The high prevalence-of-use and lack of appropriate evidence regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has resulted in a compelling need for more and better research into mechanisms and outcomes related to CAM therapies. In order to grow CAM research capacity, a new generation of CAM researchers will need to be trained in the rigorous scientific methods needed to investigate the many CAM modalities, domains, and potential causal pathways. This application proposes a CAM research training program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), to be funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein T32 National Research Service Award from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative (NCCAM) at NIH. The purpose of this traineeship is to provide research training to individuals aiming for careers in health science research related to CAM. The training program will be collaborative, multidisciplinary, and individualized to each trainee's specific needs. Each trainee will be matched with primary and secondary mentors. The traineeship will be administered by the UW Department of Family Medicine, but will involve faculty and mentors from across the UW Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Nursing, and Pharmacy, and in UW Departments such as Psychology and Anthropology. The leaders of this proposed training program have strong CAM research backgrounds, including several projects funded by NCCAM, and successful histories of training and mentoring new and early stage researchers. The proposed traineeship will support both doctoral candidates and post-doctoral trainees, including residency-trained physicians. Individualized coursework, mentoring, grant-writing, research methodology, project management, statistical analysis, and writing for publication will form the foundation of this training program. Weekly seminars will be the core activity that brings the UW CAM trainees together to form a CAM research learning community. Twice yearly research retreats will give trainees an opportunity to showcase their projects and to develop their public speaking skills. An active feedback and evaluation process will allow monitoring and refinement of research training methods, and will track trainees beyond their training into their CAM research careers. In summary, the proposed research training program will provide a mentored research training experience to facilitate the transformation of new and early stage CAM researchers into independent productive health scientists. This will help to address current and future national needs for CAM researchers who can fill leadership roles in this growing area of health research.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research training program will select and develop the most promising doctoral candidates and post-doctoral trainees who have demonstrated a commitment to researching complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This will substantively benefit the nation's medical research and public health enterprise by providing a steady stream of well-trained health scientists able to tackle challenging questions regarding mechanisms, processes and outcomes relating to CAM.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-PK (19))
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Rivera-Rentas, Alberto L
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University of Wisconsin Madison
Family Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Karsch-Völk, Marlies; Barrett, Bruce; Kiefer, David et al. (2014) Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2:CD000530
Kiefer, David; Tellez-Girón, Patricia; Bradbury, E Jane (2014) A pilot study of herbal medicine use in a Midwest Latino population. WMJ 113:64-71