Chesney Appointed Director of UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

Margaret Chesney

UCSF School of Medicine Dean Sam Hawgood, MBBS, has announced the appointment of Margaret A. Chesney, PhD, as the new director of the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

In her new position, effective Jan. 1, 2010, Chesney will expand the Osher Center’s programs, which emphasize the combined use of modern medicine with complementary approaches and established healing practices to promote health, wellness and healing. She plans on developing partnerships throughout UCSF to encourage greater integration of the Osher Center’s successful programs in research, education and patient care with programs in the broader UCSF community.

“Dr. Chesney brings an extraordinary record of scientific achievement and leadership in integrative medicine to her new role as director of the Osher Center,” Hawgood said. “At least one third of the adult population in the US uses integrative approaches, such as acupuncture or mind-body techniques, as part of their health care. It is crucial that UCSF stays on the leading-edge of this area of medicine, providing an evidence base for its diverse approaches. Dr. Chesney is well-positioned to lead these efforts.”

Chesney will succeed Susan Folkman, PhD, as director of the Osher Center. Hawgood thanked Folkman for her dedicated service to UCSF. “Under her leadership, the center developed successful programs in research, education and patient care which focus on prevention, patient empowerment and whole-person healing—critical elements of health care today,” he said.

This appointment represents a return to UCSF for Chesney who served as the co-director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, associate director of the California AIDS Research Center, and director of the Behavioral Medicine & Epidemiology Core of the Center for AIDS Research at the UCSF-Gladstone Institute of Virology & Immunology.

Return to UCSF

This return to UCSF enables Chesney to continue her personal and professional goal of promoting health and preventing disease.

“Health improvements over the past century have resulted in longer life expectancy and a shift from life-threatening diseases to chronic conditions,” Chesney said. “There is a clear need for more personalized health strategies that promote health and prevent disease. The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine is a leader in this new direction of medicine.

There is also a pressing need for research on the use of integrative approaches in different populations, access to and quality of integrative medicine, and the cost-effectiveness of integrative medicine. It is critical to establish a strong evidence base for what therapies are safe and effective and which are not.”

Chesney has had a distinguished career in integrative medicine. Most recently she was professor of medicine and associate director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine.

Before that, Chesney served for five years as the first deputy director of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). During her time at NCCAM, Chesney also served as the director of the Division of Extramural Research and Training, and was the senior advisor to the Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at National Institutes of Health.

Chesney has conducted research on the relationship between behavior and chronic disease, particularly in identifying the behavioral factors associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, such as stress, and developing psychosocial interventions to address those factors.

In 2007, she was named one of the outstanding women leaders by the American Psychological Association. Chesney has held national leadership positions including president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the American Psychosomatic Society. She also is a member of the Institute of Medicine and has served on a number of its boards.