The National Center
for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and 16 Federal
co-sponsors announce the launch of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) study of
the scientific and policy implications of the use of complementary and
alternative medicine (CAM) by the American public.
The $1 million, nearly 2-year study, will be conducted by the IOM, a
component of the National Academies.
The National Academies is a private, nonprofit, non-governmental
institution created by a congressional charter to be an advisory body for
the nation on scientific and technological matters. The IOM draws upon
volunteer panels of experts to examine policy matters regarding the
public's health. NCCAM, the primary sponsor of the study, is the Federal
Government's lead agency for scientific research on CAM.
The IOM will assemble a panel of
approximately 16 experts from a broad range of CAM
and conventional disciplines, such as behavioral medicine, internal
medicine, nursing, epidemiology, pharmacology, health care research and
administration, and education. During the course of the study, the IOM
panel will assess research findings, hold workshops, and invite speakers to
address the panel, among other activities, in order to:
- Provide a comprehensive overview of the
use of CAM therapies by the American public;
- Identify significant scientific and policy
issues related to CAM research, regulation, integration,
training, and certification; and
- Develop a conceptual framework to help
guide decisionmaking on these issues and questions.
The value of undertaking this study emerged from discussions among members
of the Trans-Agency CAM Coordinating Committee, chaired by Stephen E.
Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. The Committee felt that the IOM had the
expertise to critically consider questions of CAM
research and policy.
"Americans use CAM therapies in record numbers,"
said Dr. Straus. "The IOM's report will give us a clearer
understanding of the scope of CAM use by Americans,
as well as CAM's public health impact,
and scientific and policy issues that will better inform our research
The IOM study, led by Senior Program
Officer Lyla M. Hernandez, MPH, of the Board on Health Promotion and
Disease Prevention, will not conduct new surveys of the public regarding CAM
use. Rather, the IOM panel will gather and analyze existing data. In
addition, the IOM study, which will recruit panel members after October 1,
plans to address many key questions, such as:
- What are the methodological difficulties
in evaluating some CAM therapies?
- How are the different CAM professions regulated in
the United States?
- What is the current situation for coverage
of CAM by insurers and other
- What are the policy and regulatory issues
regarding licensing and certifying CAM practitioners?
The answers to these questions and the information generated by the IOM
panel of leading scholars drawn from both conventional medicine and CAM,
and from education, should serve to complement the recommendations of the
White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy
released earlier this year.
The agencies that are co-sponsoring the IOM
Agency for Health Care Research and Quality
John E. Fogarty International Center
National Cancer Institute
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Center for Research Resources
National Institute on Aging
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institute of Mental Health
National Library of Medicine
NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.
The National Center
for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is dedicated to
exploring complementary and alternative medical (CAM)
practices in the context of rigorous science, training CAM
researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and
professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll
free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov.
For information on the National Academies, visit www.nationalacademies.org. For
information on the Institute of Medicine,
visit www.iom.edu. Note to Reporters: for
additional information about the study, the IOM, or the National
Academies, call Christine
Stencel, media officer, at 202-334-2138.