1 hr 11 min

Stress: The Elephant in the Room with Dr. George Slavich PH 290 Pursuing Health

    • Health & Fitness

Dr. George Slavich is a leading expert in the conceptualization, assessment, and management of life stress and it's relationship to poor health. He is the founding Director of the Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research at UCLA whose goal is "to advance the science of stress and health to help prevent disease and improve human health and resilience worldwide."
Since beginning his career as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Slavich has been researching the relationship between stress and health for over 20 years.  His area of focus is psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the effect of the mind on health and resistance to disease. By integrating tools from psychology, neuroscience, immunology, biology, genetics, and genomics, Dr. Slavich’s research has provided new insights into the inflammatory response to social stress and helped to pioneer a new field of research called human social genomics. He has also developed the first online system for measuring lifetime stress exposure called the Stress and Adversity Inventory (STRAIN), and proposed a new theory called the Social Safety Theory, which hypothesizes that developing and maintaining friendly social bonds is a fundamental organizing principle of human behavior and that threats to social safety are a critical feature of psychological stressors that increase risk for disease.
Dr. Slavich completed undergraduate and graduate coursework in psychology and communication at Stanford University, and received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. After graduate school, he was a clinical psychology intern at McLean Hospital in Boston and a clinical fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He subsequently completed three years of NIMH-supported postdoctoral training in psychoneuroimmunology at UCSF and UCLA. He is presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, a Research Scientist at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and the Founding Director of the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research. His research has been covered by many media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Scientific American, TIME Magazine, HBO, NPR, U.S. News & World Report, and others.
In this episode, we talk about the science behind how stress impacts our body down to the level of gene expression and immune system activation, what type of stressors seem to have the biggest impact on our health, some of the things we can do to mitigate the negative impact of stress, and how measuring stress may improve our ability to address it on a large scale. We also talked about how Dr. Slavich's work provides insight into the current coronavirus pandemic including the impact of stress on chronic systemic inflammation, why we should be practicing physical distancing instead of social distancing, and how best to communicate with others during this time to preserve the protective effects of social bonds on our health.
Bio adapted from uclastresslab.org
You can connect with Dr. Slavich via Instagram. @uclastresslab
Related episodes:
Ep 105 - Sleep, Stress and Brain Health with Dr. Nate Bergman
Ep 135 - Immune System Strength with Dr. Leonard Calabrese
If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating or share your feedback on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health.
Disclaimer: This podcast is for general information only, and does not provide medical advice.  I recommend that you seek assistance from your personal physician for any health conditions or concerns.

Dr. George Slavich is a leading expert in the conceptualization, assessment, and management of life stress and it's relationship to poor health. He is the founding Director of the Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research at UCLA whose goal is "to advance the science of stress and health to help prevent disease and improve human health and resilience worldwide."
Since beginning his career as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Slavich has been researching the relationship between stress and health for over 20 years.  His area of focus is psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the effect of the mind on health and resistance to disease. By integrating tools from psychology, neuroscience, immunology, biology, genetics, and genomics, Dr. Slavich’s research has provided new insights into the inflammatory response to social stress and helped to pioneer a new field of research called human social genomics. He has also developed the first online system for measuring lifetime stress exposure called the Stress and Adversity Inventory (STRAIN), and proposed a new theory called the Social Safety Theory, which hypothesizes that developing and maintaining friendly social bonds is a fundamental organizing principle of human behavior and that threats to social safety are a critical feature of psychological stressors that increase risk for disease.
Dr. Slavich completed undergraduate and graduate coursework in psychology and communication at Stanford University, and received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. After graduate school, he was a clinical psychology intern at McLean Hospital in Boston and a clinical fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He subsequently completed three years of NIMH-supported postdoctoral training in psychoneuroimmunology at UCSF and UCLA. He is presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, a Research Scientist at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and the Founding Director of the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research. His research has been covered by many media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Scientific American, TIME Magazine, HBO, NPR, U.S. News & World Report, and others.
In this episode, we talk about the science behind how stress impacts our body down to the level of gene expression and immune system activation, what type of stressors seem to have the biggest impact on our health, some of the things we can do to mitigate the negative impact of stress, and how measuring stress may improve our ability to address it on a large scale. We also talked about how Dr. Slavich's work provides insight into the current coronavirus pandemic including the impact of stress on chronic systemic inflammation, why we should be practicing physical distancing instead of social distancing, and how best to communicate with others during this time to preserve the protective effects of social bonds on our health.
Bio adapted from uclastresslab.org
You can connect with Dr. Slavich via Instagram. @uclastresslab
Related episodes:
Ep 105 - Sleep, Stress and Brain Health with Dr. Nate Bergman
Ep 135 - Immune System Strength with Dr. Leonard Calabrese
If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating or share your feedback on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health.
Disclaimer: This podcast is for general information only, and does not provide medical advice.  I recommend that you seek assistance from your personal physician for any health conditions or concerns.

1 hr 11 min

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