Margaret A. Chesney is a Professor of Medicine at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. From 2010 to 2015, she served as the director of the UCSF Osher Center, with its three core programs in integrative medicine research, education and patient care. These programs emphasize the integration of modern medicine with complementary approaches and established healing practices to promote health, wellness and healing. In addition, she develops partnerships within UCSF, and with the local and national community to advance the field of integrative medicine.
Dr. Chesney’s distinguished career in integrative medicine includes her recent work as professor of medicine and associate director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. Before that, Dr. Chesney served for five years as the deputy director of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH, formerly NCCAM). During her time at NCCIH, she also served as the director of the Division of Extramural Research and Training and was the senior advisor to the director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at National Institutes of Health.
Prior to her work at the NIH, Dr. Chesney was Professor of Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine. She also served as the co-director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, associate director of the California AIDS Research Center, and director, Behavioral Medicine & Epidemiology Core of the Center for AIDS Research, UCSF-Gladstone Institute of Virology & Immunology.
Dr. Chesney has conducted research on the relationship between behavior and chronic disease, particularly in identifying the behavioral factors, such as stress, associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and developing psychosocial interventions to address those factors. The focus of her 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, even in the face of serious health challenges, such as cardiovascular disease and HIV/AIDS. In her research and as an NIH advisor, she has often emphasized the health challenges faced by women, seniors, and the underserved.
In 2007, she was named one of the outstanding women leaders by the American Psychological Association (APA) and in 2008 was included on the list of Women in Science at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Chesney has held national leadership positions including president of the Society for Health Psychology, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the American Psychosomatic Society. From 2014 to 2016, she was Chair of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health. She is now an Advisor to the Board of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium and advises non-profit foundations focused on expanding health and wellness to all. She also is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), has served on a number of its boards.
Dr. Chesney’s awards are numerous. She received the Annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to the APA Division of Health Psychology in 1982 and 1986, the President’s Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 1987, the Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999 and the Director’s Award for work in Mind-Body Medicine from the director of the NCCIH in 2005. In 2000, Dr. Chesney was a senior fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Health in Washington DC, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundations. She has over 350 scientific publications and received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Whitman College, in 2008.