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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181c7ebd5
Letters to the Editor

More About the Evidence in Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine Programs

Briggs, Josephine MD; Killen, Jack MD

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Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.(Briggs)

Deputy director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; jkillen@mail.nih.gov.(Killen)

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To the Editor:

In their article “An evaluation of the evidence in ‘evidence-based’ integrative medicine programs,” Marcus and McCullough1 refer to a 1999–2003 program in support of curriculum development on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the NIH. Their statement that “the premise of the NCCAM program was that there was strong evidence supporting the efficacy of some complementary and alternative therapies” is incorrect (italics added). In fact, the original solicitation2 made no reference to the efficacy of CAM therapies. The program was undertaken to address concerns that physicians and other health care practitioners had relatively little reliable training or information about CAM therapies, even though approximately 40% of adult patients were employing these practices. The premise of the program was that the education and training of conventional practitioners about the state of the evidence regarding CAM would help ensure better communication with, advice for, and care of, their patients.

Josephine Briggs, MD

Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Jack Killen, MD

Deputy director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; jkillen@mail.nih.gov.

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References

1 Marcus DM, McCullough L. An evaluation of the evidence in “evidence-based” integrative medicine programs. Acad Med. 2009;84:1229–1234.

2 NIH Guide: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Education Project Grant. Available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-00-027.html. Accessed October 5, 2009.

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges

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