The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) announces the release of its new 5-year strategic plan, Expanding Horizons of Health Care: Strategic Plan 2005–2009. The plan, available online at www.nccam.nih.gov/about/plans/2005/, presents a series of goals and objectives to guide NCCAM in prioritizing its investments in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research, training, and outreach.
The plan was developed by reviewing NCCAM accomplishments, summarizing the lessons learned, and noting the challenges the Center faces. The document is based on extensive public input, the advice of NCCAM staff, and the recommendations of a distinguished group of outside experts. During the year-long process of development, hundreds of people testified at regional meetings, provided comments in letters and e-mails, and responded to the draft plan on the NCCAM Web site.
“This plan can truly be said to be a collaborative effort and we thank all who participated: our staff, consultants, advisors, and the many members of the CAM and conventional research, education, and practitioner communities, as well as the public at large,” said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “We are grateful for the generous outpouring of interest and advice, and we took all of it into consideration as the plan evolved.”
The plan addresses four key areas—investing in research, training CAM investigators, expanding outreach, and advancing the organization—and sets ambitious goals for the coming years. Goals for research investment are laid out for building research resources; mind-body medicine; biologically based practices; manipulative and body-based practices; energy medicine; whole medical systems; international health research; health services research; and ethical, legal, and social implications of CAM research and integrated medicine.
“As NCCAM continues to make strides in CAM science and practice, we expect to modify the plan to meet new needs and opportunities,” said Straus. “And, as we have done in the past, we will continue to turn to our stakeholders—the public, researchers, and practitioners—for support and counsel as together we expand the horizons of health care.”