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Programs in Science:
Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Despite their widespread use, relatively little scientific research has been done to determine the efficacy, safety, and cost effectiveness of alternative therapies. The Fetzer Institute supports the application of rigorous scientific approaches to understanding and evaluating these therapies and to effectively and safely integrate them into the current health care system when appropriate.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Centers: Clinical trials are currently under way to investigate the effectiveness of chiropractic, acupuncture, and therapeutic massage in the treatment of low back pain. Outcomes research is also being performed with Oxford Health Plan of New York to assess patterns of complementary medicine use in large managed care settings. These Institute-supported studies are being conducted through the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for Alternative Medicine Research at Harvard Medical School under the leadership of David Eisenberg, M.D.

Efforts are also under way to assist health professionals in effectively integrating complementary therapies through continuing medical education courses, survey research on prevalence of use, a review of adverse effects and liability issues, and a program for producing standardized credentialing and scope of practice guidelines.

Other Institute-supported research centers include:

  • The Stanford Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clinic at the Stanford University School of Medicine (www.med.stanford.edu)
  • The Division of Complementary Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (www.compmed.ummc.ab.umd.edu)
  • The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University (www.columbia.edu)

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