The Cochrane Collaboration is an international, nonprofit, and independent organization dedicated to improving health care for the world's population by preparing, maintaining and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of controlled trials. The CAM Field is the designated group within the Cochrane Collaboration focused on facilitating the conduct of Cochrane systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine therapies. The CAM Field is based within and sponsored by the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland, as it has been since its inception in 1996, under the leadership of Brian Berman, cofounder and Convener of the CAM Field. Over the past 9 years, the CAM Field has been supported through an R24 grant from NCCAM. The CAM Field has used this R24 grant to significantly further NCCAM's objective to """"""""Develop and disseminate objective, evidence-based information on CAM interventions."""""""" However, many questions still remain to be answered regarding the effectiveness and safety of CAM therapies and much remains to be accomplished in the rigorous development and dissemination of high quality, objective information in CAM. To further expand the CAM Field as a resource for research, this proposed renewal of our R24 grant has the following 4 specific aims: 1) Improve and increase the database of controlled trials of CAM interventions;2) Increase the number of high quality, high priority systematic reviews in CAM;3) Increase outreach, access, and availability of the CAM Field resources to the broader scientific community;and 4) Promote international collaboration by contributing to the international Cochrane Collaboration. Since its inception, the CAM Field has shown a high level of productivity in our systematic review and trial database development work. The productivity of the CAM Field will only increase in the coming years, due to the research infrastructure and worldwide network developed within it over the previous 15 years.
The systematic review of controlled trials is widely accepted as the gold standard method for evaluating the effects of healthcare therapies, including CAM therapies. The Cochrane Collaboration, founded in 1992, has been, and remains, at the forefront of developing state of the art methodologies for systematic review preparation and trial database development. This grant will support the Cochrane CAM Field in developing and expanding our CAM trials database and in preparing high quality, high impact CAM systematic reviews.
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