INNOVATIVE THERAPY

The University of Utah College of Social Work Assistant Dean Eric Garland.

The University of Utah has launched a new center dedicated to providing a transformative influence on health care by unifying research on mindfulness and other integrative behavioral health interventions.

Eric Garland, associate dean for research at the U’s College of Social Work, will serve as director of the new Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development (C-MIIND). The center, which will assume oversight of more than $17 million in federal research grants, will be housed in the College of Social Work.

“The center will advance a vision of a new model of health care, in which behavioral health experts work in tandem with medical providers to address the physical, psychological and social needs of people suffering from an array of health conditions,” said Garland, whose research focuses on using mindfulness to help individuals who experience chronic pain.

The center will bring together researchers and clinicians from across main campus and University of Utah Health, including faculty in social work, psychiatry, primary care, anesthesiology, neuroscience, psychology and health, who are pioneering integrative interventions aimed at improving physical and mental well-being. C-MIIND will strive to attract top faculty and provide research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral fellows interested in studying mindfulness and integrative behavioral health.

A focus of the center also will be to train post-graduates and health care providers in innovative therapies to be used in primary care clinics, hospitals, community mental health centers and addiction treatment facilities.

There are no centers at the U with these aims and, to my knowledge, there are few — if any — centers around the nation working to accomplish these collective goals, Garland said. The center will support the entire span of translational research from “bench to bedside,” translating leading-edge discoveries from behavioral science and neuroscience into actionable treatment approaches to be rigorously tested and then disseminated to practitioners working in integrative healthcare contexts.