NCCAM awards planning grants for International Centers for Research

October 29, 2003

Bethesda, MD--Many complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices have evolved over thousands of years and from all corners of the world. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is funding new partnerships between U.S. and international research teams in a novel effort to study traditional medical approaches as they are practiced in other cultures. These partnerships have been given planning grants to create the infrastructure and scientific foundation for multidisciplinary research on CAM. The culmination of these planning efforts will be a competition for the NCCAM International Center for Research on CAM.

The goal of the Planning Grants for International Centers for Research on CAM (PICRC) is to establish global collaborations and cross-cultural exchange among foreign and U.S. institutions to design and implement research on CAM approaches that have emerged from traditional indigenous medical systems. These partnerships will allow investigators to conduct research in the unique environments in which the practices originated. It is anticipated that at least one of the planning grant recipients will successfully compete for the International Center for Research on CAM. All of the other grant recipients should be better poised by these planning awards to submit competitive applications for individual research projects.

"It is our hope that this initiative will encourage research in traditional medicine and result in research that benefits the health of citizens in many countries," said John Killen, Jr., M.D., Director of NCCAM's Office of International Health Research. "We know that 80 percent of the world's population uses plants to meet their primary health care needs, so research on indigenous practices can lead to significant advances in global health."

Two-year PICRC grants have been awarded to the following groups: The PICRC is one of three new NCCAM research center programs. They were implemented following the review of the NCCAM centers program by an expert panel in 2002. The panel reviewed the original CAM centers that were established shortly after creation of NCCAM in 1999. Based on the lessons learned from these first centers, and in response to the evolving opportunities and challenges in CAM research, the expert panel recommended a more diverse platform of approaches to support research centers and a sharpened focus on their pursuit of original science. In response to these recommendations, NCCAM designed the following three new programs to build its next generation of research centers: Announcements of awards for the latter two new programs will be made separately.

"These planning grants reflect a new vision for CAM research," said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. "This initiative affords a novel platform on which exciting research opportunities can now be pursued on a global level," he added.
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The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing 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 www.nccam.nih.gov.

NIH/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

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