The global need to develop clinician–scientists capable of using research in clinical practice, translating research knowledge into practice, and carrying out research that affects the quality, efficacy, and efficiency of health care is well documented. The complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professions embrace the call to develop physician–researchers to carry out translational and applied research for CAM modalities. CAM universities face unique challenges when implementing research training compared with traditional, research-intensive (TRI) universities and medical centers where the majority of medical research is carried out.
The authors present the development and outcomes of a mentored research program (MRP) between a CAM and a TRI institution, the National University of Health Sciences and the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, between 2006 and 2012. CAM predoctoral students engaged in a full-immersion semester at the TRI, including didactic courses and active research with a TRI faculty research mentor. Half of the participating doctor of chiropractic (DC) students continued on to PhD programs, and half established integrative medicine, primary care clinical careers.
Establishing rigorous criteria for mentors and mentees, communicating expectations, developing solid relationships between the mentor, mentee, and home school advisor, responding quickly to impediments, and providing adequate support from CAM and TRI investigators were key to the MRP's success. To sustain research opportunities, coordinated degree programs for the DC and master of public health and master of clinical and translational research were established.
Dr. Sullivan is assistant professor, Department of Research, National University of Health Sciences, Lombard, Illinois.
Dr. Furner is associate professor, emerita, of epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Cramer is professor and dean, Department of Research, National University of Health Sciences, Lombard, Illinois.
Funding/Support: This article was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25AT002872.
Other disclosures: None reported.
Ethical approval: The National University of Health Sciences institutional review board reviewed and approved this project (August 24, 2005 to July 31, 2013; project H0508).
Disclaimer: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25AT002872. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Previous presentations: Sullivan BM, Furner SE, Cramer GD. Developing a student mentored research program between complementary and alternative medicine and traditional, research intensive universities to foster evidence-based practitioners and clinician–researchers. Presented at: Fostering Research Literacy (2C.01) International Congress for Educators in Complementary and Integrative Medicine Conference, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, October 24, 2012.
Sullivan BM, Furner SE, Cramer GD. Development of a student mentored research program between a complementary and alternative medicine university and a traditional, research intensive university. Presented at: Association of Chiropractic Colleges Educational Conference and Research Agenda Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 15–17, 2012. The Journal of Chiropractic Education 2012.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Cramer, National University of Health Sciences, Department of Research, 200 E. Roosevelt Rd., Lombard, IL 60148; telephone: (630) 889-6536; fax: (630) 495-6664; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.