Benefits, Challenges, and Culture Change Related to Collaborations Between Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Traditional Research-Intensive Institutions

Gregory D. Cramer, Jane Guiltinan, Michele Maiers, Stephen Laird, Christine Goertz, Sylvia E. Furner, Mary Jo Kreitzer, Jennifer M. Dexheimer, Susan Coon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: This project assessed the nature of collaboration between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and traditional, research-intensive (TRI) institutions among the nine National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)-funded Research Education Partnership Project Awards (R25 grant program). Method: A blinded 43-question, IRB-approved survey was administered to primary investigators from 19 awarded CAM and TRI institutions. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively. Short-answer questions were assessed qualitatively. Results: The survey was completed by 84.2 % of the sample. Their collaborations included faculty exchanges, TRI institution seminars and mentorship of CAM faculty and students in research, joint development of courses and evidence-based practice (EBP) resources, and two-way consulting (TRI-CAM and vice versa). The collaborations were characterized as mutually respectful and personally rewarding, being collective efforts, instilling confidence in each others’ work, having open communication, resulting in mutual learning, and leading to subsequent collaborations. The most important success included training and collaboration among faculty (n = 9), developing EBP knowledge and educational materials (n = 7), improving research infrastructure and collaboration opportunities (n = 6), and cultural change toward EBP (n = 5). The greatest progress included providing educational and research opportunities for students and faculty. The primary challenges were related to time constraints of faculty. Over 70 % of respondents believed that the TRI institution influenced culture change in CAM faculty, and 30 % of TRI institutions reported that the R25 collaboration led to culture change at their own institutions. Conclusions: The responses indicated the CAM-TRI collaborations provided important benefits to both types of institutions, laying the groundwork for continued partnerships and collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding support This work was supported by NIH/NCCAM (Grant #s 1R25AT 002872, 1R25AT002876, 1R25AT0003580, 1R25AT003582, and1R25AT003579).

Funding Information:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) sponsored the “CAM Practitioner Research Education Project Grant Partnership” (NIH/NCCAM PAR-04-097) [1]. The goal of this funding opportunity was

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, International Association of Medical Science Educators.


  • Collaborative research
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Evidence-based medicine


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