This R13 application requests support for a conference entitled 2012 International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health to be held at Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront Hotel on May 15-18, 2012. This conference is sponsored by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM), which currently represents 46 academic health centers in the U.S. and Canada with programs focusing on education, research and clinical delivery of complementary therapies and models of integrative medicine. The site host for the conference is the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), a member of CAHCIM. OHSU is also a member of the unique group of institutions within Portland, the Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine, which include schools of acupuncture and oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, as well as an allopathic medical school. This research conference is meant to showcase by way of keynote and plenary presentations, posters, symposia and workshops, original scientific research involving complementary and integrative medical therapies. Basic science investigators, clinical and health service researchers will present original research and moderate panel presentations selected through a peer-review process. Leaders in the field will be invited to provide keynote addresses and to moderate concurrent research presentations. The planning for the conference is overseen by the Organizing Committee, composed of the chairs of six committees (Program, Scientific Review, Finance, Fundraising, Communications, and Local Logistics, with liaison to the Consortium's Executive and Steering Committees). The chairs and members of the committees are leaders from the conventional and complementary medical research communities of the United States, Canada and Europe, including funded investigators, directors of integrative centers, educators and policy researchers. The Program Committee will determine the themes for the conference and select five keynote speakers. Proposals for sessions (symposia, featured discussions and workshops) will be solicited, as will submission of research abstracts. All will undergo peer-review for quality in a process conducted by the Scientific Review Committee. Over 100 expert reviewers will be named, by a process governed by the Consortium's Research Committee. This will be the third scientific conference sponsored by the Consortium. The first was held in Edmonton, AB, Canada in May of 2006 and attracted close to 600 participants from 19 countries. The most recent conference was held in Minneapolis, MN in May 2009 and included approximately 800 participants from 24 countries. Our stated goal is to strengthen research in integrative healthcare around the world.
Public scientific meetings where new peer-reviewed work in presented and discussed are crucial to the advancement of all research disciplines, as they allow scientists, regulators, funders, researchers-in-training to come together in a focused setting to explore data from important recent work in their respective disciplines, address issues of common concern, and provide much-needed peer-review regarding the emerging knowledge and understanding. The general public benefits enormously by way of the improved therapeutic and other scientific advances that make their first appearance at these meetings. NIH support of this particular research conference in 2006 and 2009 has been critical in allowing them to extend the benefits of attending to a larger and more diverse audience, and especially to students and fellows in training.