Research - Overview
The Center for Integrative Medicine is involved in a broad range of research activities aimed at creating a full spectrum of knowledge about the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). We are also looking at models of integrative care that combine CAM with mainstream medical approaches. Since 1995 we have been a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine with a particular focus on arthritis and related disorders, as well as chronic and acute pain-related conditions. In 2005 we successfully re-competed for a five year center grant that is building on our previous track record of research on traditional Chinese medicine for arthritis. In addition, we were awarded a five year NIH international grant to build on our collaborations with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, focusing on traditional Chinese medicine for functional bowel disorders.
Our overall research agenda covers the continuum from bench to bedside including:
basic science investigations of the mechanism of action of complementary therapies,
clinical trials of the efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of complementary therapies using randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, and outcome study designs,
outcomes research involving the collection of data from a non-randomized clinic population to assess efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of particular treatment approaches or combinations of treatment approaches in a real-life situation. Data gleaned from outcomes research is critical for eventual integration of CAM therapies,
surveys of the attitudes and clinical behaviors of various health care professionals towards CAM, all of which have significant implications for consumer healthcare options,
systematic reviews of the literature which evaluate the existing scientific evidence for CAM, thereby providing clinicians and consumers with the highest level of evidence on safety and efficacy of specific therapies for different conditions, and providing investigators with information that will assist in the planning of future research.