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RAND Establishes Center to Advance Complementary and Integrative Health Research

Longevity By Nature

The RAND Corporation (Santa Monica, CA) has launched the Center for Collaborative Research in Complementary and Integrative Health, a first-of-its-kind effort intended to bolster research expertise and participation at colleges that train practitioners in complementary and integrative health.

The effort initially will involve 10 chiropractic and naturopathic medicine colleges, but eventually open to all other peer institutions. The center’s startup is funded by a $1 million gift from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

Although research in chiropractic, naturopathic, acupuncture and other complementary health fields is at an all-time high, both in terms of funding and the number of studies being funded, little of this research is occurring at complementary and integrative health colleges. Many of these colleges have seen their research programs retrench or fail to launch in recent years as researchers and research dollars for this form of health care have migrated to large research universities.

The RAND center will give complementary and integrative health institutions the collective scale to compete, involve their future practitioners in research and help shape the research agenda in complementary and integrative health.

“The center presents an opportunity to close the gap between complementary and integrative health practitioner training and research,” said Patricia Herman, co-director of the new center and senior behavioral scientist at RAND. “Our effort will support these colleges so that they can keep their researchers and get back into the research game.

“It’s extremely important that practitioners shape and participate in the field’s research agenda, as these practitioners will be living the results of this agenda, and have unique insights into the key policy issues facing the field.”

Center Co-Director Ian Coulter, an adjunct policy researcher at RAND, said that RAND researchers will be involved in the center’s research efforts. “There is a strong interest in complementary and integrative health at RAND, both by those who use it as patients and by those who would like to study its impact and delivery,” Coulter said. “Unlike general medical research where many sources of information are available, collaboration with the complementary and integrative health community is crucial to collecting data on complementary and integrative health practices and patients. Without these collaborations, broader complementary and integrative health research is not possible.”

The center’s primary goal is to help the practitioner colleges identify sources of research funding and conduct health services studies that support the policy goals of the complementary and integrative health professions.

For more information, visit www.rand.org/health-care.html.