This proposal is for a five-year continuation of the Harvard Medical School research fellowship program in complementary and integrative medical therapies (CIMT). This three year program prepares physicians for successful careers as academic research faculty and educators. The program is based within the Division for Research and Education in CIMT at Harvard Medical School (HMS), an inter-institutional program set up to facilitate the development of research and education in this emerging field. The training program focuses on mind-body therapies (including yoga, tai chi, meditation, and placebo phenomenon), Asian medicine (including acupuncture and Ayurveda) and dietary supplements (including botanicals), all areas of faculty expertise. Faculty mentors have funded research programs in CIMT research and track records of successful mentoring. Trainees earn an MPH degree during the first two years of fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The master's program includes the Program in Clinical Effectiveness, an intensive summer curriculum in epidemiology, biostatistics, and health services research, developed for physicians. Throughout the fellowship, weekly programs created specifically for fellows, including a didactic core program in CIMT, provide specialized clinical, research and scholarly skills in CIMT. Fellows also take in-depth courses in CIMT in order to acquire practitioner skills/certification to inform their research. Most of the trainees' time is devoted to their own research. Each uses skills learned in the classroom to develop, conduct and analyze at least two original investigations in CIMT under the direction of experienced faculty mentors. Research focuses on risks and benefits of CIMT using methods of outcomes research, the mechanism of action of CIMT, epidemiology, and health services research. All fellows are encouraged to perform a secondary data analysis, a systematic review, and a pilot randomized controlled trial. Fellows also participate in retreats on teaching skills and cultural competence. Fellows have opportunities to participate as teachers of CIMT at HMS. Fellows develop clinical skills in CIMT in both an affiliated primary care integrative clinic and the Division's newly opened integrated care center at Brigham and Women's Hospital. A principal research mentor, clinical preceptors, and an advisor at HSPH supervise each fellow's development. Over the first 7 years of the fellowship, 10 fellows have completed the program and earned an MPH. Nine of 10 graduates continue in academic medicine; 4 are currently supported by K series career development awards. All graduated fellows have published peer reviewed research manuscripts.
This training program is relevant to public health because it trains individuals to perform scientifically based research in complementary and integrative medical therapies, an area of clinical care that is used widely by the public but requires further research to define risks, benefits, and mechanism of action.
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