National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health

Información en Español

Health Topics A-Z

Q & A with NCCIH Director Dr. Josephine P. Briggs

3min 40sec


Interview with Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Video provided by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. NCCIH was formerly known as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Footage shot at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is the Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine. NCCIH is one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information on this video, contact the NCCIH Press Office: 301-496-7790 or (media inquiries only)

2007 National Health Interview Survey Data on U.S. Adult Use of CAM

“We have new data on the rate of complementary and alternative medicine use by the U.S. public, very reliable data from a survey done with the CDC. And what that is telling us is that 38 percent of American adults are using some form of complementary and alternative medicine to help with their health. Four out of ten adults, approximately.”

Pain: The Most Common Reason Given for the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

“The most common reason why people turn to complementary and alternative medicine in our survey results is chronic back pain, by far and away the leading reason to use complementary and alternative medicine. Neck pain, joint pain, headache: all these other conditions are also given to as common reasons. But chronic back pain is the leading reason; a very common and difficult condition to treat.”

Rigorous Science Is Used to Evaluate Complementary and Alternative Medicine

“Given the high rate of public use, we think it is very important that rigorous science be brought to study these various approaches to health and wellness. The American public is using this so we think the American public wants rigorous science and good answers both about the safety and also how well it works. Their pain conditions are ones which conventional health care methods don't always work well. And so we think that the public use is telling us there's promise, but we need rigorous evaluation. And that's what the science that NCCIH supports will bring to these questions.”

Time to Talk About CAM: Patient-Health Care Provider Interactions

“It is very important that people talk to their physicians and other health care providers about their use of complementary and alternative medicine. We performed a survey together with AARP on this issue, and we were surprised to learn that as many as two-thirds of the people who were using complementary and alternative medicine weren't telling their doctors about it. We think this is a very sizeable concern and it's the reason we have launched a campaign which we call Time to Talk, which provides health care providers and patients with materials to encourage a dialogue. A dialogue about complementary and alternative medicine is a very key part of safe and integrated care. It's part of a team work in which the patient is a key member, but the physician or other health care provider really needs to have the facts in order to ensure that care is coordinated and working to promote the health of the patient.”

NCCAM's Mission

“The mission of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is to bring rigorous science to the study of the various kinds of complementary and alternative medicine modalities being used by the American public. And part of that mission is building the kind of scientific research teams that can do that research. And a third part and a very important part is providing the American public with rigorous scientifically valid information on the safety and efficacy of these various kinds of health care.”

For more information on this video or to obtain a version suitable for b-roll, contact the NCCIH Press Office: 301-496-7790 or (media inquiries only).

This page last modified September 24, 2017