This R-13 application requests support for a conference entitled 2014 International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health to be held at Hyatt Regency Hotel and the adjacent Miami Convention Center, in Miami, Florida, May 13-16, 2014. This conference is sponsored by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM), which currently represents 57 academic health centers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, 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 University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, a member of CAHCIM. 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, which is composed of the chairs of six key committees (Program, Scientific Review, Finance, Fundraising, Communications, and CME/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 is charged with determining the themes for the conference and selecting the 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 250 expert reviewers are listed in a pool of reviewers previously used for the 2012 International congress, and the entire review process is directed by the Scientific Review Committee, with recommendations from the Consortium's Research Committee. This will be the fourth 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 second conference was held in Minneapolis, MN in May 2009 and included approximately 800 participants from 24 countries, and the most recent conference was held in Portland, Oregon in May 2012 and attracted over 1,000 participants from 30 countries. This gathering of international participants is aimed to achieve our stated goal of strengthening 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, 2009 and 2012 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.