We will develop the T90/R90 Building Research across Inter-Disciplinary Gaps (BRIDG) CAM Clinical Research Training Program, a partnership between the University of Washington (UW) CTSA program, the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) in Seattle, WA, and the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, OR. Led by Program Directors Drs. Cathryn Booth-LaForce (UW) and Heather Zwickey (NCNM), the primary goal of the postdoctoral BRIDG program is to train promising investigators to translate clinical CAM concepts into testable, multi-disciplinary research hypotheses along the Clinical and Translational Research Spectrum and apply translational research methods to CAM-oriented research. The T90 component of the BRIDG program will provide competitive CAM-trained clinicians with didactic training modules in Basic and Advanced CAM Clinical Research including existing ITHS-sponsored courses and new modules covering a variety of research methods; plus hands-on, clinical research experiences mentored by funded investigators from the UW. The R90 component of the BRIDG program will provide competitive conventionally trained researchers with training and mentorship in the practices of integrative health disciplines, including naturopathy, Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM), herbal medicine, and mind and body therapies. R90 participants will participate in clinical clerkships; implement pilot clinical research to collect preliminary data toward grant proposals, and co-train with T90 trainees during the Advanced CAM Clinical Research seminars and workshops in order to foster collaboration and learn methods more specific to CAM research. The BRIDG Program plans to fund 3 R90 participants and 3 T90 trainees per year. Funding will be provided for either 2 or 3 years per individual, depending on their specific research and training needs and prior experience.
The Specific Aims of the BRIDG program are to: 1. Provide promising CAM-trained clinicians with clinical research training at the research-intensive UW, including hands-on research experience, mentorship and didactic training in clinical research methodologies; 2. Provide promising conventionally trained researchers interested in collaborative CAM clinical research with experience in CAM clinical practices at the CAM- intensive NCNM, including hands-on clinical experiences, mentorship and didactic training in integrative clinical health disciplines; 3. Apply innovative online and distance education approaches to deliver, preserve and disseminate the BRIDG program training materials; and 4. Evaluate the BRIDG program on individual, departmental and institutional metrics of success in order to continually improve the program. The products of the BRIDG program will be a cadre of cross-trained clinical CAM research experts prepared to contribute knowledge in response the public's growing need for quality information on CAM; a collaborative distance learning-oriented training model for CAM clinical research education; and a digital archive of the BRIDG didactic seminars and workshops that can be made accessible and disseminated to other interested parties.
With the increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), high-quality rigorous research is essential so that CAM therapies can be accurately evaluated, and the public adequately informed. Thus, CAM clinicians need training in clinical and translational research methods, and conventionally trained researchers need grounding in CAM therapies and philosophies for treating disease and improving health. The proposed T90/R90 BRIDG program will prepare the next generation of CAM clinical investigators to execute competitive, CAM-oriented studies, and thereby contribute to improving health care by launching innovative, collaborative, multi-disciplinary programs of research.