UMMS Affiliation

Center for Integrated Primary Care; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Health Services Administration | Integrative Medicine | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Pain Management | Psychiatry and Psychology


BACKGROUND: Chronic pain affects millions of racially diverse Americans. Evidence suggests that group medical visits are effective for treating chronic pain; similarly, a number of studies demonstrate the effectiveness of certain evidence-based complementary therapies in managing pain.

OBJECTIVES: The primary goal of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of the integrative medical group visit (IMGV) care model in an inner-city racially diverse outpatient clinic. IMGV combines patient-centered, non-pharmacologic strategies and principles of mindfulness-based stress-reduction with a group medical visit to reduce pain and associated symptoms.

METHODS: We surveyed patients pre and post an 8-session IMGV program to evaluate changes in pain in the last week (0-10 point scale) and comorbid symptoms including depression (Patient Health Questionaire-8 [PHQ-8]), perceived stress, and sleep quality. We also recorded referrals to the program, patients screened for eligibility, total enrollment, loss to follow-up, and attendance.

RESULTS: Seventy patients joined IMGV, and of these, 65 (93%) enrolled in the study. Over the course of 12 months, 7 groups met (median 9 patients/group; range 8-13 participants). Mean difference in pain level for all patients between baseline and 8 weeks was 0.7 (SD=2.0, P=.005). Mean difference in PHQ-8 depression score for patients with baseline score > /=5 was 2.6 (SD=4.6, P < .001). Statistically significant improvements were also seen in sleep quality and perceived stress.

CONCLUSION: A group visits program combining conventional and integrative medicine for predominantly racially diverse patients is feasible.


Group medical visit, chronic pain, integrative medical group visits, mindfulness-based stress reduction, patient-centered non-pharmacologic strategies

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © 2014 GAHM LLC. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial- No Derivative 3.0 License, which permits rights to copy, distribute and transmit the work for noncommercial purposes only, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 Jul;3(4):20-6. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2014.011. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Global advances in health and medicine


At the time of publication, Paula Gardiner was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.