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 6/1/2023

    Roseen EJ, Smith CN, Essien UR, Cozier YC, Joyce C, Morone NE, Phillips RS, Gergen Barnett K, Patterson CG, Wegener ST, Brennan GP, Delitto A, Saper RB, Beneciuk JM, Stevans JM. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Incidence of High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Primary Care Patients with Acute Low Back Pain: A Cohort Study. Pain Med. 2023 Jun 01; 24(6):633-643. PMID: 36534910.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/17/2023

    Gallego-Pérez DF, Declercq E, Saper RB, Barnes LL, Wardle J. Characterizing Therapeutic Pluralism Policies in Latin America: A Qualitative Content Analysis. J Integr Complement Med. 2023; 29(6-7):439-450. PMID: 37200459.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/17/2023

    Roseen EJ, Pinheiro A, Lemaster CM, Plumb D, Wang S, Elwy AR, Streeter CC, Lynch S, Groessl E, Sherman KJ, Weinberg J, Saper RB. Yoga Versus Education for Veterans with Chronic Low Back Pain: a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Gen Intern Med. 2023 Jul; 38(9):2113-2122. PMID: 36650329.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2022

    Hore P, Alex-Oni K, Sedlar S, Patel K, Saper RB. Health Remedies as a Source of Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic Exposure, New York City, 2010-2019. Am J Public Health. 2022 Sep; 112(S7):S730-S740. PMID: 36179284.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2022

    Joyce C, Kelly KC, Gurnani S, Sherman KJ, Roseen EJ, Saper RB. "In Class We Were All One." A Qualitative Exploration of Yoga and Educational Interventions for Predominantly Low-Income and Minority Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain. J Integr Complement Med. 2022 Nov; 28(11):870-877. PMID: 35914101.

    Read at: PubMed
  • 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. 2023 01 01; 164(1):171-179. 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

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