I'm very pleased to announce three new appointments in NCCAM’s Division of Extramural Research (DER).
First, Partap Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D., has been appointed the first Deputy Director of the Division. Dr. Khalsa has been with NCCAM for 8 years, initially as a Program Director overseeing our research portfolio on manual therapies and, later, our meditation with movement research program (yoga, tai chi, and qi gong). He is also an outstanding expert in pain research. His new duties include serving as a key advisor to both Dr. Briggs and me and having primary administrative oversight of DER.
Two additional appointments are a result of restructuring the Division in response to an expansion of our research portfolios.
Wendy Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., is Chief of our new Clinical Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch. Dr. Weber, who was an NCCAM Program Director for 5 years, is also a former NCCAM grantee and has deep knowledge of clinical research. For the past 2 years, she has also worked extensively with the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory, and she will bring to DER valuable expertise in clinical trial designs in developing new clinical research programs for the Division.
John S. Williamson, Ph.D., is Chief of the new Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch. Dr. Williamson, who holds a doctorate in medicinal chemistry, will help us expand our program in basic and mechanistic research in natural products. He will continue to maintain a portfolio of grants in this topic area.
Drs. Khalsa, Weber, and Williamson competed successfully in nationwide searches. They will maintain some programmatic involvement and continue to engage directly with the NCCAM research community.
I am excited about these staff developments and look forward to evaluation of our scientific portfolios. For example, as we look to the future, NCCAM is interested in applying and utilizing mind and body therapies to address symptom management, especially pain. Stimulating research on the use of complementary approaches for symptom management in military and veteran populations is another priority. We also would like to expand research on interactions between natural products and drugs. Our ongoing portfolio review may reveal other promising research directions.
Please join me in congratulating Drs. Khalsa, Weber, and Williamson on their new positions.