The purpose of this application is to provide opportunities for medical student training through mentored clinical and basic science research projects in Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine (ICAM) related projects. The Institute of Medicine identified a shortage of physician scientists with sufficient multidisciplinary training to carry out important research. Given the exciting discoveries in the field of ICAM, the openness of PM&R as a field to the use of ICAM therapies, and the increasing interest of medical students in ICAM research, the ultimate goal of this project is to interest students in academic ICAM careers and translational ICAM science. Core academic faculty members from broad disciplines of PM&R, Psychology, Psychiatry, Medicine, OBGYN, Orthopaedics, and Nursing who perform ICAM research and who are ICAM practitioners at the University of Pittsburgh are available to mentor a wide array of basic and clinical research projects, study populations, and scientific techniques. The objectives are 1) A 10 week mentored research project in which students work closely with mentors to expose them to the relevance and excitement of ICAM research. 2) A didactic training program in research fundamentals that provides tools for critical literature review, analytic thinking, experience participating in ICAM therapies, and understanding of basic principles of ICAM that are needed to design and conduct successful research projects 3) guided training in concept development, study design, data collection and analysis, manuscript preparation, and abstract presentation to provide tools for performing research and learning about academic careers.
Student projects may have substantial scientific impact by elucidating pathophysiologic endpoints that lead to improved strength in the design of relevant clinical trials for future studies. Through training individuals in ICAM therapies, it is hoped that we will not only increase the number of practitioners using ICAM therapies, but also improve the research capacity in this field, which would be expected to have long lasting effects.