The candidate is a naturopathic physician trained in integrative medicine and epidemiology who completed an NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32) focused on clinical trials in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The candidate's long-term career goal is to become an independent clinical investigator focusing on rigorous evaluation and integration of evidence-based CAM therapies for fibromyalgia. The research, training, and mentorship will be based at the Yale University School of Medicine, with abundant intellectual, educational, and institutional resources, and a rich scholarly environment for innovative research. The candidate will work with an enthusiastic, committed, and highly accomplished team of mentors and advisors (including some from other institutions with expertise and commitment to his research and career development), and benefits from robust institutional and departmental support to facilitate completion of this mentored career development award. Didactic training will occur throughout the period of the award, including advanced courses on clinical research methods, statistics, mixed-methods research, mind-body medicine, and neuroscience. The candidate will regularly attend (and present at) weekly research in progress conferences, seminars, and lectures focused on junior faculty at the Yale School of Medicine. Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research will continue through mentorship and continuing education by the Yale Human Research Protection Program. The focus of the research in this K23 application is a dose-finding study of a popular mind-body therapy (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction;MBSR) for patients with fibromyalgia. It will investigate the benefit of different """"""""doses"""""""" (high, standard, and low) of MBSR compared with an active control. MBSR is a standardized mind-body intervention that involves meditation, patient education, and group support. The eight-week MBSR protocol involves 2.5 hours of weekly instruction and 30-45-minutes of daily self-practice. Preliminary studies suggest benefit of MBSR for the alleviation of fibromyalgia symptoms, though no well-designed trials have assessed optimal dosing. The proposed study will begin a line of inquiry into the role of MBSR for the treatment of fibromyalgia systematically assessing dosing, feasibility, adherence, and preliminary efficacy.
The aim of this study is to identify the optimal practical dose and treatment regimen of an eight-week course of MBSR in patients with fibromyalgia. This will be completed by: 1. Assessing the safety, feasibility, and adherence profile of three regimens of MBSR compared with an active control in patients with fibromyalgia. 2. Assessing the clinical benefits of three regimens of MBSR in patients with fibromyalgia measured by changes in validated outcome measures. As dosing in clinical trials of CAM interventions are often extrapolated from prevailing practice patterns (with doses based on anecdotal evidence), null results in clinical trials due to type two errors can occur. The purpose of this study is to obtain estimates of the magnitude of effect so that future trials can be designed with appropriate statistical power. The study will assess three 'doses'of a non pharmacological CAM intervention to determine an optimal practical dose of an eight-week course of MBSR in patients with fibromyalgia. This is the first formal dose-finding study on MBSR. It will utilize standard, validated measures of pain, physical function, quality of life, and mindfulness, as well as an active control intervention. It ill provide high-quality data for a larger, more definitive R01 submission. Results obtained from this initial study will be the first step in developing a graduated, stepwise CAM/integrative medicine algorithm for the treatment of fibromyalgia. The goals of this application are consistent with NCCAM's emphasis on treating chronic pain and Strategic Plan goals to """"""""support clinical evaluation and intervention studies of mind/body interventions"""""""" and """"""""support high-quality research training and career development opportunities to increase the number, quality, and diversity of CAM researchers."""""""" The candidate will regularly meet with his mentor and advisory committee to ensure consistent progress and adherence to the training, research, and career development plan. This will help ensure a productive period of career development, and provide the skills, experience, and guidance in order to advance to an independent clinician-researcher focused on fibromyalgia, CAM, and integrative medicine interventions.

Public Health Relevance

Results from the proposed research will provide insights about optimal dosing of mindfulness-based stress reduction for the treatment of fibromyalgia, leading to future studies using an 'optimized'dose. The identification of a practical and replicable dose of MBSR that is effective for the alleviation of fibromyalgia symptoms has the potential to benefit the millions of people suffering from fibromyalgia.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-PK (20))
Program Officer
Weber, Wendy J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Yale University
Schools of Medicine
New Haven
United States
Zip Code
Van Ness, Peter H; Murphy, Terrence E; Ali, Ather (2017) Attention to Individuals: Mixed Methods for N-of-1 Health Care Interventions. J Mix Methods Res 11:342-354
Ali, Ather; Weiss, Theresa R; Dutton, Anne et al. (2017) Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Adolescents with Functional Somatic Syndromes: A Pilot Cohort Study. J Pediatr 183:184-190
Ali, Ather; Rosenberger, Lisa; Weiss, Theresa R et al. (2017) Massage Therapy and Quality of Life in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Qualitative Study. Pain Med 18:1168-1175
Jani, Asim A; Trask, Jennifer; Ali, Ather (2015) Integrative Medicine in Preventive Medicine Education: Competency and Curriculum Development for Preventive Medicine and Other Specialty Residency Programs. Am J Prev Med 49:S222-9
Perlman, Adam; Dreusicke, Mark; Keever, Teresa et al. (2015) Perceptions of Massage Therapists Participating in a Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork 8:10-5
Jones, Kim D; Mist, Scott D; Casselberry, Marie A et al. (2015) Fibromyalgia Impact and Mindfulness Characteristics in 4986 People with Fibromyalgia. Explore (NY) 11:304-9
Ali, Ather; Katz, David L (2015) Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: How Integrative Medicine Fits. Am J Prev Med 49:S230-40
Nawaz, Haq; Via, Christina M; Ali, Ather et al. (2015) Project ASPIRE: Incorporating Integrative Medicine Into Residency Training. Am J Prev Med 49:S296-301
Ali, Ather; McCarthy, Paul L (2014) Complementary and integrative methods in fibromyalgia. Pediatr Rev 35:510-8
Ali, Ather; Vitulano, Lawrence; Lee, Robert et al. (2014) Experiences of patients identifying with chronic Lyme disease in the healthcare system: a qualitative study. BMC Fam Pract 15:79

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications