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Institute Leadership

Benjamin Kligler

Benjamin Kligler, MD
Director, Center Institute for Research and Education in Integrative Healthcare

Dr. Benjamin Kligler is Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Research Director of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Department of Integrative Medicine. He is past Chair of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Healthcare.

Dr. Kligler was the founding medical director of the Center for Health and Healing, an integrative medicine practice which opened in May 2000. In addition, Dr. Kligler is Co-director of the Beth Israel Fellowship Program in Integrative Medicine, which accepted its first fellows for training in January 2002, and teaches in the Beth Israel Residency Program in Urban Family Practice. Dr. Kligler is author of Curriculum in Complementary Therapies: A Guide for the Medical Educator and co-editor of Integrative Medicine: Principles for Practice, a textbook published by McGraw-Hill in 2004. He is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

Dr. Kligler completed a five-year Academic Career Development Award from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at NIH in 2015 and is currently co-Principal Investigator of a PCORI-funded trial comparing individual and group acupuncture for chronic pain. He is also Chair of the BraveNet practice-based research network. Dr. Kligler recently began a position as the National Director of the Integrative Health Coordinating Center for the Veterans Health Administration.

Marsha Handel

Marsha J. Handel, MLS
Director, Informatics and Online Education
Department of Integrative Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Ms. Handel has been a medical librarian at Beth Israel for over twenty years, with a focus on Integrative Healthcare. She specializes in the development of multimedia interactive consumer education websites on integrative approaches to health as well as research for medical professionals supporting clinical practice, medical research and education, grant-writing and journal and book publication. She has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on search techniques, resources and informatics issues in the field of Integrative Healthcare.

With Dr. Merrell, Ms. Handel developed the Center for Health and Healing’s 900+ page, evidence-based educational web site She has since collaborated on many health web sites, including the Addiction Recovery Guide (, Healing Chronic Pain (, and Healing Depression ( and has produced grant-funded websites including an online continuing medical education course on the Integrative Approaches to IBS, and

In 2006 Ms. Handel received a 2 1/2 year NIH grant to develop a multimedia patient education web site on New Approaches to Chronic Diseases: Heart Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Pain ( and in 2008 completed an online self-management module for people with diabetes for the Department of Endocrinology at Beth Israel, currently being used as part of a research study on extending the benefits of diabetes education via the Internet.

Ms. Handel has taught professional-level residency and fellowship classes on search techniques and resources in the field. She developed the Integrative Medicine Informatics course for the Arizona Center Fellowship in Integrative Medicine and is a member and research collaborator of NorphCAM, the first international collaborative network dedicated to advancing public health and health services research in traditional and complementary integrative healthcare.

Arya Nielsen

Arya Nielsen, PhD
Assistant Clinical Professor
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Director, Acupuncture Fellowship Program
Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Dr. Arya Nielsen has a research Doctorate in Philosophies of Medicine with specialization in Integrative Clinical Science and Health Care. She is US board certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine and is a past chair of the New York State Board for Acupuncture. She teaches in the US and Europe with a focus in classical Chinese practice and integrative medicine. She is considered the Western authority on the traditional East Asian technique Gua sha.

Dr. Nielsen has been in practice for over 40 years. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She developed and directs the Acupuncture Fellowship for Inpatient Care at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, a post graduate opportunity where licensed acupuncturists round with physicians and treat patients in the Departments of General Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Oncology, and Pain and Palliative Care. Her research includes both the physiology and therapeutic effect of Gua sha and ?acupuncture therapies? for acute and chronic pain, acute care and inpatient setting.

She is also Vice Chair of the Policy Working Group for the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health (

Dr. Nielsen is the author of Gua sha: a Traditional Technique for Modern Practice (Churchill Livingston/Elsevier; trans. German and French) which was revised in 2012 to include Chinese and English database research related to Gua sha as well as Gua sha, Step-by-Step, a Teaching DVD ( Dr. Nielsen has also developed the Gua sha Certification Course.

She can be contacted by email: or through

Mary Beth Augustine

Mary Beth Augustine, RDN, CDN
Senior Integrative Nutritionist
Department of Integrative Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Mary Beth Augustine is an integrative nutrition expert practicing since 1995 and Senior Integrative Nutritionist at the Center for Health & Healing (CHH) since 2000. In addition to her work at the Center, in June 2014 Ms. Augustine accepted an appointment as Director of the Masters degree program in Integrative and Functional Nutrition at Saybrook University which provides advanced science-based training in clinical and therapeutic nutrition.

Ms. Augustine has directed the CHH Integrative Nutrition Intern & Observership Program since 2003, accepting by application interns from ACEND-accredited nutrition and dietetics programs including Teachers College Columbia University, New York University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, Eastern Michigan University, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and Viterbo University, and observers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control, and Stamford Hospital Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness. Ms. Augustine develops and serves as Program Chair for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) activities offered at CHH.

Ms. Augustine is a certified Item Writer for the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and writes test items for the Registered Dietitian and (CPE) activities.

Ms. Augustine is the recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Practice Award from Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine (DIFM), a dietetic practice group (DPG) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She serves as the 2013-2014 Chair-Elect for DIFM DPG, and is the primary contact and one of six Content Developers for the Online Certificate of Training Program in Integrative and Functional Medicine approved by

Elidania Perez

Elidania Perez, MS
Research Coordinator
Department of Integrative Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Center for Health and Healing

Elidania Perez is the Research and Program Coordinator for the Department of Integrative Medicine's Center of Health and Healing at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. In this role she works to help expand access to integrative services in the hospital and medical setting. She is interested in research that expands integrative methods in conventional medicine and reaches out to underserved populations.

Elidania holds a Master's in Medical Microbiology from Long Island University and Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is interested in using her background in basic science and infectious disease to increase awareness of research using multiple treatment methodologies. She is excited in working with healthcare professionals and patients in different areas to increase the diverse perspectives in the healthcare environment.
Phone number : 212-844-5023

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