Osher Center for Integrative Health

April 2023

Refresh and Renew

Greetings and Happy Spring!

Beyond the arrival of soft breezes, warm rains and fragrant flowers, April brings about the amazing prospect of self-renewal. It's the perfect time of year to refresh and refocus on what it means to be alive. For many, that includes a greater emphasis on eating healthy, staying active, and ensuring that our mind and spirit remain in optimum condition. By practicing renewal, we are given the gift of improving our overall health in the process.

As we reset, we may want to distance ourselves from technology and stress and be present with the budding nature all around us. Being overly connected, technologically, can cause psychological issues such as distraction, expectation of instant gratification, and even depression. Beside affecting users’ mental health, overuse of technology can also have negative repercussions on physical health causing vision problems, hearing loss, and neck strain. Stepping away from the socials and taking time to connect with nature will refresh our minds, improve our mental and spiritual health and lead to a healthier body.

We invite you to refresh your commitment to integrative medicine by joining the Osher Center for Integrative Health as a patient, colleague, or supporter. To learn more please visit our website. We look forward to supporting your health. 

To Your Well Being,

Melinda Ring, MD

Executive Director


Osher Highlights

Spotlight on Osher Research

Drs. Judy Moskowitz and Liz Addington awarded major honors

Congratulations to Dr. Judy Moskowitz, Osher Director of Research, for being awarded the Feinberg School of Medicine 2023 Mentor of the Year!

We'd like to share this excerpt from her nomination package, which noted Judy’s exceptional qualities as a mentor. “Judy possesses a unique combination of characteristics that make her a special and exemplary mentor. She is caring and generous, while holding high standards, giving us the confidence and resources needed to challenge ourselves in the most constructive ways. She inspires passion for our work and opens doors for success. She respects us as professionals and as human beings. She sets an exceptional example of being able to work rigorously and live richly, and she encourages us to do the same. Judy is accessible and trustworthy, building relationships and collaborations that we turn to time and again. She unfailingly supports each person’s strengths and our potential for growth. She is an extraordinary person, able to embody the full breadth and depth of qualities we hope for in a mentor.”

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Addington on receiving the 2023 Daniel I. Linzer Award for Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity.

The Daniel I. Linzer Award for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Equity celebrates exemplar individuals or groups who work collaboratively to build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable climate at Northwestern University.

Who's Who at Osher

Dr. David Victorson

Dr. David Victorson is working with cancer research collaborators at the Javeriana University in Bogota, Columbia as they plan the launch of the NCI-funded pilot study of the Spanish-translated mindfulness app Wakeful. The Wakeful app offers a sequentially paced curriculum, inquiry-centered didactics, and community support features, all within a self-directed user experience. They will be working directly with a sample of young adult cancer survivors. 

Amazing work, David-we are so proud of the work you are doing!

The original Wakeful App development was generously funded through the support of the Malkin Family Foundation.

Osher Grand Rounds

May 18, 2023

Please join us virtually on May 18, 2023 at 12 pm CST for our next Osher Grand Rounds, hosted in conjunction with IPHAM.

Presenters: Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour and Clara Takarabe

Title: "Music and Medicine"

The Northwestern Music and Medicine Program (NMMP) was created by cognitive behavioral neurologist Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour and violist and music practitioner Clara Takarabe. The program has three components: 1) clinical music interventions, 2) research and 3) education. This talk will highlight their work in the music and medicine field.

Registration will be active soon. To register, please visit our website.

To see previous grand rounds, including last month's outstanding presentation on Addressing Racial Inequality in Mind-Body Interventions, please visit our website.

News You Can Use
Selected Integrative Medicine Research Developments

Why Sleep is Essential for Disease Prevention

Sleep and the body’s functioning are closely aligned. Research suggests that even a small loss of sleep can impair the immune system.

One study found that when participants restricted their sleep to four hours for just one night, their natural killer cell (NKC) activity dropped by 70 percent. A significant drop in NKC, immune cells that fight off tumors and virus-infected cells, can have a profound impact on the body’s response to threats big and small. In addition to putting patients at risk for cancer, poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.

Tip: A minimum of 7 hours of sleep is necessary in order to fight disease, stave off anxiety and increase overall health and wellness. Here are some helpful tips to get better rest: Keep the bedroom cool; Avoid alcohol; Avoid caffeine and nicotine; Reduce napping; Use weighted blankets; Remove electronic devices and use blue-light blockers in the evening.

Purple Vegetables and Tubers May Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A new study from the American Chemistry Society shows that anthocyanins (red, purple and blue pigments found in fruits, vegetables, and tubers) in plants have properties that reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by affecting energy metabolism, gut microbiota, and inflammation.

Acylated anthocyanins, found in purple potatoes, purple sweet potatoes, radishes, purple carrots and red cabbages have probiotic properties that reduce the risk of diabetes.They possess more effective antioxidants than the non-acylated anthocyanins, and can also improve the intestinal barrier that enables the absorption of necessary nutrients. 

Tip: Eating a variety of colorful foods every day is best, but do include purple ones! Here’s what to look for and what to add to your menu: Purple cabbage; Purple (red) onions; Purple carrots; Purple cauliflower; Purple kale; Purple potatoes; Purple asparagus; Eggplant.

Osher Centers in the News

Recent Media Highlights

Read: Do melatonin, CBD, magnesium, valerian, and other sleep supplements actually work? Selena Chan, DO, a psychiatrist and interim director of clinical programs at the UCFS Osher Center for Integrative Health weighs in on these popular sleep supplements.

Read about it, here.

Listen: Dr. Melinda Ring is featured on the Northwestern podcast speaking about the science behind culinary medicine and how our Cooking Up Health course can improve the health of patients and train more nutrition-aware physicians.  

Tune in, here.

Rethink: Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler helps us rethink the phrase "Black Excellence" in this insightful article about the extreme pressure of exceptionalism that this phrase implies. Instead of looking outward, writer Amber Shephard suggests that we should choose to look inward.

Get inspired, here.

Resource Highlights

Guided Meditation: Personal Renewal

Letting go of resistance is a key ingredient to a renewed sense of self. This meditation helps you to accept and acknowledge the connection between yourself and your thoughts and believing in the flow of the day as a pathway to feeling refreshed and renewed.

Breathe in renewal, here.

Wellbeing Events and Monthly Recipe
See How You Can Take Part!

Education Opportunities

Classes, Events and Support Groups

Northwestern Medicine offers a wide range of classes, events and support groups throughout the year - in your local community and online - to help you live a healthier, happier and more informed life.

International Conference on Integrative Medicine and Nutrition

April 24-25, 2023—New York, New York

International Conference on Integrative Medicine and Nutrition aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers, and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Integrative Medicine and Nutrition.

For more information, please visit: https://waset.org/integrative-medicine-and-nutrition-conference-in-april-2023-in-new-york

34th Clinical Applications for Age Management Medicine Conference

April 26-30, 2023—Miami, Florida

For more information, please visit: https://agemed.org/cme-conferences/

Integrative Medicine Summit 2023:

Translating Science into Clinical Practice 

April 28, 2023-Tucson, Arizona

A virtual event exploring some of integrative health's hottest topics, including mental health, novel approaches to gut health, and new paradigms in healthcare. This one-day conference also includes experiential sessions on narrative medicine and cooking with Dr. Andrew Weil.

For more information, please visit: https://event.awcim.arizona.edu/ims2023?eid=308

Integrative Pain Management Conference

May 5, 2023-Burlington, Vermont

The Osher Center for Integrative Health at University of Vermont is hosting an in-person Integrative Pain Management Conference designed to meet the needs of an interdisciplinary healthcare community. This conference will also be live streamed. For more information and registration, please visit: https://www.uvm.edu/cnhs/integrativehealth/integrative-pain-management-conference

Food as Medicine

April is all about asparagus. Asparagus is low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamins A, C and K. Additionally, eating asparagus has a number of potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, healthy pregnancy outcomes and lower blood pressure. Plus, asparagus contains 1.8 grams of fiber, which is 7% of your daily needs!

Check out these tasty asparagus recipes.

The combination of sweet strawberries, tangy lime, and earthy mint and green tea makes this smoothie balanced and refreshing. It's packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, and if you keep green tea ice cubes in your freezer you can make it in a flash!

Osher Center for Integrative Health at Northwestern University | Website
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