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Research and Training in Complementary and Integrative Health


Total Assistance, FY 2008 to Present
Popular Name: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
CFDA Number

Objectives: To evaluate complementary and integrative health approaches. The following objectives support this goal: (1) coordinate and facilitate the investigation of complementary and integrative health approaches through peer-reviewed grant solicitations; (2) interface with the NCCIH National Advisory Council; (3) conduct technology assessment conferences for the purpose of establishing areas of Clinical and Pre-clinical research that need to be further developed within complementary health approaches; and (4) maintain a comprehensive bibliographic data base in conjunction with the National Library of Medicine. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) regularly examines and redefines its research priorities. In setting research priorities, NCCIH considers its existing research portfolio, its 5-year strategic plan, the recommendations of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health, current scientific advances, the plans of other NIH institutes and centers, and input from expert panels and stakeholders. Research constituting a rigorous evidence base for complementary health approaches will be developed through a range of research strategies including basic and translational research, and clinical investigation. Priority setting also takes into account: 1)scientific promise, 2)amenability to rigorous scientific inquiry,3) potential to change health practices, and 4) relationship to use and practice. Research Approaches Basic, translational, efficacy/effectiveness, and implementation research for Complementary and Integrative Health approaches need to be studied across the research continuum. NCCIH continues to emphasize basic research that defines biological effects and mechanisms of action; this research is aimed at understanding the nature of complementary health approaches such as their biology, physiology, and physical, chemical and behavioral properties. NCCIH also supports the development of tools, models, and methodologies for studying these approaches. NCCIH continues to encourage efficacy studies to determine specific clinical effects of complementary health approaches under carefully controlled conditions that minimize nonspecific and contextual effects. There is also the need to strengthen translational and preliminary clinical research required to design and implement definitive clinical research and "real world" outcomes and effectiveness research that capitalizes on the reality that many complementary health approaches are in widespread public use. NCCIH’s support of translational research addresses the need for valid, reliable and relevant research tools, outcome measures, and innovative methodology to enhance the rigor of complementary health approaches within clinical studies and to ensure that they are maximally informative. NCCIH emphasizes studies that inform the design of future trials such as those that will: develop and validate outcome measures; standardize treatment protocols or algorithms; validate treatment algorithms and/or; develop measures of quality control or treatment fidelity; assess effects of various doses or intervention durations; develop preliminary clinical evidence regarding efficacy and safety to support estimates of sample size; or establish feasibility of interventions or study designs in specific populations for future studies. NCCIH's clinical research portfolio utilizes clinical trial, case-control, observational, cohort, qualitative, and other experimental methodologies to determine safety and estimate the efficacy of complementary health approaches. The clinical research portfolio includes effectiveness studies of the contribution to improved health and wellness made by complementary health approaches as they are practiced in "real-world" settings. In general, phase III clinical trials will be supported under the cooperative agreement mechanism after careful consideration by NCCIH Staff. Investigators interested in proposi