“Healing and Placebo: Medicine, Religion and Ritual”. Keynote address by Tanya Luhrmann

The RWJF-funded Placebo Seminar Series continued on February 11, 2014 with an address by Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department. Discussants were:  Arthur Kleinman (Anthropology, Psychiatry), Anne Harrington (History of Science), and Ted Kaptchuk (Medicine).  View the lecture and discussion in full here.

Watch “Placebo Effects in Guidelines, Practice & Patient Choice: A Forum” held 12/9/13

If you were not able to attend or tune in to our December 9th forum on placebo effects in the clinic, we’re happy to announce you can watch it now.

View the webcast here.

You can also join the conversation online by following the Twitter hashtag #placebotalks.


• Michael J. Barry, MD, President, Informed Medical Decisions Foundation
• Josephine P. Briggs, MD, Director, NCCAM, National Institutes of Health
• Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, University of Washington
• Russell S. Phillips, MD, Director, HMS Center for Primary Care
• Harold C. Sox, MD, Associate Director, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice

Watch “The Potential of Placebo” a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation promise story

“The placebo effect is people getting better without any active ingredients.” Harvard Medical School’s Ted Kaptchuk, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantee, cuts across clinical specialties through robust research and specialized technologies, to understand and institutionalize one of the most exciting, and controversial ideas in modern medicine.

Watch the video here.

Watch the ‘Science of Placebo’ talks from June 19 & 20, 2013

Four renowned experts in the field of placebo studies convened at Harvard to share their findings with the medical community.  View the talks and download bios, slides and other documents:

June 19th:  Fabrizio Benedetti (Turin) and Tor Wager (Colorado)

June 20th:  Predrag Petrovic (Karolinska) and Ted Kaptchuk (Harvard)

A very short ‘highlights’ video.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gives grant to support Placebo Studies

PiPS has been awarded $250,000 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The funds will be used to create a high-impact seminar series that examines the potential of placebo studies to contribute to the transformation of health care. Over a period of approximately 18 months starting in June, 2013, a series of symposia will be held that bring together representatives from relevant disciplines including clinical specialties, neuroscience, health policy, anthropology, sociology, bioethics, and the history of medicine. The symposia will be structured to encourage an in-depth conversation that broadens the discourse about how the phenomenon known as placebo response can be utilized to enhance the provider-patient relationship, improve patient outcomes, reduce morbidity, and help control health care costs. Incentives will be offered that encourage participants to engage in collaborations. Certain events will be open to the public as well as the medical community. Register as a member to learn more about these and other events. Or call 617-945-7827 for more information.

Pursuing the Placebo Effect

In February 2012, PiPS Director Ted Kaptchuk and PiPS Senior Faculty Arthur Barsky presented at Talks@Twelve, a quarterly lecture given to the Harvard Medical School community. We just received the a link to the video filmed by the Harvard Medical School Communications Office. To watch, click here.

Photo by Angela Alberti