National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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2013 Meetings and Workshops

NCCAM Pre-Application Teleconference for Research Training

Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Purpose of Teleconference:

On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) convened a pre-application teleconference to discuss requirements of each grant mechanism of the National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training Program—established in memory of Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein. The teleconference provided an overview of the research grant submission process, including an indepth discussion of NCCAM’s research training funding opportunities and aspects of the peer review process. The teleconference also addressed participant questions received via telephone and e-mail.

Research Training Funding Opportunities Discussed:

  • PA-14-015 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (Parent T32) 
  • PA-14-016 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant (Parent T35)
  • PAR-13-065 Interdisciplinary Complementary and Integrative Health Clinical Research Training Award (T90/R90)

Application Receipt Dates:

Parent T32 and T35

  • Letter of Intent (optional but recommended) by December 27, 2014
  • NCCAM only accepts applications for the January application submission date (differs each year)
  • Expires January 8, 2017


  • Letter of Intent (strongly recommended) by December 28, 2014
  • NCCAM only accepts applications for the January application submission date (differs each year)
  • Expires January 29, 2015

Teleconference Speakers:

Alberto L. Rivera-Rentas, Ph.D., NCCAM Program Director
Peter Kozel, Ph.D., NCCAM Scientific Review Officer
Anita McRae-Williams, M.A., NCCAM Outreach Program Manager (Moderator)


Summary of Teleconference:

Important Information About the Program Announcements


The NRSA training programs were established in 1974 to ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation’s biomedical behavior and clinical research needs.

The purpose of the NRSA programs is to train individuals to conduct research and prepare for research careers in areas relevant to the NIH mission. The goal is to increase the number, quality, and diversity of well-prepared investigators in complementary and integrative medicine modalities and interventions who also have experience in rigorous scientific research. This is outlined in NCCAM’s Third Strategic Plan and specifically delineated in Strategic Objective 4: Improve the Capacity of the Field To Carry Out Rigorous Research.

NRSA Programs Highlights and Similarities:

  • Mentors should be research-funded investigators with their own independent, well-published research work and knowledgeable in research training.
  • Types of organizations that can apply for the NRSA Awards include institutes of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and government.
  • All applicant institutions must have the infrastructure for comprehensive research training and can be led by a single investigator or a group of investigators using the multi-principal investigator approach.
  • Applications can request funds for program-supported activities such as curriculum and academic development, professional development, scientific skills development, mentored research experiences, travel to scientific meetings, and evaluation.
  • All applications must provide a commitment letter from the institution and a recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity and must describe their training in the responsible conduct of research.
  • Letters of Intent: A letter of intent (LOI) for the Parent T32 and T35 is optional but recommended. While optional, NCCAM’s use of LOIs allows scientific review officers (SROs) some idea of the review load, such as who will be coming in and who key personnel might be. It also helps SROs better plan the review. Again, although letters of intent are not required, they are encouraged. If you are submitting a T90/R90 application, they are strongly encouraged.

Budget Highlights:


Highlights Regarding the Parent T32 (Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Research Training Grant)

  • The purpose of this research training program is to provide trainees with a strong foundation in research design, methods, and related techniques appropriate for the proposed research area(s) and the development of the trainee as an independent investigator.
  • A letter of intent for the Parent T32 is optional but recommended.


Highlights Regarding the T35 (Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Short-Term Institution and Training Program)

  • Appointees to the T35 training program should be predoctoral or medical students. This program is for short-term research training only, with a minimum of 8 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks of continuous research training. No postdoctoral positions are allowed.
    • Trainees must have completed their undergraduate degree by the time of their appointment to the program, be citizens or legal residents of the United States, and be enrolled in a research doctorate program.
    • The principle investigator or investigators should be experts in their respective program training areas. A consortium of multiple institutions or organizations is allowed.
    • A letter of intent for the Parent T35 is optional but recommended.
    • An advisory committee is not required but is encouraged. The applicant’s institution will make this determination.


Highlights Regarding the T90/R90 (Interdisciplinary Complementary and Integrative Health Clinical Research Training Award)

  • The T90/R90 program requires a partnership between a research-intensive institution that has a longstanding history of research training and commensurate resources and an institution focused in complementary and integrative health practice. This partnership can be an existing effort or a way to start up a new program. Partnerships with institutions holding clinical and translational science awards (CTSAs) are strongly encouraged.
  • This training program only supports long-term research training for postdoctoral graduates or applicants who hold a doctoral degree; trainees cannot exceed 3 years in the program.
  • This program supports mentored research training and hands-on experiences in clinical research, as well as trainee-focused development efforts. These may include activities in clinical research methodology, integrated health academic development, and training-related research projects in NCCAM’s research priority areas.
  • A letter of intent for the T90/R90 program is not required but is strongly recommended.


NRSA Grant Applications Tips

  • Applications should address the review criteria in the FOA, should be easy to read, and should be organized so that reviewers can easily find information.
  • The composition of the review panel will be a reflection of the science proposed in the applications NCCAM receives. Consequently, the experience of the panel may be broad. All reviewers will provide scores for all applications with which they are not in conflict. This means that an application should be written so that it can be understood by someone who is not an expert in the applicants’ fields.
  • Follow the page limits in the FOA. The T90/R90 uses the standard formatting limitations common to all NIH grant applications. Specifically, margins should be no less than half an inch. Applicants may use only Arial, Helvetica, or Palatino Linotype or Georgia typefaces that are black font color with a font size of no less than 11 points. No more than 15 characters per inch horizontally and 6 lines per inch vertically are allowed. Detailed grantwriting tips can be found at
  • Appendix material is accepted for these FOAs and should be kept to a minimum. Nothing that is critical to the review of your application should appear in the appendix. Tables are not allowed in the appendix, and any material that applicants present must not be in tabular form.
  • The standard review criteria for all three FOAs differ in several ways.  For the T90/R90, NCCAM has added an additional review criterion – evaluation.  Applicants are urged to carefully read, understand, and address all the appropriate review criteria in their applications.
  • Postsubmission materials for training and related applications are allowed. Follow the page limits of the FOA for submission of these materials, which must be in PDF format and submitted via e-mail to Dr. Peter Kozel, Scientific Review Officer (at, no less than 30 days before the review meeting.
  • A diversity recruitment plan is required, and its acceptability will be factored into the overall impact score.
  • Applicants should submit all required material in the FOA to avoid the common error of omission. Address and explain all training program weaknesses. Lack of letters of support from deans and department chairs is usually seen as a very significant weakness.
  • Fellowship plans that have codirectors must include plans for addressing disagreements between the multiple principal investigators.

Questions and Answers

Question: I would like to hear a little bit more about NCCAM’s goals with these training programs, beyond the general NIH goals.
Answer: NCCAM‘s intention is to provide support to trainees who desire to pursue research and research careers within NCCAM’s areas of research interest. We also have an expectation that trainees in our training programs will transition into more mainstream NIH career development and research funding. For example, if you are a predoctoral student and you completed your Ph.D. in a T32 program, you then either go to a T32 at the postdoctoral level or you apply for a fellowship. This exemplifies the step-by-step enhancement of your career that we envision in these programs.
Question: I am interested in hearing how NCCAM is looking at the applications compared to say, the way NIMH would look at them?
Answer: At NIH, each institute or center has a particular research mission. A mission of NCCAM is to make sure that we provide support for research training in complementary and integrative research topics. For example, we have areas of research interests ranging from probiotics to natural products, to mind/body approaches, yoga, acupuncture, and meditation. So these are examples of the interests and unique areas of NCCAM. Furthermore, on NCCAM’s Web site we provide a lot of this information—specifically in our NCCAM Research Training pages.
Question: Are there any NCCAM-specific mechanisms or considerations for early-career independent investigators?
Answer: We encourage you to go to NCCAM’s Web site and look at our Research Training pages. There you will find career development awards (which are called the K Awards), fellowship programs, and training-related administrative supplements.
Question: If you are developing a new cross-disciplinary program and do not have a track record of training, are you eligible for these opportunities?
Answer: Yes, you are. A track record is an important part of the review criteria. However, NCCAM also pursues innovation and uses these funding mechanisms to develop new programs. Applicants are encouraged to pursue a mechanism that will fit their interests and developmental stage. For example, we have seen institutions that are just starting a new program—they have a group of research investigators who can serve as mentors for students, and they start with a small program at the T35 Level. Please be aware that the T35 also allows a consortium, so you might want to partner with other organizations that have more research training experience and a track record to help you move forward with a new program. As far as a track record when it comes to review, reviewers like to see that you have some record of experience providing training. You should convey if you have a training record and if your mentors have a record of providing training at the level that you are proposing to do in your application.
Question: Can you talk about the cross-training at each institution required in the T90 or R90 program?
Answer: As a reminder, last year NCCAM hosted a teleconference specifically on the T90/R90 program. A summary of this teleconference can be found at NCCAM Pre-Application Teleconference to Discuss the Interdisciplinary Complementary and Integrative Health Clinical Research Training Award (T90/R90). The NCCAM R90/T90 mechanism formalizes a partnership among research-training institutions. It requires a student exchange. For example, trainees from the research-intensive institution go to the health-practice institution to get their training in complementary health approaches; and trainees from the health-practice institution go to the research-intensive institution for mentored clinical research experiences. We recommend applicant institutions to assess their own strengths and needs and propose the activities they want to develop. For example, there might be institutions that want to develop some kind of certification program for clinical research training. Another example might be programs for trainees to develop their own research activities and research subprojects.



Programmatic Questions Contact:

Alberto L. Rivera-Rentas, Ph.D.
Program Director
Training, HIV/AIDS, and Special Populations Portfolios
Division of Extramural Research
NCCAM Research Training and Career Development
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Institutes of Health

6707 Democracy Boulevard II, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892 (Courier Service - 20817)
Tel: (301) 443-8372

Review Questions Contact:

Peter J. Kozel, Ph.D.
Scientific Review Officer
Office of Scientific Review
Division of Extramural Activities
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Institutes of Health
6707 Democracy Boulevard II, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20892 (Courier Service - 20817)
Tel: (301) 496-8004
Fax: (301) 480-2419

Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) Symposium

Date: Thursday, November 14, 2013


National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
100 Bureau Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20899

NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Partnership for the Accurate Testing of Hormones (PATH) are cosponsoring this one-day symposium, also being held under the auspices of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC). The symposium, which can be attended either in-person or via Webinar, will:

  • Discuss VDSP goals and components;
  • Present data from VDSP inter-laboratory comparison and commutability studies;
  • Demonstrate how tools developed through VDSP can be used to improve the standardization of vitamin D measurement around the world; and,
  • Obtain feedback as to how VDSP can be improved to meet the needs of attendees.

Learn More

NIH Workshop on Energy Drinks

Date: Thursday, August 15, 2013 to Friday, August 16, 2013


Neuroscience Center Building
6001 Executive Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20852

This workshop will summarize the research on:

  • patterns of energy drink use in the U.S. population and population subgroups, including young adults and children, minorities, and the military,
  • the safety of energy drinks and their ingredients,
  • the effects of energy drinks and their ingredients on alertness, fatigue, sleep, cognitive function and mental health, and on physiological functions such as glucose homeostasis, weight, and athletic performance.

Read More

The NIH Research Festival Symposium

Date: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 2:00p.m. ET to 4:00p.m. ET


NIH—9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland

Advances in Natural Product Research at NIH


  1. Curtis J. Henrich, Ph.D.
    High-throughput screening for the identification of natural product modulators of cancer-related targets
  2. John A. Beutler, Ph.D.
    Plants Still Provide Viable Cancer Drug Development Leads
  3. James Inglese, Ph.D.
    Design of Assays and Screening Strategies for the Interrogation ofComplex Chemical Libraries
  4. Shakir Saud, M.S.
    To dine with red wine? Resveratrol metabolomic targets of efficacy in colorectal cancer prevention
  5. Kirk Gustafson, Ph.D.
    Natural Products Diversity: New Ways to Target Cancer-Associated Processes and Phenotypes
  6. NIH FARE Award winner

NCCAM Pre-Application Teleconference on Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Managing Pain and Co-Morbid Conditions in U.S. Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families

Date: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 2:00p.m. ET to 3:00p.m. ET

NCCAM hosted a pre-application teleconference on Tuesday, August 6, 2013, from 2–3:00 p.m. (EST) for potential applicants. The teleconference provided technical assistance to prospective applicants, including an overview of the research program and a discussion of the grant mechanisms used, information on preparing an application, and highlights of the review process. It also addressed participant questions.

Three Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for “Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Managing Pain and Co-Morbid Conditions in U.S. Military Personnel, Veterans, and their Families” have been published in the NIH Guide. They are issued by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D).

The purpose of these FOAs is to encourage research on the use of non-pharmacological approaches for managing pain and co-morbid conditions (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances) among U.S. military personnel and Veterans.

The three announcements issued are:

  1. Pilot and Feasibility Studies of Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Managing Pain and Co-Morbid Conditions in U.S. Military Personnel, Veterans, and their Families (R34), RFA-AT-14-004
  2. Clinical Trials and Interventional Studies of Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Managing Pain and Co-Morbid Conditions in U.S. Military Personnel, Veterans, and their Families (R01), RFA-AT-14-003
  3. Health Services and Observational Studies of Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Managing Pain and Co-Morbid Conditions in U.S. Military Personnel, Veterans, and their Families (R01), RFA-AT-14-005

The participating agencies encourage applicants to send a letter of intent, due by September 11, 2013.

Applications must be submitted electronically to These must be received by 5 p.m. local time on October 11, 2013.

Summary (200KB PDF)

Pre-Application (SBIR-STTR) Teleconference

Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 1:00p.m. ET

The pre-application teleconference is to provide technical assistance to prospective grant applicants. The teleconference will provide an overview of the research grant submission process, including an in-depth discussion of the funding opportunity, and explain the peer-review process. The teleconference will try to address all participant questions.


NCCAM Postdoc Participates in Smithsonian Exhibit, Genome: Unlocking Life's Code

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 1:00p.m. ET to 4:00p.m. ET


Natural History Museum, Special Exhibit Gallery, 2nd Floor, Northeast Wing (Hall 23)
Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian has partnered with NIH investigators and postdocs to be 'scientists in residence' and 'genome geeks' on weekends at the Natural History Museum’s new exhibit, Genome: Unlocking Life's Code, running from June 14, 2013 to September 1, 2014.

NCCAM’s Dr. Lucie Low will be the resident 'geek' at the museum on Sunday, June 23 between 1 and 4 p.m., so stop by her table and ask her about the relationship between pain and genes, and the research work she conducts at NCCAM.

Symposium on Advances in Pain Research: Integrated Self-Management Strategies for Chronic Pain

Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 to Thursday, May 30, 2013

National Institutes of Health
Natcher Auditorium and Atrium
Building 45
Bethesda, MD 20892

The theme of this year's NIH Pain Consortium Symposium will be Integrated Self-Management Strategies for Chronic Pain.  Topics will include:

  • Self-Management Strategies in Community Health Care Settings
  • Tailored Self-Management Strategies for Patients and Caregivers
  • Predictors and Indicators of Outcomes in Integrated Self-Management Strategies.

A poster session will include a broad selection of current pain research findings presented by young investigators. Members of the extramural scientific community, the NIH scientific community, health care providers, and the public are invited to attend the meeting on the NIH campus or via NIH Videocast.  NCCAM is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Roles in Chronic Pain Management & Research

Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2013


New Orleans, LA

This preconference symposium, which will take place just prior to the American Pain Society’s 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting, will raise awareness of approaches and challenges for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) researchers and discuss possible clinical applications for health care professionals. The challenges and opportunities associated with current CAM research as it relates to chronic pain management in the field of medicine will be addressed. A primary goal of the conference is to encourage collaborations among pain clinicians and researchers in CAM practice and research. View Agenda.

Registration for this symposium is required. This symposium is NOT included with registration for the American Pain Society’s 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting. See conference registration and fees for more information.

2013 NIH Botanical Research Expert Panel Meeting: Executive Summary

Date: Monday, April 29, 2013


NIH—9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) will convene an Expert Panel on botanical research. The purpose of this meeting is to identify and discuss ways to strengthen NIH’s ongoing investment in botanical research in order to advance understanding of the biological effects of botanicals (especially those related to dietary supplements) in human health (including safety).

Read the Summary

Impact of Acupuncture Research on 21st Century Health Care

Date: Friday, April 19, 2013 to Sunday, April 21, 2013


Ann Arbor, Michigan


The Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) will host our international research conference in Ann Arbor MI on April 18–21 in 2013.  Important research findings from the three years since our previous 2010 conference in Chapel Hill will be presented and discussed. Thematically the 2013 conference will emphasize the role of acupuncture in 21st century health care and the importance of translational applications within this field of research. To-date, the primary co-sponsors of the conference will be the University of Michigan Department of Anesthesiology and the University of Michigan Program in Integrative Medicine. Our conference includes three keynote lectures, which directly address current topics in acupuncture research. In addition, a special panel discussion will address the conference theme, the impact of acupuncture research on 21st century health care. Additional symposia will (1) highlight the findings of SAR’s latest White Paper on clinical and basic research comparisons of electrical and manual acupuncture (see below), and (2) explore context and patient-practitioner effects in acupuncture research. Original presentations in three main areas: clinical trials, basic science, and research methodology will be solicited from members of the national and international acupuncture research communities. To foster interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration, the conference will also include interactive workshops focusing on comparative effectiveness research and objective outcomes in clinical trials.

Abstracts Due 9/10/12 (141KB PDF)


Dietary Supplement-Drug Interaction Expert Panel

Date: Monday, April 1, 2013


Neuroscience Center
Conference Room B1-B2
6001 Executive Boulevard
Rockville, MD  20852

NCCAM has begun implementing a three-phase initiative for systematic in vitro and in vivo characterization of potential dietary supplement–drug interactions. The overall goal is to produce a repository of carefully controlled experiments and their ensuing results. Those resources are expected to enhance assessment of the risks and/or benefits of selected supplement–drug combinations and understanding of metabolic pathways for a large number of supplements.

In Phase I of the initiative, NCCAM has assembled a Dietary Supplement-Drug Interaction Expert Panel to identify and discuss criteria to be used in prioritizing in vitro and in vivo research and help guide the Center’s future investments in this area. These criteria will then be used to generate a matrix for testing potential supplement–drug interactions. Potential candidates for supplements, pharmaceuticals, supplement/drug/disease groupings, and assays are being identified to create a testing matrix for evaluation using moderate- to high-throughput screening. Moving directly to human subjects research may be appropriate for some combinations, based on the literature.

Read More

Got (Enough) Vitamin D?—"Current Controversies in Medicine" STEP Event Series

Date: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 9:00a.m. ET to 11:00a.m. ET

A STEP “Current Controversies in Medicine” Event

The Staff Training in Extramural Programs (STEP) is hosting “Got (Enough) Vitamin D?” Vitamin D is vital for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and skin. New evidence suggests that this natural substance is also involved in immune and muscle functions. Yet abnormal vitamin D levels may play key roles in cancer, infertility, and other disorders. What is this essential substance, how is it made in the body, and what does it really do for us? What are optimal levels of vitamin D, and how are they affected by genetics, environment, age, and diet? Join us to learn more about the “sunshine” vitamin’s role in human health and disease.

Building 38A, Lister Hill Auditorium

This will be VideoCast live at and archived at

T90/R90 Pre-Application Teleconference

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 2:00p.m. ET to 3:00p.m. ET

NCCAM is hosting a pre-application informational teleconference for researchers interested in the Interdisciplinary Complementary and Integrative Health Clinical Research Training Award (T90/R90).


The teleconference aims to provide technical assistance to prospective T90/R90 grant applicants.

NCCAM will discuss:

  • An overview of the institutional research-training program and the grant mechanism used
  • Information on preparing your application
  • The review process for applications.

Submit Questions Now

A 30-minute segment of this teleconference will be devoted to answering applicant questions.

Please submit questions to


To participate, RSVP to Anita Greene at by Tuesday, January 22.