U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

From Academic Kids

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine or NCCAM, is a United States government agency. NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals.


Organization and history

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is 1 of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States federal government. The NIH is one of eight agencies under the Public Health Service (PHS) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

NCCAM was established in October, 1991, as the Office of Alternative Medicine, which was re-established as the NCCAM in October, 1998. Its mission statement declares that it is "dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science; training complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers; and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals."

The NCCAM funds research into complementary and alternative medicine, including support for clinical trials of CAM techniques.

NCCAM and its predecessor, the Office of Alternative Medicine, have spent more than $200 million on such research since 1991 but have neither succeeded in demonstrating the efficacy of a single alternative method nor declared any alternative medicine treatment ineffective. [1] (http://www.csicop.org/si/2003-09/alternative-medicine.html)


NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals.

The four primary areas of focus are:

  • Research - support clinical and basic science research projects in CAM by awarding grants across the country and around the world; we also design, study, and analyze clinical and laboratory-based studies on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
  • Research training and career development - award grants that provide training and career development opportunities for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and career researchers.
  • Outreach - sponsor conferences, educational programs, and exhibits; operate an information clearinghouse to answer inquiries and requests for information; provide a Web site and printed publications; and hold town meetings at selected locations in the United States.
  • Integration - integrate scientifically proven CAM practices into conventional medicine by announcing published research results; studying ways to integrate evidence-based CAM practices into conventional medical practice; and supporting programs to develop models for incorporating CAM into the curriculum of medical, dental, and nursing schools.


  • NCCAM was established by Congress in 1998.
  • NCCAM receives its funding from Congress.View Appropriations (http://nccam.nih.gov/about/appropriations)
NCCAM is organized into two divisions and eight offices: 
 o Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT)
    + Office of International Health Research
    + Office of Special Populations
    + Office of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs
 o Division of Intramural Research
 o Office of the Director
 o Executive Office
    + Office of Administrative Operations
 o Office of Communications and Public Liaison
 o Office of Science Policy and Operations
 o Office of Scientific Review

Other facts

  • NCCAM offers multi-level peer-review process for grant applications we receive. Scientists, practitioners, and members of the public who volunteer to serve as peer reviewers on NCCAM study sections provide valuable input in the evaluation of grant applications.
  • NCCAM receives advice and recommendations from the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  • NCCAM also receives advice and recommendations from Federal representatives that serve on the Transagency CAM Coordinating Committee.
  • Databases located on the NCCAM Web site include: CAM on PubMed[2] (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nccam/camonpubmed.html), a subset of the National Library of Medicine's PubMed, which provides access to complementary and alternative medicine journal citations; and CHID[3] (http://chid.nih.gov/index.html) (the Combined Health Information Database), a reference tool to find patient education materials.
  • The NCCAM Clearinghouse is the public point of contact for scientifically based information on CAM and for information about NCCAM.


NCCAM Publication No. D158; June 2002
. That publicatoin is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. URL: http://nccam.nih.gov/about/aboutnccam/index.htm. Access 2005/03/20

External links


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