Division of Behavioral Medicine In the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health

Faculty Profile

Erik J. Groessl, PhD

Erik J. Groessl, Ph.D.

Email: egroessl@ucsd.edu

Research Projects

Yoga Therapy for Veterans with Chronic Low Back Pain. This study is a 4-year randomized controlled trial that will examine the impact of yoga therapy for improving function and decreasing pain in VA patients with chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain is a prevalent condition among VA patients, but many current treatment options have limited effectiveness. In addition to chronic pain, people with chronic low back pain experience increased disability, psychological symptoms such as depression, and reduced health-related quality of life. Although not every VA patient with chronic low back pain will choose to do yoga, it is an inexpensive treatment modality that is increasingly appealing to many VA patients. If yoga is effective, it could become an additional low-cost option that the VA can offer to better serve veterans with chronic low back pain.

Development of a Translational Tool to Study Yoga Therapy. Most yoga interventions are not well described and are inherently multi-faceted, making them difficult to compare and classify. This project is designed to address this methodological problem by creating a reliable and valid questionnaire that can be used to describe the important components of yoga interventions. The questionnaire will be called the Essential Properties of Yoga Questionnaire (EPYQ) and will allow components of the yoga interventions to be measured, analyzed, and linked to health outcomes.

Yoga to Improve Mobility and Function in Older Adults. This is a randomized pilot study funded by the Stein Institute for Research on Aging (SIRA). 50 older adults age 60-89 will be randomized to either 10 weeks of successful aging group sessions or 10-weeks of 2x weekly yoga. Outcomes will be measured using self-report questionnaires and physiological assessments at UCSD ePARC.

Increasing Access to HCV Self-Management Via the Internet. Patient self-management programs offer one option for helping HCV-infected persons cope with the challenges of and successfully complete antiviral treatment. The HCV Self-Management Program has been shown to improve health outcomes in this population and is being adapted to have greater focus on completion of antiviral treatment. While in-person self-management programs have been successful, they are not ideal for all people. Internet-based programs are an innovative and effective way to make self-management programs available and appealing to a larger proportion of people with HCV patients. This VA QUERI funded project will adapt the existing in-person HCV SMP for delivery via the Internet. The new internet-based program will be pilot tested with 50 HCV-infected adults in the VA system.

Integrated Care Model for Veterans with Hepatitis C. This is a 5-year multi-site RCT in which 360 HCV-infected VA patients across three sites were randomized to either integrated care or usual care. The primary hypothesis was that participants assigned to integrated care would have higher total sustained viral response rates as a result of completing antiviral treatment for HCV when compared with usual care participants. Integrated care consists of having a co-located, mid-level mental health clinician provide brief psychological interventions, case management, and collaborative care within three hepatitis C clinics. The trial is nearing completion and results appear to be very promising.

Curriculum Vitae


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