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2023 has seen substantial growth in innovative research in our department. New projects include investigations into the health of eSports competitors (Dr. Katie Bartolo), symptom trajectories among children with concussion (Dr. Pete Duquette in collaboration with Duke), and self-compassion for parents/caregivers of children with physical disabilities (Dr. Christine Lathren). Other notable investigations include three studies in cancer populations (Dr. Sasha Knowlton): 1) assessing the impact of physical and occupational therapy for patients admitted for bone marrow transplant; 2) assessing the impact of physical therapy pre-cystectomy for patients with bladder cancer; and 3) assessing pre-treatment needs for patients with metastatic breast cancer.  Dr. William Filer is collaborating with biomedical engineering on neural control of a powered prosthetic ankle.

Our ongoing research remains robust and includes a multi-site pragmatic study with Boston Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh (OPTIMUM) that is testing a mindfulness intervention delivered via a telehealth-based Integrative Medicine Group Visit in primary care for people with chronic low back pain. The study is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative that is funding over 1000 studies aimed at understanding and managing pain and improving the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction. UNC-based leadership includes Dr. Susan Gaylord and Dr. Kim Faurot (Site PIs for the main study), Dr. Jessica Barnhill (PI for the Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions Supplement), and Dr. Isabel Roth (PI for the Community Engagement Supplement). Dr. Roth is also working on an NIH-K01-funded study of implementing Integrative Medicine Group Visits in federally-qualified health centers across North Carolina. The NIH funded SMILE study, an R01 led by Dr. Gaylord with collaborators from the Department of Psychiatry and the Research Triangle Institute (Faurot, Co-I) seeks to test synchronous group online mindfulness training compared with a mindfulness app and a waitlist control for Hispanics/Latinos and Blacks/African Americans with anxiety. Project BrEAtHe (Brothers, Reclaiming, Emotional, Awareness, Tranquility, Healing & Existence), an NIH funded R34 trial co-led by Dr. Gaylord, is developing a mindfulness intervention for young Black men at risk for substance use disorders. Dr. Gaylord is also Co-PI with Dr. Cheryl Giscombe (Lead PI) in the School of Nursing, and Co-I Dr. Faurot on the HARMONY study, an NIH funded R01 clinical trial investigating a culturally tailored diet, exercise, and mindfulness intervention for African-American women with metabolic syndrome. Finally, the Wheelchair CHAMPS study, a collaborative effort with NC State engineers (Dr. Will Filer with Drs. Faurot and Barnhill), is developing user-centered powered mobility device charging stations and infrastructure.