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Complementary/Integrative Healthcare Research Education Faculty (CREF) 

The CREF faculty and the Fellowship Coordinating Team (FCT) provide a structured CIH-related research-education experience for postdoctoral fellows.

Each CREF member will provide two or more core research lectures, or equivalents, annually. They will also serve as mentors or supporting faculty to Fellows when appropriate. Other mentors have also made commitments to give an annual lecture on a topic of expertise, but the CREF and FCT members will constitute the primary CIH research educators.

Gary Asher, MD, MPH, Research Professor of Family Medicine, was our first T32 CIH Fellow and is an accomplished academic physician-researcher with extensive training in various CAM therapies, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, and Tai Chi Chuan. He is the Director of Integrative Medicine Services at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He conducts systematic reviews for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and teaches evidence-based practice at the Gillings School of Global Public Health (SPH).  He will lecture on new methodology related to CAM modalities such as Ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, and botanical supplement research; describe his experience in transitioning from Phase I to Phase II trials using the effects of curcumin on biological markers relevant to colorectal cancer; and teach systematic review methods. Dr. Asher is a supporting faculty and provides mentoring to Drs. Kadro and Hill are both naturopathic physicians interested in CAM and cancer research.

Search for publications on PubMed using Asher GN as search criteria.

Jessica Barnhill, MD, MPH, a UNC T32 CIH Fellow, was appointed Assistant Professor in the Dept. PM&R. She is a holistic, practicing physician who directs our Integrative Medicine Clinic and will soon expand UNC Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Consult Service. Her Fellowship research focused on implementing the Veterans Administration Whole Health Model and the integrative group medical visit (IGMV) protocol within the PM&R outpatient clinic. She has a focus on using the IGMV to provide access to CIH   for underserved populations, as well as chronic pain patients.  Recently, she has expanded the IGMV model for patients with post-acute sequelae of COVID-19. Dr. Barnhill will lecture on narrative medicine, IGMV methodologies, and mind-body treatment for addiction and pain management.  Dr. Barnhill actively mentors undergraduates and medical students and will be a supporting faculty for Fellows.

Search for publications on PubMed using Jessica Barnhill as search criteria.


Jada Brooks, Ph.D., MSPH, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor at Carolina Nursing, and a member of the Lumbee tribe, completed her Ph.D. in Nursing from Duke University and an MSPH in epidemiology from UNC SPH. She collaborates with clinical, academic, and community partners to design and implement research that fosters health equity and empowers tribal communities, including mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions for health resiliency. She will lecture on designing culturally sensitive research with minority populations, including Native Americans.  She will be a supporting faculty for Fellows.

Search for publications on PubMed using Jada Brooks as search criteria.

Amanda Corbett, PharmD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Assistant Dean for Professional Curriculum. Dr. Corbett has completed the Integrative Medicine Fellowship Program through the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and actively participated in AHIM educational programming.  Dr. Corbett provides annual lectures to the Fellows through the long-established Principles and Practices of Complementary and Alternative Medicine course regarding dietary supplement quality and safety and works closely with Drs. Asher and Faurot on dietary supplement safety research. In her role on the CREF team, she will educate Fellows regarding evaluating data on botanical supplement-drug interactions, approach to botanical supplements in clinical research, and leadership fundamentals. Dr. Corbett provides regular mentorship to predoctoral and postdoctoral students in the School of Pharmacy and will be a Supporting Faculty in the UNC T32 CIH Fellowship.

Search for publications on PubMed using Amanda Corbett as search criteria.

Christine Lathren, MD, MPH,a T32 fellow graduate, is currently a part-time Assistant Professor in PM&R. Her research interests are focused on mindfulness and self-compassion to improve caregiver well-being and manage caregiver stress—including parents, family caregivers, and professional caregivers. She is also involved in several projects aimed at exploring the intergenerational impact of self-compassion. This includes testing interventions that aim to improve parent well-being, parenting practices, and ultimately child well-being, through self-compassion, relational compassion, and mindful communication skills. Dr. Lathren has expertise in all phases of research development, including intervention design, stakeholder engagement, protocol development, IRB applications, and manuscript production.  She also has methodological expertise in coding behavioral observations associated with dyadic interactions and qualitative analysis. She will lecture the Fellows on grant writing and study protocol preparation. Dr. Lathren is Supporting Faculty for the T32 CIH Fellowship.

Search for publications on PubMed using Christine Lathren as search criteria.


Olafur Palsson, Psy.D, Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, is a clinical psychologist with research expertise in hypnosis and biofeedback for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disorders. He has worked closely with both Drs. Gaylord and Faurot have conducted extensive research on the mind-body connection, including studies of psychosocial influences on autonomic nervous system function, brainwave activity, hormones, clinical symptoms, and the immune system. He developed a widely used, standardized hypnosis treatment protocol for treating IBS. He has expertise in computer programming and technologies for large-scale internet-mediated and cell-phone-based data collection. He directs the DATA Core of the UNC Gastrointestinal Biopsychosocial Research Center. He was a mentor to a former Fellow (Garland); Dr. Palsson has agreed to be a member of the CREF team, lecturing on internet-based data-collection and interventions, CAM research design issues, and providing mentorship.

Search for publications on PubMed using Olafur Palsson as search criteria.


Isabel Roth, DrPH, MS, Research Assistant Professor in the Program on Integrative Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation, serves as the Well-being Liaison for the department. Dr. Roth is the Chair of the Integrative, Complementary, and Traditional Health Practices Section of the American Public Health Association. Most recently, she was awarded a K01 Career Development Award from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Dr. Roth’s research interests involve identifying effective implementation strategies to promote access to evidence-based complementary and integrative health practices among diverse populations with chronic conditions.

Search for publications on PubMed using Isabel Roth as search criteria.