Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
Today, at the meeting of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, we unveil our third strategic plan, Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. As I’ve discussed in this space before, our 15-month long planning process involved extensive consultation with many stakeholders including our Advisory Council, interested organizations, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, leaders in biomedical and behavioral research, colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, and members of the public. We held symposia and workshops, and we listened, discussed, and debated. It was a stimulating and challenging process, and now we have a plan for moving forward.
Three long-range goals emerged from our planning process:
- To advance the science and practice of symptom management
- To develop effective personalized strategies for promoting health and well-being
- To enable better evidence-based decisionmaking regarding the use of complementary health practices and their integration into health care.
These goals follow from the data showing that Americans primarily turn to CAM either to promote general health and well-being or to manage symptoms not effectively alleviated by standard care. To address these goals, our plan calls for sharper focus on opportunities that show the greatest scientific promise and greatest potential for improving either symptom management or health promotion and disease prevention. The plan also emphasizes the need for collaborative multidisciplinary research, strong public information, and support for evidence-based decisionmaking by the public, health care providers, and health policymakers.
We are extremely grateful to all who participated in this process. We hope you will remain engaged as we implement our plan and continue to explore the science of complementary and alternative medicine.