Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Behavioral Medicine
I am Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine whose clinical, research, and educational activities focus on the interplay of health and behavior. Since its founding in 1994, the division’s clinical arm provide brief, state-of-the-art treatment for patients with painful medical disorders. These disorders include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), low back pain, pelvic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, non-cardiac chest pain, temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and benign headaches such as migraine and tension headaches. A unique feature of our clinical services is the use of evidence-based treatment protocols that help patients gain control of symptoms that have not adequately responded to standard medical therapies. Because our clinicians are active researchers, patients receive cutting-edge treatments often times before they are more broadly disseminated. Our clinical work emphasizes a collaborative approach that recognizes that each patient is unique and presents with specific problems and not simply a diagnosis or set of symptoms.
My research focuses on developing and testing novel and safe treatments for chronic pain disorders, understanding their “active ingredients”, identifying patients for whom they are most effective, and their real world value. With NIH support since 1999, my research has influenced clinical practice guidelines and established me as an internationally recognized authority in the behavioral treatment of chronic pain disorders particularly IBS.
Division research provides valuable scholarly experiences for trainees in the UB medical school, school of public health, and the College of Arts and Sciences. We are pleased to offer these educational opportunities to qualified students at other local and international educational institutions as well. Trainees learn to design, write, conduct and analyze quality research projects with the goal of co-authoring at least one empirical study for publication. The academic skills students learn during research rotation support their professional development whether they progress to careers as independent researchers or academically-oriented clinicians who depend on critical thinking and a scholarly approach to healthcare delivery.
As part of the division’s Clinical Research Consulting Lab, I routinely assist faculty and mentor residents and fellows in research design and methods and consult with industry partners seeking ways to harness the science of behavior change to gain a competitive edge for product development, strategy, and evaluation.
I lecture in several UB departments such as internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery and psychology with the aim of familiarizing trainees with the psychosocial aspects of chronic diseases and behavioral change strategies critical for managing their day-to-day burden.