Our Priorities & Mission


Our foremost priority is to improve the quality and value of patient care. With this goal, PiPS targets illnesses that remain clinical challenges for medicine, such as chronic pain, functional digestive disorders, asthma, mood disorders, and insomnia. Just as importantly, PiPS also seeks to improve symptom management and quality of life for patients with such problems as cancer, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease.

By creating space for interdisciplinary insights that may be overlooked by an exclusive emphasis on mechanical pathophysiology and¬†elucidating how various elements of the therapeutic encounter modify patients’ experiences of illness and wellness, PiPS aspires to develop new ways to evaluate, interpret and establish clinical protocols that promote healing across many illness categories.


The Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter enables researchers, clinicians, scholars, and students to examine the biological basis of the placebo response and the implications of medical ritual, the patient-provider relationship, cultural context, and the power of imagination, trust and hope in the healing process. Through interdisciplinary endeavors to elucidate, quantify, and optimize the “non-specific” dimensions of health care, PiPS seeks to promote patient-centered approaches that improve the effectiveness of clinical care and the efficiency of pharmaceutical development.


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