Robert B. Saper, MD MPH

Professor, Family Medicine

Robert Saper


Dr. Saper is the Director of Integrative Medicine for the Boston Medical Center Department of Family Medicine and Professor in the Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine. 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. He is also funded by NIH to study yoga for back pain in veterans. Other major areas of research include the safety and efficacy of traditional Indian herbal medicines. Dr. Saper is the Past Chair of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health.


  • Harvard University, MD
  • Harvard School of Public Health, MPH
  • Brandeis University, BA


  • Published on 5/20/2022

    Patil SJ, Golzy M, Johnson A, Wang Y, Parker JC, Saper RB, Haire-Joshu D, Mehr DR, Foraker RE, Kruse RL. Individual-Level and Neighborhood-Level Factors Associated with Longitudinal Changes in Cardiometabolic Measures in Participants of a Clinic-Based Care Coordination Program: A Secondary Data Analysis. J Clin Med. 2022 May 20; 11(10). PMID: 35629024.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/18/2022

    Joyce CT, Chernofsky A, Lodi S, Sherman KJ, Saper RB, Roseen EJ. Do Physical Therapy and Yoga Improve Pain and Disability through Psychological Mechanisms? A Causal Mediation Analysis of Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2022 Jul; 52(7):470-483. PMID: 35584010.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/9/2022

    Beneciuk JM, George SZ, Patterson CG, Smith CN, Brennan GP, Wegener ST, Roseen EJ, Saper RB, Delitto A. Treatment effect modifiers for individuals with acute low back pain: secondary analysis of the TARGET trial. Pain. 2022 May 09. PMID: 35543647.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/20/2022

    Lin Y, Saper R, Patil SJ. Long COVID Shared Medical Appointments: Lifestyle and Mind-Body Medicine With Peer Support. Ann Fam Med. 2022 Jul-Aug; 20(4):383. PMID: 35443975.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/8/2022

    Marshall A, Joyce CT, Tseng B, Gerlovin H, Yeh GY, Sherman KJ, Saper RB, Roseen EJ. Changes in Pain Self-Efficacy, Coping Skills, and Fear-Avoidance Beliefs in a Randomized Controlled Trial of Yoga, Physical Therapy, and Education for Chronic Low Back Pain. Pain Med. 2022 Apr 08; 23(4):834-843. PMID: 34698869.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/27/2022

    Joyce C, Keysor J, Stevans J, Ready K, Roseen EJ, Saper RB. Beyond the pain: A qualitative study exploring the physical therapy experience in patients with chronic low back pain. Physiother Theory Pract. 2022 Jan 27; 1-11. PMID: 35086420.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/1/2021

    Standish KR, Gonzalez SC, Roy V, McGuire CM, Barnett KG, Saper RB. Resident Outcomes and Perspectives Over 2 Years of a New Scholarship Curriculum. Fam Med. 2021 Jun; 53(6):461-466. PMID: 34077966.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/19/2021

    Roseen EJ, Rajendran I, Stein P, Fredman L, Fink HA, LaValley MP, Saper RB. Association of Back Pain with Mortality: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cohort Studies. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 10; 36(10):3148-3158. PMID: 33876379.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/30/2021

    Delitto A, Patterson CG, Stevans JM, Freburger JK, Khoja SS, Schneider MJ, Greco CM, Freel JA, Sowa GA, Wasan AD, Brennan GP, Hunter SJ, Minick KI, Wegener ST, Ephraim PL, Beneciuk JM, George SZ, Saper RB. Stratified care to prevent chronic low back pain in high-risk patients: The TARGET trial. A multi-site pragmatic cluster randomized trial. EClinicalMedicine. 2021 Apr; 34:100795. PMID: 33870150.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/5/2021

    Joyce C, Roseen EJ, Keysor JJ, Gross KD, Culpepper L, Saper RB. Can Yoga or Physical Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain Improve Depression and Anxiety Among Adults From a Racially Diverse, Low-Income Community? A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 06; 102(6):1049-1058. PMID: 33556352.

    Read at: PubMed

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