Written by John Weeks    Sunday, 05 September 2010 Integrative Medicine and Integrated Health Care Round-up: September 2010 Summary: NCCAM issues DRAFT 2011-2015 strategic plan, includes “real world” and health-promoting outcomes; Briggs on researching complex approaches; Canada Po


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ImageNCCAM draft strategic plan includes health and real world focus; comments until September 30

One August 30, 2010, NIH National Center for Complementary released its draft 2011-2015 Strategic Plan. This, the 3rd NCCAM strategic plan, is the first from the era of Josephine Briggs, MD as director.  The intriguing structure for the plan is built around 4 conclusions from the team’s landscape assessment, 3 overarching goals, 5 “guideposts for keeping on track,” 4 frames for priority-setting and and 5 strategic objectives, all outlined in this article. The strategic objectives, as numbered in the plan, are:

  1. Advance research on CAM pharmacological interventions.
  2. Advance research on mind/body and manipulative/manual CAM interventions and practices.
  3. Increase understanding of “real-world” patterns and outcomes of CAM use and its integration into health care and health promotion.
  4. Improve the capacity of the field to carry out rigorous research.
  5. Develop and disseminate objective, evidence-based information on CAM interventions.

The comment period closes September 30, 2010 and the final plan is expected to be released December 2010. The publication of this draft is a penultimate step in a process that effectively began when Briggs took over NCCAM in January 2007 but formally in September 2009. Related Integrator articles on this process include:

Comments: As observers of NCCAM’s past plans will know, the proof of the pudding will be in how, exactly, the plan is carried out. Like a good poem, or an Obama campaign speech, the strategic plan can be vested with varying aspirations for the agency’s future. What is most intriguing is a pervasive focus, for the first time at NCCAM, on the potential health creating value of natural agents, therapies and practices of integrative providers. This is noted in the 3rd strategic objective, where health-as-outcome is linked to a broader priority to examine real world endpoints for integrative approaches. Unfortunately, a good deal of the focus continues to be on drug mechanism and trials relative to “CAM pharmacologicals.” The plan’s priorities don’t yet match what