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Key Features of the RCMBR

In research as well as in clinical practice, scientists at the University of Rochester have long considered the integration of behavior, the brain, immunity and health. Indeed, the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) emerged largely through the collaborations of Rochester psychologists (led by Robert Ader, Ph.D., neuroscientists (led by David Felten, M.D., Ph.D.), and immunologists (led by Nicholas Cohen, Ph.D.). Research in PNI has expanded from basic animal research to include a program of clinical PNI.

Since its inception in 2004, the RCMBR has developed a successful track record for piloting cross-disciplinary research that is frequently conducted in busy primary care or specialty clinics. Key to this process is involving physicians as partners in the research, and inviting them to participate early on in many aspects of research design. The same strategy is applied as we moved into community settings; partnerships with community organizations were developed to promote participation in our clinical research.

  • The RCMBR brings together social scientists affiliated with the Laboratory of Personality and Development (School of Medicine and Dentistry), the Rochester Center to Improve Communication in Healthcare (School of Medicine and Dentistry), and the Human Motivation Group (College of Arts and Sciences).
  • Another feature of RCMBR is our ability to integrate epidemiological and clinical research perspectives and attend to sampling considerations in clinical mind-body research. Our attention to the issue of sampling will be facilitated by our rich referral source based in specialty clinics (cardiology, dermatology, clinical immunology), nursing homes, and primary care settings; a geographic location that allows for an examination of both urban and rural samples; and the presence of epidemiologically-trained faculty on our research team (Drs. Conner, Fiscella, and Silenzio) and Internal Advisory Board (Dr. Pearson).
  • An additional feature is the established collaborations maintained with investigators at other institutions.
  • Our mentoring culture and infrastructure into which new Center members will be integrated is a key feature of RCMBR. The RCMBR is using the mentoring model of the Department of Psychiatry, which has a strong commitment to faculty development. The effectiveness of our mentoring is reflected in the number of training grants and K-awards secured over the past several years.