University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Maria T. Chao, DrPH, MPA

Maria T. Chao, DrPH, MPA

Associate Director of Research,
Associate Director for Health Equity and Diversity,
Associate Director of Clinical Research and Analytics, UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine;
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Control

Research Summary

I am Associate Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), Associate Director of Research at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and a clinical researcher with a background in public health. I have been conducting research in complementary health approaches for over a decade using a range of methodological approaches including observational, cross-sectional studies on utilization of complementary medicine, and clinical trials of integrative medicine for chronic disease management.

My current program of research focuses on acupuncture and on group-based, integrative models for chronic pain conditions, particularly in conventional healthcare settings serving diverse populations. My research portfolio includes studies of integrative health approaches in real-world settings, including a prior K01 mentored career development award funded through NIH/NCCIH to study group acupuncture for painful diabetic neuropathy at ZSFG and a PCORI-funded randomized factorial trial of acupuncture and pain counseling to improve cancer-related pain management for hospitalized patients. Since 2017, with Drs. Chloe Atreya and Anand Dhruva, I have co-directed the Integrative Oncology Program at UCSF with the goals of supporting multidisciplinary integrative oncology research; improving access to integrative medicine clinical services for patients with cancer; and expanding and developing professional community in integrative oncology. Our preliminary data support the benefits of integrative approaches for cancer-related symptoms. Building on our prior studies, the next phase of our collaboration will address key gaps to optimize non-pharmacologic interventions for patients during active cancer treatment. I have relevant methodological and technical experience pertinent to this application, including developing study protocols of integrative medicine approaches for symptom management, recruiting patients in clinical settings, and collecting, managing, and analyzing mixed methods data from stakeholders.

Education

  • University of California, Santa Cruz, CA BA 06/1996 Women’s Studies
  • Columbia University, School of Intl & Public Affairs, NY MPA 05/1999 Health Policy
  • Columbia University, School of Public Health, NY DrPH 02/2005 Sociomedical Sciences
  • University of California, San Francisco, CA Postdoctoral 06/2011 Integrative Medicine
 

Honors & Awards

  • 2009
    North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine Travel Award; University of California, San Francisco, Post-doctoral Scholar Travel Award
  • 2009
    NIH/NCMHD Loan Repayment Award for Health Disparities Research (competitive renewal)
  • 2012
    University of California, San Francisco, Academic Senate Travel Award
  • 2014
    Mount Zion Health Fund Travel Award
  • 2020
    UCSF Mid-Career Development Award for Bolstering the Pipeline to Achieve Health Equity

Selected Publications

  1. Weng HY, Lewis-Peacock JA, Hecht FM, Uncapher MR, Ziegler DA, Farb NAS, Goldman V, Skinner S, Duncan LG, Chao MT, Gazzaley A. Focus on the Breath: Brain Decoding Reveals Internal States of Attention During Meditation. Front Hum Neurosci. 2020; 14:336.
    View on PubMed
  2. Liu R, Santana T, Schillinger D, Hecht FM, Chao MT. "It Gave Me Hope" Experiences of Diverse Safety Net Patients in a Group Acupuncture Intervention for Painful Diabetic Neuropathy. Health Equity. 2020; 4(1):225-231.
    View on PubMed
  3. Chao MT, Schillinger D, Nguyen U, Santana T, Liu R, Gregorich S, Hecht FM. A Randomized Clinical Trial of Group Acupuncture for Painful Diabetic Neuropathy Among Diverse Safety Net Patients. Pain Med. 2019 11 01; 20(11):2292-2302.
    View on PubMed
  4. Hullender Rubin LE, Mist SD, Schnyer RN, Chao MT, Leclair CM. Acupuncture Augmentation of Lidocaine for Provoked, Localized Vulvodynia: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2019 Oct; 23(4):279-286.
    View on PubMed
  5. Thompson-Lastad A, Atreya CE, Chao MT, Pollak C, Dhruva A, Santana T, Abrams DI. Improving Access to Integrative Oncology Through Group Medical Visits: A Pilot Implementation Project. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Jul; 25(7):733-739.
    View on PubMed
  6. Gardiner P, Chao M, Burnett M. Improving Access, Integration, and Sustainability: A Reflective Overview of the Special Issue on Innovation in Group-Delivered Services. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Jul; 25(7):663-665.
    View on PubMed
  7. Chao MT, Hurstak E, Leonoudakis-Watts K, Sidders F, Pace J, Hammer H, Wismer B. Patient-Reported Outcomes of an Integrative Pain Management Program Implemented in a Primary Care Safety Net Clinic: a Quasi-experimental Study. J Gen Intern Med. 2019 07; 34(7):1105-1107.
    View on PubMed
  8. Bruns EB, Befus D, Wismer B, Knight K, Adler SR, Leonoudakis-Watts K, Thompson-Lastad A, Chao MT. Vulnerable Patients' Psychosocial Experiences in a Group-Based, Integrative Pain Management Program. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Jul; 25(7):719-726.
    View on PubMed
  9. Hurstak E, Chao MT, Leonoudakis-Watts K, Pace J, Walcer B, Wismer B. Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Integrative Pain Management Program in a Primary Care Safety-Net Clinic. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Mar; 25(S1):S78-S85.
    View on PubMed
  10. Ye H, Bowden D, Ashby J, Toveg M, Reddy S, Chao MT. Improving Usability of Electronic Health Records for Whole Systems Integrative Medicine Practitioners. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 03; 25(S1):S17-S18.
    View on PubMed
  11. Harrison JD, Reddy S, Liu R, Adler SR, Chao MT. Implementing an Inpatient Acupuncture Service for Pain and Symptom Management: Identifying Opportunities and Challenges. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 May; 25(5):503-508.
    View on PubMed
  12. Thompson-Lastad A, Gardiner P, Chao MT. Integrative Group Medical Visits: A National Scoping Survey of Safety-Net Clinics. Health Equity. 2019; 3(1):1-8.
    View on PubMed
  13. Helen Y Weng, Jarrod A Lewis-Peacock, Frederick M Hecht, Melina Uncapher, David Ziegler, Norman AS Farb, Veronica Goldman, Sasha Skinner, Larissa G Duncan, Maria T Chao, Adam Gazzaley. Focus on the breath: Brain decoding reveals internal states of attention during meditation. bioRxiv. 2018 Nov 4; 461590.
    View on PubMed
  14. Dhruva A, Atreya CE, Chao MT. Applying New Models of Care to Meet Patient Needs in Integrative Oncology. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Sep/Oct; 24(9-10):1010-1011.
    View on PubMed
  15. Ho EY, Acquah J, Chao C, Leung G, Ng DC, Chao MT, Wang A, Ku S, Chen W, Yu CK, Xu S, Chen M, Jih J. Heart healthy integrative nutritional counseling (H2INC): Creating a Chinese medicine + western medicine patient education curriculum for Chinese Americans. Patient Educ Couns. 2018 12; 101(12):2202-2208.
    View on PubMed
  16. Chao MT, Adler SR. Integrative Medicine and the Imperative for Health Justice. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Feb; 24(2):101-103.
    View on PubMed
  17. Salvatore D’Amico, Maria Chao, Paula Gardiner. Addressing Disparities in Integrative and Complementary Therapies. Advances in Integrative Medicine. 2017 Dec 1; 4(Busting the myth’ Advances in Integrative Medicine 4 1 2018):91-92.
    View on PubMed
  18. Huang AJ, Rowen TS, Abercrombie P, Subak LL, Schembri M, Plaut T, Chao MT. Development and Feasibility of a Group-Based Therapeutic Yoga Program for Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain. Pain Med. 2017 Oct 01; 18(10):1864-1872.
    View on PubMed
  19. Handley MA, Quan J, Chao MT, Ratanawongsa N, Sarkar U, Emmons-Bell S, Schillinger D. Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Diverse Primary Care Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Association with Cardiometabolic Outcomes: From the SF Bay Collaborative Research Network (SF Bay CRN). J Am Board Fam Med. 2017 Sep-Oct; 30(5):624-631.
    View on PubMed
  20. Duncan LG, Cohn MA, Chao MT, Cook JG, Riccobono J, Bardacke N. Benefits of preparing for childbirth with mindfulness training: a randomized controlled trial with active comparison. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2017 May 12; 17(1):140.
    View on PubMed

Go to UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI