Who is Dr Victor Pedro and why is he receiving $1M in the 2020 RI State Budget?

Victor Pedro
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Update: 9:20AM:

I caught Dr Victor Pedro outside his office this morning:

Dr Victor Pedro has a practice on Park Avenue in Cranston, and seems to be the world’s only practitioner of an alternative form of medicine that he invented, called Cortical Integrative Therapy (CIT). In the recently unveiled 2020 budget, there is the following line on page 41:

127. Cortical Integrated Therapy Restore to Enacted. The House Finance Committee recommends restoring the $1.0 million from general revenues for cortical integrated therapy services which was eliminated in the Governor’s recommended budget.

So what is Cortical Integrated Therapy and who is Dr Victor Pedro?

Pedro graduated with a BS from the University of Vermont in 1981, moved on to Boston University to study dentistry, but ultimately became a chiropractor, graduating from the New York Chiropractic College in 1983. Around twenty years ago Pedro seems to have invented CIT, a new form of alternative medicine that seems to be available only at his Park Avenue practice. You can access his curriculum vitae here.

Pedro has made many campaign contributions, most notably to Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston), to the tune of around $2000 over the last several years. The Speaker’s law office is a two minute drive up Park Avenue from Pedro’s practice. The Rhode Island Chiropractic PAC Fund, to which Pedro is also a contributor, has also made around $2000 in donations to Mattiello’s campaign.

Pedro has benefited from the largess of the legislature in the past. A pilot program into CIT “was funded by a grant of $150,000 received from the Rhode Island Legislature for their 2004-2005 budgetary year. All of the funds received, less an administrative fee, were used to purchase capital equipment and materials that provided free treatment to ten children diagnosed with ADD/HD.” According to Pedro’s website, “We are grateful for this grant and believe that the results of this pilot program demonstrate that the confidence, commitment, and generosity of the Rhode Island Legislature were justified.”

In 2017 the United States Department of Health and Human Services turned down Pedro’s request to allow CIT to be covered under Medicaid. In their letter of denial, the Department wrote that:

“As proposed, the CIT treatment is broadly described, with very few parameters for cost or quality control for the specific array of services billed, the intensity of the services, the length of therapy, or clinical indications for each service. The state has not provided scientific evidence verifying the efficacy of CIT, nor any indication that CIT was subject to such evaluation.” [emphasis added]

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) does not pay out for “clinical interventions that have not demonstrated clinical safety and efficacy through standard clinical evaluation processes, and ideally through a rigorous randomized controlled trial,” continued Tigue. “These trials and similar demonstrations could more appropriately be covered through grants available from the National Institute of Health or other private and public funders of clinical research.” [emphasis added]

Melissa Jenkins PhD, a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Alpert Medical School at Brown University, was equally pessimistic about the scientific validity of CIT.

“This is not an evidence based treatment for brain injury or anything else. There are no peer reviewed studies whatsoever,” said Jenkins. “CMS previously reviewed a request to fund it and declined due to lack of adequate description or any data on effectiveness. The inventor has published a few abstracts associated with talks at meetings (one at a forum on “controversial topics.”) As far as I can see, he’s the only practitioner of this technique, so I am wondering exactly where this million dollars is going to end up. I find no detailed description of the technique published anywhere. It’s not taught to medical students, despite apparently being around (and legislatively funded) since 2004.”

A tight budget?

Speaker Nicholas Mattiello

The budget this year is very tight, said Speaker Mattiello at Tuesday’s 2020 Budget briefing.

“Not a lot of non-state agencies are getting funded today,” said Speaker Mattiello, discussing why the Nonviolence Institute lost its grant this year. “The community service grants were cut way back, and with limited resources and out year deficits you have to reassess so we’ll take a look but right now that $200,000 probably does not exist.”

Asked about an additional $200,000 for the State Department of Veterans Affairs, Mattiello said, “Great idea, wonderful need, just like the Nonviolence Institute, wonderful need, want to do that for the veterans, I don’t know that we have $200,000 right now.”

Other needs that the $1M to Dr Pedro might cover include:

  • 125 units permanent supportive housing initiative $500K
  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) expansion $200K
  • Lead prevention $200K
  • School meals $55K

This begs the question: How is the public’s money better spent? On unproven medical techniques invented by a Park Avenue chiropractor or on proven, effective programs that actually work in our communities?

This report only scratches the surface, and reflects the efforts of a group on Facebook doing research and trading links. (Thank you to everyone who assisted me in this research.) Given that the House vote on the budget begins Friday of this week, it seems vitally important to get this information out now, so that the public can evaluate this expenditure.

This report will be updated, or an additional piece written, when House Director of Communications Larry Berman gets back to me about this expenditure or other information becomes available.

[Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly identified the author of the United States Department of Health and Human Services letter.]

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About Steve Ahlquist 1052 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.atomicsteve@gmail.com


  1. Best be lawyering up , this ain’t over yet. Getting your funding revoked will be the least of your problems. Dear, Dr.(cough, cough) you should’ve saved some of that money to hire the team of lawyers you’ll be needing. Oh, wait….you have a team already. Let’s see what’s the name of that Law firm again? Hmmm…. let me look it up. “Slide It By the Voters P.A.” with head counsel Mr. Speaker. Yeah, that’s it. Well, no worries they will show you how to rename your business again so they can slip it by the voters again for a few more years for you, cause you know, it’s for “everyone’s” good that you get paid by the tax payers and other “Real” programs get eliminated.

  2. Dr. Pedro’s board certification as a Chiropractic Neurologist lapsed as of Dec 2018 according to the ACNB website (https://www.acnb.org/DoctorLocator.aspx). I completed a 2 yr post-doc in Neuropsychology @ McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and have never heard of his CIT therapy.

    • It is unfortunate to read such an article that clearly was written in haste to an impending budget vote in Rhode Island today. My son received CIT therapy by Dr. Pedro for debilitating headaches and light sensitivity that left him unable to function with every day life activities and attend school. After successful CIT treatment, my son was able to graduate from high school and is functioning today with no headaches and no light sensitivity. I am the daughter of an orthopedic surgeon and sister to an emergency room physician and knew of only traditional medicine. However, I crossed over the line to alternative medicine when we were desperate with our son to find him help from debilitating 10/10 pain he was living with for years. He sustained a terrible blow to his forehead in 6 th grade by a baseball thrown into his forehead. Two years later he suffered several more concussions that left him in debilitating pain. He missed close to three years of school from 6-12 grade. Nothing is worse than witnessing a child in debilitating pain and going to top physicians in Boston in neurology, concussion and sports medicine who were unable to help him. He struggled over eight years and we had hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills that thankfully were covered by our insurance however not one doctor had a plan to help get our son better. When we met Dr. Pedro the first day, he took the time to hear our story and met with us for hours. He told us he could help our son and devised a plan. He was the first doctor to give us hope. When you are in debilitating pain, there is no price tag for hope. Dr. Pedro worked with our son twice a day for weeks. We witnessed many patients in his office suffering from debilitating symptoms from the most complex neurological conditions and saw each get better one patient at a time. We saw a MS patient who was bedridden for years make her first steps again. We saw her last day with Dr. Pedro when she arrived in heels and was going out for lunch with friends for the first time in years. We watched her walk out of his office. We witnessed patient after patient with migraines that went to Dr. Pedro and within a few days had no headaches for the first time in years. We saw other traumatic brain patients who suffered similar debilitating symptoms like our son for years get better one patient at a time. These were patients that like us exhausted traditional medicine options and were willing to try alternative therapies to give them hope for a day without pain. Read the heartfelt testimonials by his patients who were debilitated by pain and are able to function today without pain. His therapy will help Rhode Island save millions of dollars as patients can function again in weeks versus years of going to traditional medicine physicians and unable to find help with their plan. For some of these patients traditional medicine would never work and would drain your budget millions of dollars. Dr Pedro is doing cutting edge therapy that no other doctor is doing. He has worked under the care of a top critical care doctor in Massachusetts helping patients with the most complex neurological conditions get better where traditional medicine failed them. Everyone should be thankful for his work as he has saved the Rhode Island Medicaid budget millions by helping patient after patient with complex neurological conditions like RSD, traumatic brain injury, MS, movement disorders, and seizure patients and free them from their pain and get them functioning again. He is the only chiropractor that I know who has letters of endorsements from top MD doctors who praise him for helping their patients that they had no idea how to help with traditional medicine. Read about Paula Abdul’s struggle with RSD and his other patients testimonials before you are so quick to offer a response to this article.

  3. Dr. Pedro has helped my son with a chronic pain condition where no other doctor ever helped him. We utilize his chiropractic services and are not familiar with the other aspects of his practice but as a physician, he has been nothing but honest and kind with us.

  4. It seems the validity of cognitive integrative therapy hasn’t been established to the satisfaction of third-party payers — private insurance or medicaid. But the veracity or efficacy of CIT is not the point.

    EVEN IF CIT can be beneficial–
    EVEN IF CIT has a scientific basis– and
    EVEN IF there were no campaign contributions that cloud the issue:

    It is still improper for the general assembly to funnel $1,000,000 of taxpayer money to fund one doctor providing services not covered by either private insurance or medicaid.

  5. Screw this unheard of nobody give the money to the veterans the other proven places that it needs to be not this monkey

  6. This is really interesting since the budget also CUTS $1 million from the higher education agency, you know, for “efficiency.” The agency is essentially getting cut in half, resulting in deep lay-offs. I’m sure that those employees will be soothed to see what their lay-offs have bought.


  7. Key point – no peer review studies after all these years. No state funds should be used to fund this program any further

  8. There are many facets to this issue. Regarding Dr Pedro, our daughter was helped tremendously by Dr Pedro, his practice did what speech therapy was never going to be able to do.

  9. Contact the members of the House Fiance Committee and let them know this is not acceptable. Their email addresses are available on line! I agree there are better ways to use this money!

    • Ironically, this article came up on my Google front page. After reading it, I understand why. My comments are not about the effecacy of CIT, Chiropractic, or Victor Pedro. I am not qualified to intelligently speak to the topic due to lack of knowledge. What does shock me is the use of Brown University, Medicare, and Medicaid quotes, and strawman arguements of other better uses for the money. Regarding ADHD, the fact is that we are drugging our children into becoming zombies. Simple fact checking and investigation will show your audience that the pharma companies/medical institutions continue to push for a higher percentage of children to be on ADD meds! We are bombarded by a propaganda medical system that is getting rich by treating symptoms and rarely finding cures. And a medical insurance scheme that continues to shut alternative treatment out from being appropriately covered on a variety of health issues. What concerns me is the knee jerk reaction in the commenting section of this article. It may very well be about a corrupt scheme of contributions for grants, but I think that people need to look deeper into the bigger picture.

  10. I have first-hand experience with Dr. Pedro‘s practice and find this article quite informative and important. Our legislators need to take a critical look at funding this program for the very important reasons described in this article.

  11. This is a disgusting waste of money.Show me the data that this CIT even works? He is a snake oil salesman and this STINKS to high heaven. Business as usual in RI. This money could be better spent on other interventions that have proven research and data behind it. Eg. : CBT, ABA, Floor Time, etc. BS from UVM, indeed! I call BS on this.

    • This doctor did NOTHING for my son. My son was diagnosed with ADHD and as parents we didn’t want to go the adderall route. Total waste of time and money. I’m surprised he is even practicing! He did chiropractic on my son’s back who never had a problem until he went to him. He preys on parents who what to do the best for their children.

      • I’m a formeremployee and i know first hand how he preys on families and much more. Sorry your family was effected by this egomaniac

  12. I’m not surprised that Mattiello is lining the pockets of his donors. However this is unacceptable. Worthy causes did not get funded because this crap did. Shame on everyone involved in its passage.

  13. Why is this even going on with out a vote ,we the people demand this to be refunded back into the budget and allocated to more needed places

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