Founded in 1995, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing is a national leader in education, outreach and research in complementary, alternative and culturally based healing practices whose mission to transform healthcare is accomplished through cutting-edge educational offerings, rigorous scientific research and health improving outreach programs.
Recognized nationally as a resource and leader in integrated health, the Center for Spirituality & Healing enriches health and well-being by providing high-quality interdisciplinary education, conducting rigorous research, and delivering innovative programs that advance integrative health and healing. The Center’s work is based on the premise that health and well-being are enhanced when the best of complementary and conventional care are integrated.
The Center’s goals are to explore integrative therapies in the context of rigorous science; facilitate research to understand the safety and/or efficacy of complementary and alternative therapies through basic science, clinical trials and health services research; foster scholarly inquiry and collaboration among faculty, students, community and university partners within the University and nationally; share research findings with local, state, national and international health professionals, consumers, government agencies and policy-makers. In 2005, the Center became a National Institutes of Health-designated Developmental Center for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Fifty-five faculty – drawn from 12 academic units across the University of Minnesota – have appointments within the Center. The Center offers a graduate minor in complementary therapies and healing practices as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate program. Students have access to more than 40 courses in areas such as clinical interventions, spirituality, and culturally-based systems of healing. Off-campus courses are available in Hawaii, India and Peru. In addition, online learning about complementary therapies funded under a NIH grant is accessible at no charge on the Center’s website and is used by faculty and students throughout the country.
Through the Minnesota Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Clinical Research, the Center offers a NIH-funded CAM Clinical Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program that focuses on preparing researchers to conduct scientifically rigorous, high quality clinical research.
The Center has numerous research studies in progress at any given time. In 2004, the Center for Spirituality & Healing, in collaboration with Seattle’s Bastyr University, received a $2.3 million NIH grant to study the role of Tramestes versicolor (Turkey Tail) mushroom in women with breast cancer. By 2006, the ongoing research of Dr. Joel Slaton and Dr. Carolyn Torkelson secured an Investigative New Drug (IND) status for Tramestes versicolor from the NIH. The team is now getting set to conduct a Phase I breast cancer study to determine safety and best dosage of the mushroom.
Another current study “Mindfulness vs Pharmacotherapy for Chronic Insomnia” compares a mind-body approach – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – with an approved prescription medication for insomnia. Participants are randomly assigned to either MBSR or medication.
Other Research Areas:
- Mind-body interventions
- Essential oils
- CAM use in ethnic and minority populations
- Culturally based systems of healing
- Botanical medicine
- Music and healing
- Spirituality and resilience