patients and staff members combined have enrolled to date, with new study participants being added weekly. Improvements in lifestyle behaviors are being tracked and identified, and data including lab results, body weight and BMI are being gathered. Economic data reflecting care costs and employer health insurance claims (for patients whose employers have an agreement with UAIHC to participate in the study) will also be assessed.

The Fidelity Study component of IMPACT, which measures—from the staff and patients’ perspectives — whether we are delivering integrative medicine, has been completed and analysis is under way. Early results are very encouraging. The subject data show statistically significant improvements in:

  1. quality of life (i.e., general, mental, and physical);
  2. overall sense of wellbeing;
  3. productivity (i.e., at work and in their lives overall), and
  4. extremely high levels of satisfaction with the multiple aspects of the care they are receiving.

This groundbreaking study is poised to make significant contributions to national health care policy debates. Findings will further establish the Center as an innovator of effective models of integrative primary care.

Nano-Biology: From Basic Research to Technology

As a member of the FlexTech Alliance, a historic public-private partnership of federal, private sector and academic institutions, the UA Center for Integrative Medicine continues the development of wearable monitoring sensors that will measure human stress and immune response.  Using multiple analytical platforms, we have detected several key biomarkers in sweat, and are identifying specific hormone chemical structures and developing associated prototype devices.

Once fully developed, this Lab-in-a-Bandage technology will be applied to detect the effects of integrative interventions on immune and stress response noninvasively in sweat, without the need to draw blood.  This project was the lead Demonstration Project in the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute Award founded by President Obama and managed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

This innovative area forms the basic research component of the Center and UAIPW research programs.

Learn about other focus areas for our research...

Current Clinical Trials

Clinical trials often involve a research study conducted to evaluate a medical procedure or medical product, such as a drug. Not all University of Arizona studies involve drugs or interventions. Some studies use surveys or evaluate medical records to find new and better ways to help people. Others recruit healthy subjects, or controls, to better evaluate and compare results with those of non-healthy subjects.

Find research studies under way now at the UA College of Medicine

How to Participate

Whether you’re a potential candidate to participate as a patient or subject in the study, you would like to participate as a “healthy volunteer” for the control group or you’re a research or clinical professional interested in collaborating with the research team—simply contact the study coordinator listed for each individual clinical research study above.

For more information on research directly related to the UA Center on Integrative Medicine, contact Dr. Esther Sternberg’s assistant Jackie Gomez at (520) 626-6102 or jcgomez@email.arizona.edu, or visit the center’s research webpage.