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Mindfulness in Motion

August 21, 2017

The impact of chronic stress on a patient’s health, relationships, and overall well-being can be detrimental to recovery. A researcher at OSU is working to bring awareness to this problem.

Since 2004, Maryanna Klatt, PhD, has worked with high-stress groups to develop mindful health strategies to combat stress. Dr. Klatt uses her program “Mindfulness in Motion” to research the mind-body connection of focus groups that are particularly susceptible to stress, including health-care professionals, college students, cancer patients, and primary caregivers.

We sat down with Dr. Klatt to learn more about her program and its effect on participants:

What is Mindfulness in Motion?

Mindfulness in Motion is an eight-week program for people to learn stress reduction and resiliency building. People today are burned out, overstressed, and don’t know what to do with it. So, this gives them some strategies to try out. The program has shown to have positive benefits on its participants through a combination of gentle yoga moves and mindfulness concepts like awareness of what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

To date, we’ve welcomed over 600 participants into our program.


Maryanna Klatt, PhD

How long has the program been in action?

The first Mindfulness in Motion pilot was in 2004, with Dr. Bill Malarkey as PI. After receiving a R21 exploratory grant from the National Institutes of Health, we welcomed 180 faculty and staff into a randomized, controlled trial. The next trial was funded by OSU’s STAR (Stress Trauma and Resilience) Program with surgical intensive care personnel, and it has expanded from there. This fall we are using the program with medical residents and other inner-professional health team members.

Most recently Mindfulness in Motion was practiced in the Ross Heart Hospital within a professional group on a unit to see how it could help to increase quality and decrease safety events – while also increasing patient-centered care. The idea is that when health care professionals are more relaxed and focused, less mistakes will happen, and patient care can be improved.

How did the Center for Clinical and Translational Science assist you?

In 2016, the CCTS provided resources and funding for our Ross study. We utilized REDCap to monitor and track participant’s pre-and-post assessments. We then followed-up with a six-month sustainability assessment to see if the positive results were sustained. By intervention end, subscale depersonalization scores (Maslach Burnout Inventory) decreased by 57%, while controls increased by 106% when compared to baseline. Stress (measured by the Perceived Stress Scale) also significantly decreased in the intervention group to 80% of baseline, while control’s stress increased to 107% compared to baseline.

The study was also a 2016 CCTS Patient Safety Advancement Award, which is a program dedicated to supporting research by developing grass roots involvement in advancing patient safety, improve patient outcomes and/or preventing patient harm.

We also saw a definite increase in self-compassion, which was interesting. I think when people become more mindful, they become more compassionate towards themselves. Instead of beating one’s self up, you have more kindness for yourself and your situation. Mindfulness stops rumination in our minds – the tapes we play in our heads. And it helps us to become more aware of the unconscious things that we keep saying.

What are your future plans for Mindfulness in Motion?

This month we are working with the Graduate Medical Education office in two eight-week sessions with 30 residents. This is unique, because it will involve an inner-professional group of residents from a variety of focuses (surgery, psychiatry, etc.) to work on dealing with stress during residency, which provide them with mindful stress management that they can utilize now, and later in their careers.

In September, we are kicking off our successful “James Care for Life” program which features bi-annual, eight-week sessions dedicated to survivors and their caregivers. In previous studies with the OSU James Cancer Center population using Mindfulness in Motion we’ve seen increases in resiliency, decreases in stress, and better sleep quality for both the survivor and caregiver.

In the future, we want to look at some different units in the hospital to see if we can make a difference in the team work and safety and quality of a unit. We’re hoping this will show that we can move the needle on patient quality and hospital safety by increasing the mindfulness of the health care professional.

To learn more about a future Mindfulness in Motion program or to see how you can increase your daily mindfulness, please visit http://mindfulnessinmotion.osu.edu/


Maryanna Klatt, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the College of Medicine at Ohio State University, teaching undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, and Medical Residents. The focus of her teaching, research and practice is Integrative Medicine, which is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by scientific evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches to achieve optimal health and healing. She created an interdisciplinary minor at OSU, Integrative Approaches to Health and Wellness. Her students are the health care providers of tomorrow and she is energized by their commitment to understanding the whole person of the patient. Teaching has been a source of joy in her life.

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