Check out these stories from the December verion of John Weeks’ Integrator Round-up.


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Integrative Practice




Research Policy


Stephen Straus, MDExamination of Congressional mandate on NCCAM spending suggests original director was wildly out of line in spending priorities

A detailed examination of the 9 key sections in the two-page, 1998 Congressional mandate which established the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) concluded that the agency, under founding director Stephen Straus, MD, appears to be wildly out of line with the directions Congress set. The most direct evidence is Subsection (f) in which Congress directly prioritized 6 research activities. Outcomes (#1) and health services (#3) were each above basic research (#4) and randomized controlled trials (#5). The last two, which have eaten up the vast majority of NCCAM investment, were at the bottom of the list, only above “other” (#6). Epidemiological studies is #3. In this first decade, Straus directed only 1% of the NCCAM budget toward pragmatic outcomes. Yet the examination of the mandate, in the Integrator, shows that this real world direction not just in this one section but is structured throughout Congress’ language. (See How NCCAM’s “Real World” Congressional Mandate is Optimal for NCCAM’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan.)

Comment: The good news about this moment in time for NCCAM is that the current director, Josephine Briggs, MD, is not tainted by Straus driving NCCAM away from Congress’ priorities. On this day after President Barack Obama chose on nationla TV to take our nation deeper into his predecessor’s quagmire, let’s keep Briggs from doing the same. Note, below, that leading integrative practice organizations strongly promote what Congress mandated. The letter from the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium says it best. It’s time for “tough love.”

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National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCAM)Stakeholder submissions on NCCAM strategic plan from AHMA, IHPC, MTF, ACCAHC, AANMC, IAYT, AANP and NCH