NIH News Release
National Center for Complementary
and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Thursday, September 30, 1999
Press Contact: Anita Greene, NCCAM
(301) 496-1712

NIH Awards Grants to Five Specialized Research Centers

Bethesda, MD The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded five Specialized Center Research Grants to further complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research in the following areas: aging, arthritis, craniofacial disorders, neurological disorders, women's health, and cardiovascular disease in African Americans.

To foster and encourage high quality and rigorous research on CAM therapies, a request for applications was released on September 24, 1998 the NCCAM, in cooperation with six NIH Institutes and Centers invited researchers to submit grant applications through the P50 mechanism to establish specialized Centers for CAM Research. The P50 grant mechanism supports a full range of research and development from basic to clinical and intervention studies.

Following scientific peer review and council approval of grant applications, the following five institutions were awarded grants, each totaling approximately $7.5 million, to be distributed incrementally over a five year period.

Research Centers Speciality Area Principal Investigators
Center for CAM Research in Aging
Columbia University College of Physicians &
Surgeons, New York, NY
Aging & Women's Health
Fredi Kronenberg, Ph.D.
Center for Alternative Medicine Research on Arthritis
University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Brian M. Berman, M.D.
Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Center
for Health Research, Portland, OR
Craniofacial Disorders
B. Alexander White, DDS, Dr.PH.
Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine in Neurological Disorders
Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR
Neurological Disorders
Barry S. Oken, M.D.
Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention
Maharishi University of Management
College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine, Fairfield, IA
Cardiovascular Disease
& Aging in African Americans

Robert H. Schneider, M.D.

"These Specialized Centers of Research will assemble critical masses of basic and clinical scientists to work together collaboratively with institutions to conduct clinical studies into complementary and alternative (CAM) approaches for a variety of health conditions," said Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H., acting director of the NCCAM's division of extramural research, training and review. "They will also encourage alternative medicine practitioners and research scientists to conduct relevant joint research projects," Dr. Nahin concluded.

The principal characteristics of a P50 Center include: (1) a strong, focused scientific program encompassing basic and clinical research that will have a clear impact on human disease and associated quality of life or disability issues; (2) a strong, innovative program to establish and monitor developmental and feasibility studies that can respond quickly to new research opportunities; (3) a strong career development program to develop and expand the scientific cadre of investigators dedicated to research on a specific disease entity or biomedical problem; (4) shared core facilities that increase the functional capacity of the Center; and (5) a willingness and commitment to work with other Centers and scientists in order to maximize research progress.

The first year goals for each Center include the development of an organizational structure and operating plan. The second and third years will focus on the execution and evaluation of programmatic objectives. Each Center will support a broad range of basic, clinical and intervention studies in CAM research and development, as well as evaluate research opportunities in their speciality area, and developing a prioritized research agenda. It is expected that research conducted at these Centers will examine the potential efficacy, safety, and validity of CAM practices, as well as the physiological or psychological mechanisms underlying these practices.

The addition of these five new Centers brings the total number of clinical research centers supported by the NCCAM to nine. Research findings derived from these studies will be published in the scientific literature and disseminated to the public.

The mission of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is to conduct and support basic and applied research and research training and disseminate evidenced-based information on complementary and alternative medical practices to health professionals and the public. For more information, contact the NCCAM's Clearinghouse at 1-888-644-6226 or visit the NCCAM web site at

The NCCAM is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.