The goal of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) at the University of Virginia is to develop cohorts of independent researchers to advance understanding of effectiveness, safety, mechanisms of action, and costs of CAM practices and products, and who will assume leadership roles in CAM research. Predoctoral trainees enrolled in a health professionals program leading to the PhD degree at the University of Virginia, and who are interested in CAM-related research training, are also included in the CRTP. To address the program goal, the CAM CRTP provides a rigorous and comprehensive two-year curriculum for postdoctoral trainees that includes coursework and training in (1) research methodology and biostatistics, including issues and concerns in CAM research;(2) evidence- based complementary practices and products;(3) additional training in the ethics of research and other practical aspects with emphasis on CAM research;(4) grant application preparation/scientific writing for publication (5) mentored research experiences with established biomedical, clinical, and/or psychosocial researchers that includes experiences with a CAM practitioner;and (6) guidance in the development and implementation of a CAM research application. Predoctoral trainees complete (1) the professional training curricula of their respective doctoral program;(2) coursework and experiential exercises in complementary practices and products;(3) two CAM-specific application development courses;and (4) a CAM-related dissertation. The CRTP includes two new post- and two new pre-doctoral trainees each year. Important program elements include: (1) early linkage with mentor/s willing to foster the goal of the CRTP;(2) immersion in CAM lectures, demonstrations, research seminars, observing in CAM community practices;and (3) concrete CAM-focused training outcomes that include manuscripts, formal presentations, a application ready for submission (a CAM-focused dissertation for predoctoral trainees). The CRTP draws upon existing institutional strengths in both basic and clinical research and its extensive clinical resources. Trainee progress is monitored through mentor/s-trainee meetings, CAM seminar participation and other coursework, monthly feedback sessions with the CRTP director, and annually by a nine-member advisory committee. Diverse, established faculty/mentors provide trainees with expert research mentoring in broad CAM content areas. The relevance of this CAM CRTP is that it addresses the increasing shortage of clinical investigators, specifically those doing patient-oriented CAM research. Advancing knowledge of effectiveness, safety, mechanisms of action, and costs of CAM practices and products is a major initiative that benefits human health and advances the NIH goals related to clinical research.

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-LD (05))
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Rivera-Rentas, Alberto L
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University of Virginia
Schools of Nursing
United States
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