Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development

The Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development (C-MIIND) was established in May 2017 at the University of Utah with the following mission: to develop, test, optimize, and disseminate mindfulness and other integrative health interventions by translating discoveries from basic biobehavioral science into solutions for health and society. C-MIIND’s research efforts target complex, comorbid chronic health and mental health problems (chronic pain, opioid misuse, obesity, depression, addiction, etc.) that have not yet been solved by traditional medical approaches. At the time of its inception, C-MIIND assumed oversight of more than $17 million in federal research grants.

C-MIIND aims to exert a transformative influence on healthcare by unifying and synergizing disparate research efforts focused on the study of mindfulness and other integrative health interventions. Integrative health interventions address the needs of the “whole person” by enhancing cognitive, emotional, biobehavioral, and social factors implicated in well-being and human flourishing within individuals and communities. The integrative approach is supported by decades of scientific research demonstrating linkages between mind, brain, and body.

Though the home of the Center resides in the College of Social Work, C-MIIND is highly interdisciplinary in nature, with Center affiliates from Psychiatry, Primary Care, Anesthesiology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Oncology, and Physical Therapy, and Nursing, among other disciplines.

As a platform for supporting research, C-MIIND connects researchers and clinicians from across the behavioral and health sciences to conduct pioneering investigations of integrative interventions that target cognitive, emotional, and social processes to improve physical and mental health. Following the NIH Stage model, the Center conducts translational biobehavioral research to inform the treatment development process by integrating knowledge about basic mechanisms underlying health problems into new therapeutic applications. To that end, C-MIIND draws upon the CSW Social Work Neuroscience Lab, one of the first facilities in the nation devoted to the conduct of social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience to study the biobehavioral mechanisms of social work interventions. This lab consists of several state-of-the-art lab rooms equipped with psychophysiological data acquistion systems (e.g., EEG, eye tracking, autonomic measurement) and clinical observation suites equipped with one-way mirrors and audio-visual technology for clinical research.

In addition, the Center aims to promote an integrative behavioral health workforce to meet the needs of the University, the State, and the Nation by providing training in the evidence-based practice of mindfulness and other integrative behavioral health approaches. The Center serves as a key hub of training in integrative health practice and research for the Intermountain West, drawing graduate students and post-graduate-level clinical providers from around the country seeking training in new, efficacious treatment modalities.

Ultimately, the Center strives to advance a vision of a new model of healthcare, in which behavioral health experts work in tandem with medical providers to address the physical, psychological, and social needs of people afflicted by an array of disorders and illnesses. The synergy generated by such integrative efforts will alleviate suffering and promote human flourishing to a degree unrealized in previous eras of health care reforms.