The National Foundation for Alternative Medicine (NFAM) was launched with a mission to identify breakthrough complementary and alternative therapies and to research and report on their effectiveness. NFAM’s mission also places importance upon the affordability of treatments in the belief that the world needs cost-effective solutions to bring health to the greatest number of people.
NFAM is headquartered in Washington, DC. In its first nine years of existence, it has identified and evaluated more than 200 clinics from 20 countries offering complementary and alternative treatments. The information NFAM collects is shared with the scientific community through an international network of contacts and conferences. It has as its mission nothing less than to create, step by step, a revolution in worldwide healthcare.
Businessman and retired Congressman Berkley Bedell founded the National Foundation for Alternative Medicine in 1998.
Personal experience led him to develop a passion for alternative medicine as he was helped—not once, but twice—by therapies that had been overlooked by mainstream medicine. Mr. Bedell used his influence in Washington to bring attention to the need for investigating potential breakthrough treatments for public health. With Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), he created the Office of Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate and validate promising alternative therapies. Despite this milestone, their efforts were frustrated by bureaucratic and scientific inertia.
After years of working with the scientific establishment through NIH to promote the scientific investigation of alternative and complementary medicine, Mr. Bedell became convinced that the government was unable to adequately pursue innovative field investigations of these treatments. With his wife, Elinor, he founded NFAM to ensure that potentially life-saving ideas would receive the scientific attention they deserved.
The National Foundation for Alternative Medicine is governed by nine distinguished volunteer board members. Their achievements in the fields of public health and human services mean they often serve as an expert advisory panel to NFAM's staff.
Berkley Bedell, Founder and Chairman of NFAM, took $50 earned on his newspaper route and began a business making fishing tackle. The small company he started is now an international enterprise. Mr. Bedell was elected to the United States Congress as a Democrat representing Iowa's Sixth District in 1975. Mr. Bedell retired from Congress in 1988, having contracted Lyme disease. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bedell was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He became active in investigating complementary and alternative medical treatments as a result of being introduced to innovative remedies. Mr. Bedell no longer suffers from either cancer or Lyme disease, and he attributes his cures to the alternative therapies he used.
Fiona Eberts is Chair of CAMFED International (www.camfed.org), a charity based in Cambridge, U.K., that is dedicated to improving access to education for rural African girls. CAMFED currently works in Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Zambia. Mrs. Eberts spent her childhood in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and Hong Kong. During this time she gained a deep awareness of the problems faced by people and particularly women in the third world. Aside from her experience in not-for-profit humanitarian work, she and her husband, Jake Eberts, an award-winning producer, are currently producing a documentary on men's prison choirs in South Africa.