National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Invitation for Comments Regarding Name Change Transcript

Hello. I’m Josie Briggs. For the last 6 years, I’ve had the privilege of being the director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM.  Established by Congress in 1998, NCCAM is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health.

Today, I’m asking for your input regarding the name of our Center. In the 16 years since NCCAM was established, we have funded more than 3,800 research projects examining the safety, efficacy, and use of a very wide array of interventions and practices with origins outside mainstream medicine. At the same time, large population-based surveys have reinforced the fact that the use of true alternative medicine—that is, the use of unproven practices in place of treatments we know to be safe and effective—that that is rare. Also during this time, the field of research has progressed, and a much more defined set of research opportunities has emerged. We see the growth of integrative health care within communities across the US, including hospitals, hospices, and military health facilities. With these changes in the research and practice landscape, we believe that our current name no longer accurately reflects our Congressional mandate, which is, in part, to study the integration of these practices as a complement to conventional care.

We also recognize that our current name is not explicit about our research mission, and that it may be misconstrued as advocacy or promotion of unproven practices.

And so, we are proposing that the name of our Center be changed to “NATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON COMPLEMENTARY AND INTEGRATIVE HEALTH.” The goal of this change is to better align the Center’s name with the evolution in health care and our research focus, and thus best address our Congressional mandate.

We need to hear from you, our stakeholders—researchers, health care providers, and members of the public. Please visit our Web site n-c-c-a-m-dot-n-i-h-dot-gov and submit your comments.

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.