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Dr. Isabel Roth, DrPH, MS, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation’s Program on Integrative Medicine, was recently awarded a K01* career development award from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Her mentorship team is led by Dr. Jennifer Leeman from the School of Nursing, Dr. Shabbar Ranapurwala and Dr. Justin Trogdon from the Gillings School of Public Health, Dr. Susan Gaylord from the School of Medicine, and Dr. Paula Gardiner from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Roth’s project, titled “Scaling-up Integrative Pain Management in Federally Qualified Health Centers,” will seek to develop implementation strategies to effectively integrate Integrative Medical Group Visits into community health centers. Integrative Medical Group Visits provide training in mindfulness, nutrition, and other self-care techniques to patients with chronic pain, and are led by a billing provider and mindfulness or yoga instructor. Together with Dr. Jessica Barnhill and others, Dr. Roth helped launch Integrative Medical Group Visits at the UNC Center for Rehabilitation Care in 2020. Roth argues that they have the potential to make non-pharmacological pain management more accessible to underserved communities, which is particularly important in light of the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The K01 will support her research and training in implementation science and cost effectiveness research, with a focus on working in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) until the end of 2026. FQHCs community clinics receiving federal funds to provide primary care to underserved communities. Dr. Roth is partnering with the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) to achieve her research goals.

“Working with NCCHCA from very start of this line of research means that we’ll be able to more responsive to the needs of the community, and hopefully our work will be more successful and sustainable,” says Dr. Roth. Eventually, Roth hopes that integrative pain management will be available in community health centers across the country. “We’re just getting started,” she says.


*NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Awards (K01) provide support for an intensive, mentored career development experience in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences leading to research independence. Projects typically last 3-5 years and awardees must dedicate a minimum of 75% of their effort to award activities during that time.