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Integrative Medicine & Health Symposium

Date: April 11, 2021 to April 13, 2021


Event Description

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is pleased to host three sessions as part of the 2021 Integrative Medicine & Health Symposium. This event, hosted by the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health, is held biennially to “foster the development of new collaborations and to strengthen existing partnerships within the field of integrative medicine and health.”

The Roles of Natural Products in COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutics

April 12, 2021 
12:45–1:30 p.m. ET

COVID-19, which is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has now become a global pandemic that has lasted for more than a year. COVID-19 patients can have severe illness or mild symptoms or be asymptomatic. However, infected but asymptomatic individuals can still spread the disease and may represent a major vector of transmission. Although coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics are now available to the general public, there is continued interest among patients in the use of natural products to prevent infection by SARS-CoV-2, suppress virus transmission and replication, and/or regulate the immune system in response to the virus or the vaccines. This NCCIH-sponsored symposium will highlight three innovative scientists, recently funded by NCCIH, to discuss their work on natural products and COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines. The first speaker, Dr. Jon Clardy from Harvard Medical School, will present a highly innovative approach to discover and develop novel adjuvants from the gut microbiome that may augment the potency of the current SARS-Cov-2 vaccines. The second speaker, Dr. Sean Brady from Rockefeller University, will present a novel screening assay to identify antiviral natural products and their biosynthetic genes from human-associated bacteria to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection. The third speaker, Dr. Margherita Cantorna from Penn State, will highlight her recent work on studying the role of vitamin D to regulate immunity to prevent systemic and lung pathological inflammation and virus replication in animal models of COVID-19.

Presented by:

  • Sean Brady, Ph.D., Rockefeller University, New York, NY
  • Margherita Cantorna, Ph.D., Penn State, University Park, PA
  • Jon Clardy, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

The Potential of Using Artificial Intelligence To Solve the Puzzle of Salutogenesis

April 13, 2021
10:00–10:45 a.m. ET
View presentation 

NCCIH is coleading an exciting new initiative across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) involving artificial intelligence (AI) that will create research avenues for the integrative medicine community. The program will provide opportunities to generate multilevel datasets on health restoration/salutogenesis that would bring novel and transformative analytical methods to the complementary and integrative health community. Vast resources and efforts are already invested toward understanding the pathogenesis of disease. In contrast, salutogenesis, the process by which individuals move from a less healthy to a healthier state, is understudied and poorly understood. Salutogenesis may occur via “pathogenesis in reverse” and/or may engage other yet-to-be-defined pathways in the process of restoring health. In either case, the process of salutogenesis is likely to involve multiple physiological systems (e.g., cardiovascular, digestive, metabolic, immune), domains (bio-psycho-social), and spatiotemporal scales. Unlike pharmacologic treatments that target specific molecular pathways, health restoration may incorporate behavioral and homeostatic physiological mechanisms, as well as complex endogenous cellular processes such as repair, resolution, and regeneration. The unprecedented “grand challenge” of understanding salutogenesis will require innovative analytical tools using AI to develop multiscale computational models that explain how physiological and biopsychosocial networks dynamically change over time during the process of human health restoration. NCCIH leadership and staff will discuss these concepts and encourage the complementary and integrative health researcher community to participate in a program that will propel biomedical and behavioral research forward by setting the stage for widespread adoption of AI in tackling complex challenges beyond our current human intuition.

This session was recorded and can be viewed online:

Harnessing the Potential of Art-Based Interventions for Health and Well-Being

April 13, 2021 
12:45–1:30 p.m. ET

Art stirs passion; it can bring us joy, calm our anxiety, and soothe our sorrow, and it can help to connect individuals, groups, and societies in multiple ways. The idea that art can also heal what ails us is perhaps as old as recorded history and has particular relevance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The arts have long been used in clinical and community settings to improve or treat mental health. They also provide additional benefits such as increased social connectivity, more health-promoting behaviors, and the promotion of identity and resilience. This NCCIH-sponsored symposium will showcase work from three major initiatives related to the impact of the arts on health and well-being: the Sound Health: Music and the Mind initiative uniting NIH, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in a partnership; the EpiArts Lab bringing together academia, the NEA, and philanthropic organizations; and the NeuroArt Blueprint global initiative with the Aspen Institute and the Johns Hopkins International Arts & Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics. These initiatives will provide promising evidence of the societal and health benefits of the arts.

Presented by:

  • Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D., Director, Division of Extramural Research, NCCIH, Bethesda, MD
  • Susan Magsamen, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, International Arts + Mind Lab, Baltimore, MD
  • Jill Sonke, University of Florida College of the Arts, Center for Arts in Medicine, Gainesville, FL