National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

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Office of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs

The mission of NCCAM is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care. In support of this mission, NCCAM funds a varied portfolio of grants, including randomized clinical trials, and observational and epidemiological studies, with the goal of better understanding of “real world” patterns and outcomes of CAM use and its integration into health care and health promotion.

In view of the diversity of CAM interventions, clinical studies often require creative research designs and approaches that draw on the experience of distinct fields of biomedical and behavioral research studying procedural interventions, behavior change or outcomes of health interventions in real world or practice-based populations.  With such a varied clinical research portfolio studying the safety and potential application of CAM interventions, the Office of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs (OCRA), part of the NCCAM Office of the Director, serves as a resource for the planning, implementation and oversight of clinical research funded by NCCAM.

As NCCAM’s primary goals in the oversight of clinical research include minimizing risk to research participants; maximizing the success, scientific potential and impact of funded work; and maximizing productivity and relevance of its programs, OCRA staff work with other NCCAM staff and study teams to ensure goals are achieved.

Prior to initiating clinical projects, OCRA staff facilitates finalizing study designs, analytic plans and clinical study documents. The NCCAM Clinical Research Toolbox provides a Web-based information repository for investigators and staff involved in NCCAM-funded clinical research. The Toolbox contains templates, sample forms, and information materials to assist clinical investigators in the development and conduct of high-quality clinical research studies. Additional resources are also available for studies that are incorporated into the NCCAM site monitoring program.

After studies are initiated, OCRA staff facilitates ongoing communication between study team and NCCAM staff, and regularly obtains reports from active clinical studies regarding participant accrual, as well as data and safety monitoring. The NCCAM Clinical Research Toolbox also provides several important resources for investigators with ongoing clinical investigations.

Office Director: 
Mailing Address: 
Office of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475

Contact OCRA Staff:
Robyn Bent, R.N., B.S.N. Health Specialist
Qian Li, Sc.D.  Biostatistician
Christine Moretto Wishnoff, M.P.H. Health Specialist