Bethesda, Maryland — The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) today announced the appointment of Margaret A. Chesney, Ph.D., as its first Deputy Director, following a nationwide search. Established in 1998, NCCAM is 1 of 27 Institutes and Centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NCCAM is the lead federal agency in supporting scientific research on complementary and alternative medical (CAM) healing practices, educating and training CAM researchers, and disseminating research findings to the public and health professionals.
“Dr. Margaret Chesney brings to this position an extraordinary record of scientific achievement and leadership in studies of the complex behaviors that lead to cardiovascular diseases and AIDS, and of rigorous trials of novel interventions to prevent them,” said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “With these attributes and experiences, Dr. Chesney is well poised to enhance NCCAM’s overall scientific effectiveness. Her influence will be felt most immediately on the Center’s portfolio of studies of mind-body approaches to healing and related behavioral and social science investigations.”
As NCCAM’s first Deputy Director, Dr. Chesney will partner with Dr. Straus in planning, directing, and managing the programs and resources of the Center. In this capacity, she will help formulate, guide, and oversee the management of all NCCAM-funded extramural centers, investigator-initiated research, research contracts, fellowships, and training and career awards — totaling over $86 million in investments in Fiscal Year 2002.
Prior to joining NCCAM, Dr. Chesney was professor of medicine and epidemiology at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she was co-director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and director of the behavioral medicine and epidemiology core of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research. Most recently, she was also a senior visiting scientist in the NIH Office of Women’s Health, in the Office of the Director.
Throughout her career, Dr. Chesney has designed and conducted original research on the relationship between behavior and chronic illness, and on behavioral factors in clinical trials, including issues of recruitment, adherence, and retention. She also worked on the development and evaluation of psychosocial and behavioral interventions for health promotion, illness prevention, and treatment. These are all experiences deemed critical to the success of the Center’s research enterprise, with its emphasis on clinical trials.
Dr. Chesney received her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA. She received a master’s and doctoral degree in clinical psychology and counseling from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. Dr. Chesney completed postdoctoral fellowship training in the Department of Psychiatry at Temple University’s School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Chesney is a past president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and a former president of the American Psychosomatic Society. She is also a past president of the Division of Health Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA). A recipient of many awards and honors, she received the annual award for Outstanding Contributions to the APA’s Division of Health Psychology in 1982 and in 1986; the President’s Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 1987; and the Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999. In 2000, she was a senior fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Health in Washington, DC, and in 2001 she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.
An author and coauthor of over 240 scholarly research papers and publications, Dr. Chesney is Associate Editor of “Psychology, Health and Medicine” and serves on a number of editorial boards, including those for “Psychosomatic Medicine”, the “British Journal of Health Psychology”, and the “Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes”.
Dr. Chesney officially assumes her duties at NCCAM on February 9, 2003.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices in the context of rigorous science, training CAM researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM’s Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at http://www.nccam.nih.gov.