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Objective 5: Disseminate Objective Evidence-based Information on Complementary and Integrative Health Interventions

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It is critical that the public, health care providers, researchers, and policymakers be informed and knowledgeable about the safety and effectiveness of complementary and integrative health interventions. They also should have access to information about ongoing research and research results, as well as information about NCCIH’s scientific priorities and funding initiatives.

NCCIH faces several challenges with regard to translating and disseminating complex scientific information to an interested and engaged public. First, the landscape of complementary and integrative health is inundated with information, some of it overtly promotional, and much of it either not based on evidence or of questionable quality and reliability. Second, there is evidence that individuals who use complementary health approaches often do not discuss their use with their conventional health care providers. Instead, they rely on other sources, including family and friends, practitioners of complementary health approaches, and information gleaned from the Internet, popular media, and advertising.

Going forward, NCCIH must continue to ensure that its presentation of evidence-based information on complementary health interventions is scientifically objective, appropriately balances what is known and not known about their safety and effectiveness, and provides context in the landscape of conventional treatment approaches. By extension, NCCIH also must develop methods and approaches to enhance the public’s understanding of basic scientific concepts and biomedical research to lay a foundation of knowledge for the better understanding of information and improved decisionmaking. Importantly, NCCIH must provide information that is engaging, accessible, and of value to the public, health care providers, researchers, and policymakers, given the flood of information in the public domain and the frequent self-care use of complementary health approaches.

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