Explore This Treatment Program

The mission of the Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program (IBHCRP) at Massachusetts General Hospital is to advance clinical and research practice through development and testing of cutting-edge skills interventions with three main goals:

  • Preserving brain health and preventing chronic illness through lifestyle changes (including adaptive thinking, mindfulness and meditation, healthy eating, exercise, social networks and spirituality)
  • Optimizing management of chronic illness as it relates to brain health
  • Promoting recovery after injury or surgery

The IBHCRP carries out this mission through clinical care and research in direct partnership with patients. In addition, the IBHCRP provides integrated, multidisciplinary training for postdoctoral fellows, predoctoral clinical psychology interns, undergraduate interns and medical residents.

The IBHCRP also partners with primary and specialty care doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists and genetic counselors to facilitate integrated, patient-centered care that suits the needs of each individual patient.

Who We Serve

The IBHCRP provides clinical services to patients and their family caregivers. We also offer many opportunities for care through our ongoing clinical research programs. IBHCRP serves individuals anywhere on the spectrum of health to illness, including:

  • Healthy individuals interested in preserving their health (e.g., primary care patients or caregivers)
  • Individuals recovering from injury or surgery (e.g., general surgery, brain injury, orthopedic trauma, stroke and other cardiovascular events)
  • Individuals facing chronic medical conditions (e.g., chronic pain, deafness, tinnitus, neurofibromatosis and tumor suppressor conditions; dementias and other memory related problems) and their family, friends and caregivers

Why Focus on Brain Health?

The brain is the most malleable organ of the body. It is the hub of emotions, behaviors, cognition, socialization and spirituality. The brain influences the development and progression of illness and determines how we cope with stress, injury or illness and defines quality of life and well-being. In turn, illness, coping styles, quality of life and well-being influence the brain.

Brain health encompasses all possible relationships between our minds, bodies, behaviors and environment.

Our Services

The Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program (IBHCRP) provides integrated clinical care either in person or virtually to patients who:

  • Are interested in preserving brain health by developing healthy habits associated with longevity and positive vitality, including adaptive thinking, mindfulness, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, social connectedness, meaning-making and spirituality
  • Have been diagnosed with a chronic illness and want to learn skills to manage symptoms for optimal brain health and well-being
  • Would like to improve their recovery following an acute injury or surgery

The IBHCRP also provides services to caregivers for patients facing a chronic illness or recovering from an acute injury or surgery.

Lifestyle and Healthy-Living Skills Group: My Healthy Brain

My Healthy Brain is a 12-week program that teaches specific skills and strategies for optimizing and preserving brain health. During the program, you will learn about the connections between lifestyle behaviors, physical functioning, emotions and brain health, along with skills to help set and achieve healthy living goals that will last a lifetime.

Topics include:

  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Social relationships
  • Building brain reserve
  • Managing medical conditions
  • Enjoying a healthy life

Dates: Ongoing dates, contact us to learn more
Location: 1 Bowdoin Square, Boston, MA

For more information, please contact the McCance Center for Brain Health Coordinator at 617-726-4881.

Individual Sessions

Lifestyle Sessions

The skills taught in Individual Lifestyle Sessions will be tailored to meet your individual lifestyle needs. You will have two to six sessions with one of our psychologists.

Stress Reduction Session

Skills taught include in Stress Reduction Sessions include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation
  • Acceptance
  • Goal-setting

You will have two to six sessions with one of our psychologists.

Collaborations with Other Programs

The IBHCRP collaborates closely with a variety of programs within the Department of Psychiatry and across Mass General to provide timely clinical care.

Our collaborators include:

Our research

The Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program (IBHCRP) at Mass General conducts clinical research consistent with our mission of optimizing health and well-being through brain health. Our research is funded by federal and foundation grants and through the generosity of donors who wish to advance brain health science and clinical care.

Active Studies

We are currently enrolling participants in the clinical trials listed below.

Resiliency Training for Adults with Neurofibromatosis via Live Videoconferencing: The Resilience for NF Study

Principal investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu
Study clinician: Ethan Lester
Clinical Research Coordinator: Mira Reichman
Funding source: Department of Defense

The aim of this study is to compare the effects of two stress management programs tailored for patients with neurofibromatosis on multiple dimensions of quality of life, distress and pain.

For more information please contact Mira Reichman (mreichman@mgh.harvard.edu).

Resiliency Training for Adolescents with Neurofibromatosis 1 and 2; A randomized controlled trial via secure live video to improve emotional, social and physical function

Principal investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu
Study clinicians: Ethan Lester and Eric Riklin
Clinical Research Coordinator: Mira Reichman
Funding Source: Department of Defense

The aim of this study is to compare the effects of two stress management programs tailored for adolescent patients with neurofibromatosis on multiple dimensions of quality of life, distress and pain.
For more information, please contact Mira Reichman (mreichman@mgh.harvard.edu).

Integrating mind body skills with physical activity to improve emotional and physical health in older adults with chronic pain and mild cognitive impairment (MCI): The Active Brain Study

Primary investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu
Co-investigators: Ryan Mace and Ethan Lester
Clinical Research Coordinator: Melissa Gates
Funding source: National Institutes of Aging

The aim of this study is to adapt a mind-body intervention to target chronic pain and increased physical activity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). We will conduct focus groups and use the information from the focus groups to develop two new programs for this population. We will next conduct two open pilot studies to determine the feasibility, acceptability and signal of improvement in this population.

For more information please contact Melissa Gates (mvgates@mgh.harvard.edu).

Recovering Together Initiative: Building Resiliency in Dyads of Patients Admitted to the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Their Caregivers

Principal investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu
Study clinicians: Ethan Lester, Sarah Bannon, Ryan Mace
Clinical Research Coordinator: Melissa Gates 
Funding Source: National Institute of Nursing Research

The aims of this study are to examine the feasibility, credibility, satisfaction and proof of concept of the “Recovering Together”dyadic resiliency skills program in improving emotional distress in dyads of patients with acute neurological illness and their family caregivers.

For more information, please contact Melissa Gates (mvgates@mgh.harvard.edu).

Resilient Together Study: Developing a resiliency skills program for dyads of patients with young onset dementia and their family caregivers: 

Principal Investigators: Ana-Maria Vranceanu and Bradford Dickerson
Study Clinician: Sarah Bannon
Clinical Research Coordinator: Paula Popok
Funding Source: National Institute of Nursing Research

The aim of this study is to adapt our dyadic program “Recovering Together” for the specific needs of patients with young onset dementia and their family caregivers, with the goal of preventing chronic emotional distress. We will conduct focus groups and use the information from the focus groups to develop Resilient Together.

DOORSTEP: Mind Body Program Reduces Osteoarthritis Pain

Principal Investigators: Ana-Maria Vranceanu and Cale Jacobs
Study clinician: Jonathan Greenberg
Clinical Research Coordinator: Paula Popok
Funding Source: NCCIH

The aim of this study is to adapt a mind-body intervention to reduce osteoarthritis pain in patients.

NF-Web

Principal Investigator: Ethan Lester
Clinical Research Coordinator: Paula Popok
Funding source: NF Northeast and NF Midwest Foundations

NF-Web is an online mind-body program for coping with stress and improving resiliency in people with NF.

Get Active Study: Integrating Mind-Body Skills with Physical Activity to Improve Physical and Emotional Outcomes in Patients with Heterogeneous Chronic Pain

Principal investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu
Study clinician: Jonathan Greenberg
Clinical Research Coordinator: Paula Popok
Funding source:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

The aim of this study is to adapt a mind-body intervention to increase physical activity among patients with chronic pain with or without a Fitbit. We will then test the feasibility, credibility and acceptability of the two mind-body programs (GetActive and GetActive with Fitbit) within open pilot and randomized controlled designs.

For more information please contact Paula Popok (ppopok@mgh.harvard.edu)

 

Completed Studies

A Randomized Controlled Trial Testing the Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Effects of a Skills Based Program (Toolkit for Optimal Recovery) Delivered via Live Videoconferencing in Patients with Acute Musculoskeletal Trauma

Principal investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu

The aims of this study are to examine the effects of a skills training program delivered via live videoconferencing and optimize recovery after orthopedic fractures.

Preventing Chronic Depression and PTSD in Patients with Stroke Admitted to the Neuroscience ICU and Their Family Caregivers

Principal investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu
Co-investigator: Emily L. Zale, Jessica L. McCurley
Project director: Jessica L. McCurley

The aims of this study are to identify modifiable psychosocial risk factors for depression and post-traumatic stress in patients with stroke and their primary caregivers and to develop and test the feasibility and acceptability of a novel mind-body intervention for patient-caregiver pairs.

A Prospective Study to Investigate the Relationship Between Patient and Family Caregiver Distress Following Neuroscience ICU Admission

Principal  investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu

This study aims to identify predictors of depression, post-traumatic stress and quality of life among patients admitted to the Neuroscience ICU and their primary caregivers at three, six, 12 and 24 months post-ICU admission.

Resiliency Training for Patients with NF2 Who Are Deaf via Live Videoconferencing

Principal investigator: Ana-Maria Vranceanu
Funding source: Childrens’ Tumor Foundation

The aims of this study are to establish the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a videoconferencing-based resiliency program in improving quality of life for adults with NF2 who are deaf.

Professional Training

The Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program accepts one intern each year in the Integrated Brain Health elective within the Internship in Clinical Psychology at Mass General.

Internship in Clinical Psychology

Mass General's predoctoral internship in Clinical Psychology is open to matriculated doctoral students enrolled in clinical or counseling psychology programs. The internship helps develop professional psychologists who exemplify the scientist-practitioner model and offers interns seven different tracks of specialization.

Successful interns may transition into a T32 Postdoctoral Training Program in Recovery and Restoration of CNS Health and Function under Dr. Vranceanu’s mentorship.

Learn more about the internship

Integrated Brain Health Elective

The Integrated Brain Health Elective provides interns with both clinical and research training. This elective is designed to launch careers in psychology with a focus on the integration of mind, brain, body and behavior through comprehensive, multidisciplinary training.

Learn more about the elective


  • Jonathan Greenberg, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Ethan G. Lester, MS - Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Ryan Mace - Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry
  • Sarah Bannon - Clinical Fellow in Psychology
  • Eric Ricklin - Advanced Practicum Student
  • Melissa Gates - Clinical Research Coordinator & Program Coordinator 
  • Paula Popok - Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Mira Reichman - Clinical Research Coordinator

Research Interns

  • Ilyssa Silverman
  • Elizabeth Sullivan
  • Simrit Uppal

Supervisors

Other Staff Members

  • Julia Blackburn, MD - Visiting Resident & Fulbright Scholar
  • Katia M. Canenguez PhD, EdM - Pediatric Psychologist
  • Alesandra Giuggio - Pre-award Grants Administrator 
  • Michelle Vitagliano - Post-award Grants Administrator 
Former Staff
  • Sofia DiStefano, MS
  • Christopher J. Funes, MS
  • Ann Lin
  • Emma Meyers, BA
  • Jessica L. McCurley, MPH
  • Jarry Porsius, PhD
  • Emily L. Zale, PhD

Learn more about our staff

Support Our Mission

The mission of the Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program is to advance clinical and research practice by developing and testing cutting-edge skills interventions. We work toward reaching our goals of preserving brain health and preventing chronic illness while also optimizing management of chronic illness and promoting recovery after injury or surgery as it relates to brain health.

We work to improve the lives of patients through our research and clinical care.

How Can You Support Our Mission

Your charitable donations can help us reach these goals. We appreciate donations of any size. These contributions help us reach our mission to improve the lives of our patients through cutting edge research and clinical care. 

Give now