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National Center for Complementary
and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 30, 2004


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Celebrating 5 Years, NCCAM Invites Input for Strategic Planning

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), celebrated its 5th anniversary today by launching its second 5-year strategic planning effort. The announcement, made at NCCAM's National Advisory Council meeting, marks the start of a year-long planning effort involving the public, researchers, health care professionals, NCCAM staff, and others with an interest in research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

"Today NCCAM celebrates 5 years of accomplishments. Our research portfolio includes over 300 projects ranging from basic inquiries using powerful brain imaging techniques to understand how acupuncture works to the largest ever placebo-controlled clinical trials of popular dietary supplements like glucosamine for degenerative arthritis and ginkgo biloba for dementia," said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. "Most importantly, a body of data is emerging from NCCAM's investments in research that is informing public policy and helping guide practices."

Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., NIH Director, praised NCCAM for "five years of stellar work and for aggressively mapping the future of the field through their strategic planning efforts."

NCCAM's mission, to explore CAM in the context of rigorous science, train researchers, and disseminate information, has been guided to date by the Center's first strategic plan, Expanding Horizons of Healthcare. While the original plan's goals helped create a foundation for rigorous CAM research and will serve as the basis for NCCAM's second plan, NCCAM now seeks guidance in identifying areas in which its investments can have the greatest impact. Interested stakeholders may:

    Attend or speak at a Strategic Planning Stakeholder Forum. NCCAM will host two forums to give the public an opportunity to voice opinions regarding future directions for research, training, outreach, and integration in CAM. The forums will be held March 22 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and April 19 in Seattle, Washington. To learn more or to register to attend or speak, visit nccam.nih.gov/about/plans/2005/.

    Submit written testimony about NCCAM's future directions at nccam.nih.gov/about/plans/2005/.

    Comment on the draft strategic plan, which will be posted on the NCCAM Web site in the Fall.

"Maintaining an open and objective approach to CAM research and disseminating those research results to our stakeholders continue to be our primary goals," said Straus. "We are particularly interested in hearing our stakeholders' views regarding future directions for CAM research to aid us in making the most effective use of the resources that Americans have entrusted to us."

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 NCCAM's Web site at nccam.nih.gov.


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