Methodological Approaches for Whole Person Research Workshop

Date: September 29, 2021 to September 30, 2021

Location: Virtual; Register on Eventbrite

Event Description

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s new strategic plan defines whole person research as including three components:

  • Exploring the fundamental science of interconnected systems
  • Investigating multicomponent interventions or therapeutic systems
  • Examining the impact of these interventions on multisystem or multiorgan outcomes

The Whole Person Research Workshop will discuss examples of research studies in these three areas from diverse fields and explore methodologies potentially appropriate for whole person research. 

The workshop will be led by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Workshop collaborators include the National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Fogarty International Center, Office of Research on Women’s Health, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, Office of Disease Prevention, and the Office of Nutrition Research within the National Institutes of Health Office of the Director.

Registration for this event is required.

Methodological Approaches for Whole Person Research

Draft Agenda

September 29, 2021, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. ET

11:30–11:35 a.m. | Welcome

11:35 a.m.–12:20 p.m. | Opening Remarks and Setting the Stage

  • Helene Langevin, M.D., Director, NCCIH

12:20–2:30 p.m. | Session One: How To Study Interconnected Systems: Observational Studies

Moderators: Janine Simmons, Qilu Yu


  • Cynthia Rudin, Ph.D., Duke University. A toolbox for isolating and studying parts of interconnected systems: almost matching exactly for observational causal inference
  • Ziv Bar-Joseph, Ph.D., M.Sc., Carnegie Mellon University. Machine learning methods for studying dynamic, interconnected multisystems
  • Daniel Bauer, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Person-oriented approaches to research design and analysis
  • Trey Ideker, Ph.D., University of California at San Diego. Building the mind of cancer
  • Terrie Moffitt, Ph.D., Duke University. Measuring patients’ pace of biological aging with longitudinal data, growth curves, and elastic net regression of DNA methylation

Panel Discussion

2:20–2:40 p.m. 20-minute break

2:40–4:25 p.m. | Session Two: How To Study the Impact of Single Component Interventions or Manipulation on Multiple Interconnected Systems

Moderators: Bramaramba Kowtha, Elizabeth Barr


  • Mimi Ghosh, Ph.D., George Washington University. Impact of sexual trauma on the interconnected outcomes of mental health and immune response
  • Mauro Costa-Mattioli, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine. TBD
  • Karyn Esser, Ph.D., University of Florida. Preclinical approaches for whole person research: lessons from the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC)
  • David Amar, Ph.D., Stanford University. Challenges and opportunities from the multiomic MoTrPAC project

Panel Discussion

4:25–5:25 p.m. | Roundtable Discussion I

Moderators: Wen Chen, Judith Arroyo

Panelists: Marybel Robledo Gonzalez, Ramsey D. Badawi

5:25–5:30 p.m. | Closing Remarks

5:30 p.m. | Adjourn

September 30, 2021, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. ET

11:30–11:35 a.m. | Welcome

11:35 a.m.–1:50 p.m. | Session Three: How To Investigate the Impact of Multicomponent Interventions or Therapeutic Systems on a Single Outcome

Moderators: Ranjan Gupta, Miya Whitaker


  • Lynne Shinto, N.D., M.P.H., Oregon Health and Science University. Methods for designing multicomponent interventions based on naturopathy
  • Lynda Powell, Ph.D., M.Ed., Rush University. Development of a multicomponent lifestyle intervention for sustained remission of the metabolic syndrome
  • Linda Collins, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University/New York University. Achieving intervention EASE (effectiveness, affordability, scalability, and efficiency) using the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST)
  • Liliane Windsor, Ph.D., The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Community Wise: development of a multilevel intervention to reduce alcohol and substance misuse among formerly incarcerated men
  • Mark P. Jensen, Ph.D., University of Washington. Identifying the mechanisms underlying multicomponent pain interventions
  • Nadja Cech, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro. TBD

Panel Discussion

1:50–2:00 p.m. 10-minute break

2:00–4:00 pm. | Session Four: How To Examine the Impact of Complex Multicomponent Interventions on Multisystem or Multiorgan Outcomes

Moderators: Yvonne Bryan, Hye-Sook Kim


  • Rob Knight, Ph.D., University of California at San Diego. The microbiome and metabolome as a readout of complex interventions throughout the body
  • Nicholas Schork, Ph.D., The Translational Genomics Research Institute. N-of-1 and aggregated N-of-1 studies for exploring multicomponent intervention effects on multiple health outcomes
  • Inbal Nahum-Shani, Ph.D., University of Michigan. Multicomponent interventions: an organizing framework for selecting an experimental design
  • Ross Hammond, Ph.D., The Brookings Institution. Using systems science for a multifaceted multioutcome whole-of-community intervention to prevent childhood obesity
  • Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D., University of California at San Francisco. TBD

Panel Discussion

4:00–5:00 p.m. | Roundtable Discussion II

Moderators: Wendy Weber, Craig Hopp 

Panelist: Scott Mist

5:00–5:25 p.m. | Workshop Synthesis: Whole Person Research Methods

  • Bruce Y. Lee, M.D., M.B.A., City University of New York and Chief Executive Officer of Symsilico

5:25-5:30 p.m. | Closing Remarks by Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D., NCCIH

5:30 p.m. | Adjourn