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Faculty180 – Vita and Individual Profile Data Sheet

Margaret Chesney, PhD

Fall 1980 - Fall 2120

SCU Health - Clinical and Health Services Research


Current Position

  • Position: Associated Faculty


Margaret A. Chesney is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor Medicine in the Department of Medicine at UCSF.  From 2010 to 2015, she served as the director of the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health.  Dr. Chesney’s career in integrative health includes her work as the Deputy and Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Prior to her work at the NIH, Dr. Chesney was Professor of Medicine at UCSF where she also served as the co-director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and the director of the Behavioral Medicine & Epidemiology Core of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research.

Dr. Chesney has conducted research on the relationship between behavior and chronic disease, particularly in identifying risk factors for developing disease and creating psychosocial interventions to address them. The focus of her recent work has been on the role the individual can play in the promotion of personal health, prevention of disease, and the maintenance of optimal well-being across the lifespan.  In this work, she has often emphasized the health challenges faced by women, seniors, and the underserved, and designed interventions to support them.

In 2007, she was named one of the outstanding women leaders by the American Psychological Association and in 2008 was included on the list of Women in Science at the NIH. Dr. Chesney has held national leadership positions including president of the Society for Health Psychology, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. She has also served as the Chair of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health.

A member of the National Academy of Medicine, she has served on several its committees, include the recent one on Transforming Health Care to Create Whole Health.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences.

Dr. Chesney has twice received the Annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to the APA Division of Health Psychology.  Her other awards include Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Director’s Award for work in Mind-Body Medicine from the director of the NCCIH, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the President’s Award from our Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.  She has over 350 scientific publications and received an honorary doctorate from her Alma mater, Whitman College.



Other, Phychiatry, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States


Ph.D., Counseling-Clinical Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States


B.A., Psychology and Sociology, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, United States

M.S., Counseling-Clinical Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States

Scholarly Contributions and Creative Productions

Journal Article


Chesney, M.; Nicosia, F. .; Lee, J. .; Benjamin, C.; Lee, A. .; Mehling, W.; Sudore, R. .; Barnes, D. . Adaptation of an in-Person Mind-Body Movement Program for People with Cognitive Impairment of Dementia and Care Partners for Online Delivery: Feasibility, Satisfaction and Participant Reported Outcomes. Global Advances in Integrative Medicine and Health 2023, 1–14.
Chesney, M.; Siwik, C. .; Jhaveri, K.; Cohen, J. .; Barulich, B. .; Chang, A.; Levin, A. .; Goyal, N. .; Melisko, M.; Shumay, D. Survivorship Wellness:  A Multidisciplinary Group Program for Cancer Survivors. Supportive Care in Cancer 2023.
Chesney, M.; Huang, A.; Schembri, M.; Pawlowsky, S.; Nicosia, F.; Subak, L. . Rapid Conversion of a Group-Based Yoga Trial for Diverse Older Women to Home-Based Telehealth: Lessons Learned Using Zoom to Deliver Movement-Based Interventions. Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine 2022.
Chesney, M.; Schneiderman, N.; William, R. .; Lane, R. .; Deter, H. A Tribute to Kristina Orth-Gomer: An Outstanding Scientist for Women’s Health in Behavioral and Psychosomatic Medicine. Psychosomatic Medicine 2021.
Chesney, M.; Vuppaladhadiam, L.; Lager, J.; Fiehn, O.; Weiss, S.; Hasdemir, B.; Bhargava, A. Human Placenta Puffers the Fetus from Adverse Effects of Perceived Maternal Stress. Cells 2021, 10, 379.
Chesney, M.; Chao, L. .; Lee, J. .; Martinez, S.; Barlow, C.; Mehling, W. .; Barnes, D. . Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIÉ): A Pilot Trial in Older Adults with Subjective Memory Decline and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2021.
Chesney, M.; Anderson, D. .; Reeves, A. .; Mehling, W. . Capnometric Feedback Training Decreases 24-H Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Women. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2021, 21, 447–455.
Chesney, M.; Mehling, W. .; Scott, T. .; Duffy, J.; Whitmer, R. .; Boscardin, J. W.; Barnes, D. . Dyadic Group Exercises for Persons with Memory Deficits and Care Partners: Mixed-Method Findings from the Paired Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIÉ) Randomized Trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2020, 953203.
Chesney, M.; Anderson, D. . Integrative Medicine. 2020.
Chesney, M.; Jhavier, K.; Cohen, J. .; Barulich, M.; Levin, A. .; Goyal, N.; Loveday, T.; Shumay, D. Soup Cans, Brooms, and Zoom:  Rapid Conversion of a Cancer Survivorship Program to Telehealth during COVID-19. Psycho-Oncology 2020.
Chesney, M.; Cohen, J.; Shumay, D.; Goyal, N.; Barulich, M.; Levin, A. . Survivorship Wellness:  Insights from an Interdisciplinary Group-Based Survivorship Pilot Program at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2019.
Chesney, M.; Miaskowski, C.; Topp, K.; Conley, Y. .; Paul, S. .; Melisko, M.; Schumacher, M.; Abrams, G.; Levine, J. .; Kober, K. . Perturbations in Neuroinflammatory Pathways Are Associated with Paclitaxel-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Breast Cancer Survivors. 2019, 1–7.
Chesney, M.; Mazor, M.; Paul, S. .; Chen, L. .; Smoot, B.; Topp, K.; Conley, Y. .; Levine, J. .; Miaskowski, C. Perceived Stress Is Associated with a Higher Symptom Burden in Cancer Survivors. Cancer 2019, 125, 4509–4515.

Hear from the Students Who’ve Been in Your Shoes

Our Value: Integrative Health, Inclusivity

I chose SCU when looking for a PA program because of their Integrative Medicine approach. I am from Michigan, and not many programs focus on this Integrative, Holistic approach when it comes to patient care in the Midwest, and I felt that was very important for me to learn as a future provider. My transition to semi-virtual learning has been very smooth and quite enjoyable. My favorite part about attending SCU is how tight-knit and diverse the community is. Coming from a large undergrad university and moving so far, it was very important for me to have a PA program that made me feel valued and invested in my success. At SCU, they do a great job of making you feel that.


Brianna Hadley

MSPA Class of 2022

Our Value: Integrative Health

One of the great things about SCU is we do have a campus layout, so all your classes aren't in a single room. We have our cadaver lab. We have different specialty rooms for physical assessment classes vs. acupuncture classes. All our acupuncture-specific classes have all the herbs in the room. You can pull out the herbs and look at them, whether in class or in between classes to get that extra studying in.

My favorite part of SCU is the collaboration from our beginning terms. We were working alongside chiropractor students, PA students, and ayurvedic students. It's a unique community where we get to learn about these different fields and sit in classrooms with them and work with them in the clinic. It allows you to get an understanding of all the different fields and how they can work together, and what is unique about your field. I think that is a wonderful aspect that I didn't think was going to be as prominent as it is here; even now, in my upper term classes and I am not in class with chiropractic students, I can still reach out to them about a certain aspect I may not understand or if I am working on a case. I want another perspective I know I have them to reach out to, so that has been a great networking community to have resources for.

Dr. Jamie Kuljis

Graduate, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Our Value: Integrative Health, Inclusivity

"There are a lot of things that I love about the program at SCU. The first one is that the faculty come from a long line of Ayurvedic knowledge deeply rooted in ancient classical text. They studied Ayurveda, but they also lived it. When you learn from people who embody this wisdom, it's much easier to grasp this knowledge. The second thing I love is the camaraderie within the cohort. The combination of the training, supportive faculty, and the support of my peers and classmates has given me the confidence I need to start my own practice."

Portia Harris

Student, Ayurveda Program

Our Value: Evidence-Based Practice

Some of my favorite courses at SCU have to be the chiropractic procedure classes; those are the classes you get to hone in on your chiro skills, your palpation skills and ultimately work on the adjustments that make you a chiropractor. Those are the classes I feel enhance my knowledge the most and are some of the reasons I chose to become a chiropractor here are SCU.

On top of chiropractic procedures classes, my favorite is the cadaver lab experience. The cadaver classes opened up my perception of what the human body is made up of. It allowed me to get an in-person perspective of how the body works and looks on the inside. I am genuinely thankful for those experiences because they opened and broadened my horizons to the human body and anatomy in general.

Jordan Vega

Student, Doctor of Chiropractic

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