When the CIM first opened its doors in 1991 at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, it was unique among programs at academic medical institutions in the United States. Dedicated to evaluating therapies and medical systems currently outside of the domain of Western mainstream medicine, the program was driven by a vision of the potential of complementary and alternative medicine approaches to transform and enrich current medical practice. The CIM got its start through the support of Sir Maurice Laing and the Laing Foundation who shared this vision and yet understood the need to support rigorous evaluation of this field. With a grant from the Laing Foundation and the support and openness of the University of Maryland, Dr. Brian Berman was able to pursue his dream of creating a novel program aimed at increasing the understanding of complementary and integrative medicine and evaluating its contribution to medicine and healthcare.
The program began as a project within the University of Maryland Pain Center, expanding it to a multidisciplinary clinic incorporating many complementary medicine approaches. With the burgeoning research and education aspects of the program, the project soon developed into its own division within the Department of Family Medicine and shortly thereafter attained full inter-departmental "Program" status within the School of Medicine, allowing for greater inter-disciplinary collaboration. Staying true to the mission of rigorous scientific evaluation of the field, faculty members have been increasingly successful at attracting National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for clinical and basic science studies. Ultimately, the center became one of the first Specialized Centers of complementary medicine research to be funded by the NIH, Office of Alternative Medicine in 1995, going on in 1999 to again be awarded Center status by the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Over a decade later, the work of the CIM extends from offering core curriculum courses and electives to the medical students and residents; taking care of patients in the multidisciplinary Center for Healing at one of the University of Maryland hospitals; conducting research, often in collaboration with colleagues in other academic institutions around the US and in Britain and China; and disseminating evidence-based information world-wide on complementary and integrative medicine. The education program not only focuses on clinicians and students but also on training the next generation of investigators through support of fellowships and junior faculty positions. In research, the CIM has largely focused on pain related conditions, exploring not only individual complementary medicine therapies for problems such as osteoarthritis, low back pain and acute pain, but also multidisciplinary approaches for complex pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia. The clinic is an important resource both for patients in the greater Baltimore area (and even further) but also for the research and education endeavors of the program. Our team of practitioners works together to develop models of care, teach a new approach to patient care and offer an opportunity for education and cross-fertilization of ideas across disciplines.
A team of over 35 staff and faculty members inspires and drives our work forward.