Keywords
Last Name

Robert B. Saper, MD

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionBoston University School of Medicine
DepartmentFamily Medicine
Address771 Albany St
Boston MA 02118
Phone(617) 414-6276
Email
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-0992-6198
Other Positions
TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionBoston University School of Public Health
DepartmentEpidemiology

TitleActive Staff Hospital Privileges
InstitutionBoston Medical Center
DepartmentFamily Medicine

 Awards and Honors

Start-EndDescription
1983Brandeis University: Summa cum laude with highest honors in biology
1998Alta Bates Medical Center: President's Award
2003Harvard Medical School Class of 2003: Recognition for Outstanding Teaching
2006Society for Teachers of Family Medicine: Honorable Mention, Best Research Paper Award
2006South Boston Community Health Center: Best Preceptor Award
2010Society for Teachers of Family Medicine: Honorable Mention, Best Research Paper Award
 Research Expertise & Professional Interests
Dr. Saper is the Director of Integrative Medicine for the Boston Medical Center Department of Family Medicine and an Associate Professor in the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Saper attended Brandeis University for his undergraduate education. After graduating Harvard Medical School in 1988, he completed a family medicine residency and chief residency at UCSF from 1988-92 and was in private practice for 8 years in the San Francisco Bay area. While in California he worked closely with Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversal of Heart Disease. In 2000 he moved back to the Boston area and retooled professionally by entering the three year NIH-funded Integrative Medicine Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School which included an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. As a fellow, he published the first nationally representative survey of yoga use in the United States.

In 2004 he joined the Boston University faculty and medical staff of Boston Medical Center where he directs the Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Disparities. The mission of the Program is to bring evidence-based integrative medicine approaches to all, regardless of ability to pay. Soon after arriving at Boston Medical Center, he received a five year Academic Career Development Grant from the NIH National Center for Complementary Alternative Medicine. With this support, he published a pilot study of yoga for chronic low back pain in predominantly low income minorities recruited from federally qualified community health centers. In 2010 Dr. Saper was funded by the NIH to conduct a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness and cost of yoga, physical therapy, and education for back pain in 320 adults. Other major areas of research include the safety and efficacy of traditional Indian herbal medicines.

Dr. Saper is the Vice Chair of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

 Self-Described Keywords
  • integrative medicine
  • complementary alternative medicine
  • yoga
  • Ayurveda
  • low back pain
  • health disparities
 Publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
List All   |   Timeline
  1. Gardiner P, Dresner D, Barnett KG, Sadikova E, Saper R. Medical group visits: a feasibility study to manage patients with chronic pain in an underserved urban clinic. Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 Jul; 3(4):20-6.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Lemaster C, Keosaian J, Dorman E, Paris R, Saper R. Qualitative study in a randomized trial comparing yoga, physical therapy, and education for low back pain in a predominantly minority population. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):A59.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Gardiner P, Dresner D, Barnett KG, Sadikova E, Saper R. Integrative medicine group visits: a feasibility study to manage complex chronic pain patients in an underserved inner city clinic. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):A16.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Fishbein D, Barrett L, Teranishi R, Saper R, Kruger J. Is yoga really dangerous? A systematic review of adverse events reported in the medical literature. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):A21.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Do D, Saper R. Impact of yoga on depression and anxiety. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):A55.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Egan S, Saper R. Predictors of Adherence to Treatment for Chronic Low Back Pain in a 12-week RCT Comparing Yoga, Physical Therapy, and Education. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):A56.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Shaw S, Dresner D, Gardiner P, Barnett KG, Saper R. Integrative medicine group visits and emergency department utilization. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):A67-8.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Ring M, Brodsky M, Low Dog T, Sierpina V, Bailey M, Locke A, Kogan M, Rindfleisch A, Saper R. Core competencies for integrative medicine fellowship training programs. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 May; 20(5):A97-8.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Cerrada CJ, Weinberg J, Sherman KJ, Saper RB. Inter-method reliability of paper surveys and computer assisted telephone interviews in a randomized controlled trial of yoga for low back pain. BMC Res Notes. 2014; 7(1):227.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Ring M, Brodsky M, Low Dog T, Sierpina V, Bailey M, Locke A, Kogan M, Rindfleisch JA, Saper R. Developing and implementing core competencies for integrative medicine fellowships. Acad Med. 2014 Mar; 89(3):421-8.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Rosen JE, Gardiner P, Saper RB, Pearce EN, Hammer K, Gupta-Lawrence RL, Lee SL. Kelp use in patients with thyroid cancer. Endocrine. 2014 May; 46(1):123-30.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Saper RB, Sherman KJ, Delitto A, Herman PM, Stevans J, Paris R, Keosaian JE, Cerrada CJ, Lemaster CM, Faulkner C, Breuer M, Weinberg J. Yoga vs. physical therapy vs. education for chronic low back pain in predominantly minority populations: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2014; 15(1):67.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Stein KM, Weinberg J, Sherman K, Lemaster CM, Saper R. Participant characteristics associated with symptomatic improvement from yoga for chronic low back pain. Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy. 2014; 4:151.
  14. Rosen JE, Gardiner P, Saper RB, Filippelli AC, White LF, Pearce EN, Gupta-Lawrence RL, Lee SL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among patients with thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2013 Oct; 23(10):1238-46.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Saper RB, Boah AR, Keosaian J, Cerrada C, Weinberg J, Sherman KJ. Comparing Once- versus Twice-Weekly Yoga Classes for Chronic Low Back Pain in Predominantly Low Income Minorities: A Randomized Dosing Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013:658030.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Bond AR, Mason HF, Lemaster CM, Shaw SE, Mullin CS, Holick EA, Saper RB. Embodied health: the effects of a mind-body course for medical students. Med Educ Online. 2013; 18:1-8.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Koch I, Moriarty M, Sui J, Rutter A, Saper RB, Reimer KJ. Bioaccessibility of mercury in selected Ayurvedic medicines. Sci Total Environ. 2013 Jun 1; 454-455:9-15.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Gardiner P, Adams D, Filippelli AC, Nasser H, Saper R, White L, Vohra S. A systematic review of the reporting of adverse events associated with medical herb use among children. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Mar; 2(2):46-55.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Quilty MT, Saper RB, Goldstein R, Khalsa SB. Yoga in the Real World: Perceptions, Motivators, Barriers, and patterns of Use. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Jan; 2(1):44-9.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Rosen J, Lawrence R, Bouchard M, Doros G, Gardiner P, Saper R. Massage for perioperative pain and anxiety in placement of vascular access devices. Adv Mind Body Med. 2013; 27(1):12-23.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Streeter CC, Gerbarg PL, Saper RB, Ciraulo DA, Brown RP. Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Med Hypotheses. 2012 May; 78(5):571-9.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Highfield ES, Spellman L, Barnes LL, Kaptchuk TJ, Paradis G, Conboy LA, Saper R. Profile of minority and under-served patients using acupuncture. Complement Ther Med. 2012 Feb-Apr; 20(1-2):70-2.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Koch I, Moriarty M, House K, Sui J, Cullen WR, Saper RB, Reimer KJ. Bioaccessibility of lead and arsenic in traditional Indian medicines. Sci Total Environ. 2011 Oct 1; 409(21):4545-52.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Raviraja A, Vishal Babu GN, Sehgal A, Saper RB, Jayawardene I, Amarasiriwardena CJ, Venkatesh T. Three cases of lead toxicity associated with consumption of ayurvedic medicines. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2010 Jul; 25(3):326-9.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Jayawardene I, Saper R, Lupoli N, Sehgal A, Wright RO, Amarasiriwardena C. Determination of in vitro bioaccessibility of Pb, As, Cd and Hg in selected traditional Indian medicines. J Anal At Spectrom. 2010; 25(8):1275-1282.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Saper RB, Sherman KJ, Cullum-Dugan D, Davis RB, Phillips RS, Culpepper L. Yoga for chronic low back pain in a predominantly minority population: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Nov-Dec; 15(6):18-27.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Kales SN, Saper RB. Ayurvedic lead poisoning: an under-recognized, international problem. Indian J Med Sci. 2009 Sep; 63(9):379-81.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Saper RB, Rash R. Zinc: an essential micronutrient. Am Fam Physician. 2009 May 1; 79(9):768-72.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Grodin MA, Piwowarczyk L, Fulker D, Bazazi AR, Saper RB. Treating survivors of torture and refugee trauma: a preliminary case series using qigong and t'ai chi. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Sep; 14(7):801-6.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Saper RB, Phillips RS, Sehgal A, Khouri N, Davis RB, Paquin J, Thuppil V, Kales SN. Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet. JAMA. 2008 Aug 27; 300(8):915-23.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Birdee GS, Legedza AT, Saper RB, Bertisch SM, Eisenberg DM, Phillips RS. Characteristics of yoga users: results of a national survey. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Oct; 23(10):1653-8.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Highfield ES, Barnes L, Spellman L, Saper RB. If you build it, will they come? A free-care acupuncture clinic for minority adolescents in an urban hospital. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jul; 14(6):629-36.
    View in: PubMed
  33. Karri SK, Saper RB, Kales SN. Lead encephalopathy due to traditional medicines. Curr Drug Saf. 2008 Jan; 3(1):54-9.
    View in: PubMed
  34. Kales SN, Christophi CA, Saper RB. Hematopoietic toxicity from lead-containing Ayurvedic medications. Med Sci Monit. 2007 Jul; 13(7):CR295-8.
    View in: PubMed
  35. Saper RB, Kales SN, Paquin J, Burns MJ, Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, Phillips RS. Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products. JAMA. 2004 Dec 15; 292(23):2868-73.
    View in: PubMed
  36. Saper RB, Eisenberg DM, Phillips RS. Common dietary supplements for weight loss. Am Fam Physician. 2004 Nov 1; 70(9):1731-8.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Lead poisoning associated with ayurvedic medications--five states, 2000-2003. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004 Jul 9; 53(26):582-4.
    View in: PubMed
  38. Saper RB, Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, Culpepper L, Phillips RS. Prevalence and patterns of adult yoga use in the United States: results of a national survey. Altern Ther Health Med. 2004 Mar-Apr; 10(2):44-9.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Eisenberg DM, Landsberg L, Allred EN, Saper RB, Delbanco TL. Inability to demonstrate physiologic correlates of subjective improvement among patients taught the relaxation response. J Gen Intern Med. 1991 Jan-Feb; 6(1):64-70.
    View in: PubMed
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