by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports  

NCCAM Announces $21.7-million Project with the VA and Their Families 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) announced on September 25, 2014 that it has engaged a $21.7-million program to “address pain and related conditions in U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families.” The 5-year program includes 13 research projects. According to the release, the “research will focus on nondrug approaches.” Other funding came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Division provided funding for this initiative. The release leans on a commentary, Pain and Opioids in the Military: We Must Do Better in JAMA Internal Medicine last June by former US Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker, MD, PhD and Samueli Institute CEO Wayne Jonas, MD. The 13 grants are all described in the release. One grantee for $718,000 is the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, led by Christine Goertz, DC, PhD. The study will look at how chiropractic care might be integrated with Veterans’ clinical practice guidelines for veterans with a combination of musculoskeletal pain and mental health conditions.

Comment: A person might have seen this coming. NCCAM director Josie Briggs, MD has stacked the National Advisory Council for Comp

by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports  

NCCAM Announces $21.7-million Project with the VA and Their Families 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) announced on September 25, 2014 that it has engaged a $21.7-million program to “address pain and related conditions in U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families.” The 5-year program includes 13 research projects. According to the release, the “research will focus on nondrug approaches.” Other funding came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Division provided funding for this initiative. The release leans on a commentary, Pain and Opioids in the Military: We Must Do Better in JAMA Internal Medicine last June by former US Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker, MD, PhD and Samueli Institute CEO Wayne Jonas, MD. The 13 grants are all described in the release. One grantee for $718,000 is the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, led by Christine Goertz, DC, PhD. The study will look at how chiropractic care might be integrated with Veterans’ clinical practice guidelines for veterans with a combination of musculoskeletal pain and mental health conditions.

Comment: A person might have seen this coming. NCCAM director Josie Briggs, MD has stacked the National Advisory Council for Complementary Medicine with the likes of Schoomaker and Tracy Gaudet, MD, of the VA’s office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation. Exciting work – that meshes well with the new policy brief noted above, Never Only Opioids: The Imperative for Early Integration of Non-Pharmacological Approaches and Practitioners in the Treatment of Patients with Pain.

 

Multi-disciplinary Group Co-led by Ben Kligler, MD Secures PCORI Grant to Look at Group Acupuncture to Address Health Disparities 

Arya Nielsen, PhD, Ac sent news that a team from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine scored a $1.94-million, 3-year grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).  The project is called Acupuncture Approaches to Decrease Disparities in Outcomes of Pain Treatment- A Two Arm Comparative Effectiveness Trial (AADDOPT-2). The co-PIs are Ben Kligler, MD, MPH and Diane McKee, MD and their team includes Nielsen and Belinda Anderson, PhD, LAc.  In their proposal they note reimbursement challenges for acupuncture that limit access and state: “Because group acupuncture can be offered at a lower cost, demonstrating that individual and group delivery are both effective could reduce barriers to use of this effective pain management approach. The research team will conduct a randomized comparative effectiveness study to assess outcomes of individual and group acupuncture for treatment of chronic pain.”  

Comment: Kudos, first, for successfully being awarded the grant. Despite PCORI’s specific charge to explore complementary and alternative medicine, only 4 prior awards focus in this area. (One issue may be a lack of submissions.) Kudos #2 for this great study idea. Alignment of interest bias: I have found group acupuncture to be immensely useful, personally, and in fact prefer it to one-and-one. Is there something of value to being in a group, rather than solo, especially with a health issue as subjective as pain? That would be a different research question. Great team! Looking forward already to the results.