Integrative Medicine Looks to the Future: Research Matters!
Last week, 800 people from 20 different countries attended the North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to attendees from North America, the conference drew participation from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and Australia, among others. Sponsored by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, the conference was unique in the diversity of attendees. Included in the mix were MDs, nurses, Naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, chiropractors, TCM providers, psychologists, public health professionals, dentists, and practitioner from many other healing traditions.
There were more than 250 posters and oral presentations, as well as stunning keynote addresses that clearly demonstrated the advancements attained in the science underlying integrative approaches to healing. The breadth of research was extensive and included clinical studies, basic science, education research and discourses on methodology. The abstracts are already on-line in an outstanding website that is searchable by topic or author. Whether you are a clinician, educator, or user of integrative healing, I encourage you to check out this website to see the latest research.
A few observations from my perspective:
- The research is becoming more rigorous while also being increasingly attentive to choosing methodologies that are appropriate for the therapy being studied.
- The complexity of the research topics requires an interdisciplinary approach.
- There is an urgent need to develop new models of care that do more than integrate a few complementary therapies.
- The demand by consumers for integrated care continues to grow and is clearly a global phenomenon!
The next international research conference will be held in Tromso, Norway on May 19-21, 2010 and is hosted by the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research.