Building on our initial success, this application request five years of renewed funding for expanded implementation of the UNC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Research Training Program (CRTP). The goal of the CRTP is to cultivate well-trained, independent researchers for leadership in investigating efficacy, effectiveness, safety and mechanisms of action of CAM therapies. Our program highlights interdisciplinary collaboration, with areas of research and training to emphasize the study of mind- body techniques of healing, manual medicine and CAM natural-product and nutritional therapies and their applications in health promotion, chronic pain, diabetes, cancer and other high impact disorders. The Fellowship provides a rigorous, comprehensive three-year curriculum featuring: 1) formal advanced training in research methods and biostatistics through course work in the UNC School of Public Health;2) faculty-mentored, hands-on participation in one or more CAM-relevant research projects;3) coursework in concepts and practices of a wide range of CAM therapies;4) interaction with other fellows and colleagues for purposes of developing presentation skills, analysis of others'work and collegial support;and 5) additional training in practical academic skills, including grant preparation, teaching methodology and clinical work. The program will accept two to three postdoctoral training positions and one pre-doctoral position each year. Key training elements include: a) recruitment of strong, diverse candidates with background and interests likely to move the field of CAM forward;b) early identification of research mentors with interests consonant with the trainee;c) focus on early and sustained productivity and collegiality via a weekly two-hour CAM Fellows Core Seminar;d) CAM therapies education via CAM practitioners lecture series;e) observation of CAM clinical activities;and f) targeted research outcomes - publications, presentations and funding proposals. The newly re-designed CAM Fellows Core Seminar consolidates several key educational components: presentations by core CAM Research Education Faculty (CREF) on "Contemporary Challenges in CAM Research";"Meet the Mentor" and "Meet the Dataset" presentations by senior mentors;journal article reviews;and works-in-progress presentations by fellows. Trainee performance will be closely monitored by the Fellowship Directors, faculty and an Advisory Committee. The fellowship will be evaluated by the Advisory Committee. The program will take advantage of considerable institutional strengths and resources at UNC in public health, basic science, clinical and health services research. Experienced faculty mentors will provide guidance in research design, implementation, data interpretation and presentation of results. Career development facilitation will be directed to successful post-fellowship research in CAM-related areas of health care.

Public Health Relevance

With the enormous growth in CAM use for health promotion and illnesses, and the still unanswered questions about safety, efficacy, effectiveness, and mechanisms of action of CAM therapies, there is a critical need for high-quality, relevant research and well-trained researchers in this field . This proposed continuation of the UNC Research Fellowship in CAM will provided expanded, rigorous training for future leaders in CAM research in the four areas of basic, translational, clinical efficacy, and effectiveness research, so that this information can be applied to improving health and health care.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1)
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Rivera-Rentas, Alberto L
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Physical Medicine & Rehab
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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