Newswise — May 17, 2022 University Hospitals (UH) Connor Whole Health and Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute (SSIHI) at University of California, Irvine have joined in collaboration to lead BraveNet -- the first and largest whole health, practice-based research network in the U.S. BraveNet is a nationwide consortium comprised of academic health systems conducting evidence-based research on therapies used in integrative medicine, which is now more often known as whole health. Together, these 17 research-based institutions offer whole health services to more than 100,000 patients a year.

Previously led by Albert Einstein College of Medicine, BraveNet will have shared leadership going forward. SSIHI will serve as the data coordinating center under Shaista Malik, MD, PhD, executive director of SSIHI. Jeffery Dusek, PhD, will serve as BraveNet’s principal investigator through his role as research director of UH Connor Whole Health (UH Connor). This new management structure will further BraveNet’s mission of advancing integrative medicine by providing clinical outcomes and cost benefit data that have previously not been available to the medical and scientific communities.

“UH Connor is one of the largest integrative medicine clinical programs across the country and this appointment demonstrates our leadership and expertise in the field,” said Dr. Dusek, who has served on BraveNet’s executive committee since 2017. “This co-leadership opportunity provides us with resources to further research in this field. With two new entities leading the charge, this collaboration will have greater ability to document the power of integrative medicine and health, leading to better treatment for patients.”

“We are inheriting a program that is on course to generate important scientific evidence about integrative practices, thanks, in part, to the progress made by the Albert Einstein team during its tenure,” said Dr. Malik. “Combining the forces of two integrative health leaders to continue the BraveNet studies enables us to sustain and expand the academic medicine community’s involvement in further understanding the effectiveness of integrative treatments. The resulting science will help determine how the whole health approach is integrated into the health system and ultimately, give patients greater control over their personal health and well-being.”

Since 2015, SSIHI has participated in the flagship BraveNet project, PRIMIER: Patients Receiving Integrative Medicine Interventions Effectiveness Registry, an integrative medicine database launched in 2013. Led by Dr. Dusek, PRIMIER is a multi-institution project designed to uniformly collect patient-reported outcomes and extracted electronic health record data into a large national registry that would help improve the health and well-being of patients. PRIMIER provides a framework that can be used for quality improvement and evidence-based research, as well as discovering best practices within integrative medicine.

Another example of collaborative research conducted under the BraveNet umbrella includes a randomized trial studying the effectiveness of using acupuncture in the emergency department (ED), which was funded by a prestigious grant to Case Western Reserve University from the National Institutes of Health. Three BraveNet members -- UH, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the University of California, San Diego -- are participating in the study, led by Dr. Dusek, who is serving as principal investigator with M. Diane McKee, MD, MS, chair and professor of family medicine & community health at UMass Chan Medical School. According to published studies, pain accounts for up to 78 percent of ED patient visits in the United States. The overall goal of this research is to determine if acupuncture can manage pain and ideally reduce the use and prescription of opioid medications in the ED.

“At UH Connor we are passionate about pursuing non-pharmacologic treatments for pain in order to help mitigate the opioid epidemic impacting our communities,” said Francoise Adan, MD, Chief Whole Health & Well-being Officer and the Christopher M. & Sara H. Connor Chair in Integrative Health, University Hospitals Health System and Director, UH Connor Whole Health. “This study exemplifies how BraveNet is impacting our field. We have made many strides in the perception, understanding and acceptance of evidence-based integrative medicine in recent years, but we have more work to do. This new role provides UH Connor and SSIHI with a unique opportunity to collectively guide the evolution and expansion of integrative medicine across the U.S.”

The first half of 2022 serves as a transition period. UH Connor and SSIHI will officially begin their leadership roles on July 1, 2022.


About UH Connor Whole Health

UH Connor Whole Health is part of University Hospitals (UH), a comprehensive health system with annual revenues in excess of $5.0 billion, 23 hospitals (including 5 joint ventures), more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities, and over 200 physician offices located throughout 16 counties. UH’s goal is to be the most trusted health care partner in Northeast Ohio and UH Connor Whole Health furthers this objective by working to strengthen relationships between patients and providers to improve outcomes. The Whole Health approach prioritizes compassionate care centered on the patient’s entire well-being. The health care provider’s goal is to equip and empower each patient to take charge of their physical, mental, and spiritual health in order to live a full and meaningful life. Linking the patient’s larger purpose and life goals to their lifestyle allows clinical services, integrative medicine, and well-being programs to be delivered in a way that increases collaboration, motivation, and adherence to self-care and clinical needs. UH Connor Whole Health services include acupuncture, art therapy, chiropractic, expressive therapy (art, dance, and music), guided imagery, integrative medicine/lifestyle medicine consultations (adult and pediatric), massage therapy, meditation, mindfulness, stress management and resilience training workshops and yoga. For more information, visit UH Follow UH Connor Whole Health on LinkedIn.

About University Hospitals / Cleveland, Ohio Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 23 hospitals (including 5 joint ventures), more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities, and over 200 physician offices in 16 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system’s flagship quaternary care, academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Oxford University and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. The main campus also includes the UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, with more than 3,000 active clinical trials and research studies underway. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including “America’s Best Hospitals” from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to 19 Clinical Care Delivery and Research Institutes. UH is one of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio with more than 30,000 employees. Follow UH on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit

About UCI Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute (SSIHI): SSIHI is part of UCI Health and the UCI Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences. The college, which was named in 2017 with a transformative gift from Susan and Henry Samueli that focused on interdisciplinary integrative health, is the first university-based health sciences enterprises to incorporate integrative health research, teaching and patient care across its schools and programs. Within the college, SSIHI is creating a model of clinical care that emphasizes an evidence-based, transdisciplinary approach to healing the whole person and transforms healthcare through integrative health that emphasizes clinical, research and educational excellence. SSIHI, formerly known as the UCI Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, was established in 2001 to explore the frontiers of complementary and integrative medicine. Among several SSIHI research programs that foster collaboration across UCI, the Cardiovascular Acupuncture Research Program has received continuous National Institutes of Health funding for more than 20 years. For more information on SSIHI, visit  Follow SSIHI on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit