Sara Sagui-Henson, PhD

Sara Sagui-Henson
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

Areas of Interest

  • Physiological stress reactivity,  perceived stress reactivity 
  • Emotion regulation, mindfulness-based interventions, behavioral health, psychophysiology methods, cardiometabolic health
  • Type 2 diabetes, obesity,  autonomic nervous system activity, heart rate variability, mindful breathing, stress-induced eating, integrative nutrition

Experience and Current Work

Dr. Sara Sagui-Henson’s program of research combines psychological theories of stress appraisals and reactions with models of emotion-focused coping to investigate how individuals can mitigate biobehavioral risks for chronic illness. Her doctoral work focused on elucidating the mechanisms through which stress reactivity and emotion-regulation ability have an impact cardiometabolic health. 

Her research examines stress and emotional coping in college students and community samples of adolescents, adults, and parents of school-age children. She uses behavioral, psychophysiological, and survey methodologies to investigate the impact of these processes on cardiometabolic health outcomes such as autonomic nervous system activity, lipid profiles, abdominal adiposity, physical activity, sleep quality, and diet. 

As a TRIM postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Sagui-Henson is collaborating with Dr. Ashely Mason and Dr. Rick Hecht to develop novel interventions that incorporate contemplative practices to improve stress responding, emotion regulation ability, and cardiometabolic health. She is particularly interested in studying how individuals regulate the emotions surrounding stress-induced eating and the application of mindfulness-based interventions to improve this regulation and subsequent cardiometabolic health outcomes. Dr. Sagui-Henson is also interested in the mediating role of psychological and biological stress responsivity in the relation between mindfulness-based eating programs and obesity-related physiological outcomes. 

The principle goal of her research is to help transform our approach to healthcare from a reactive one to an approach that emphasizes prevention and patient-centered care. 

Education and Training

  • PhD, Health Psychology, University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • MS, Psychology, University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • BS, Psychology, California State University Long Beach
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