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NCCIH Research Blog

Join NCCIH at the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health

April 16, 2016

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.


Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

For the past 5 years, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has actively participated in planning and offering a wide array of sessions at the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (ICIMH) conferences. We’re pleased to participate in the ICIMH planning committee for this year’s Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education, and Policy conference in May and are excited to provide seven scientific and educational sessions for conference participants.

ICIMH will take place at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 17-20, 2016. The Congress is convened by the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, in association with the International Society for Complementary Research, the Integrative Health Policy Consortium, the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, and the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine. ICIMH’s mission is to foster the development of new collaborations and to strengthen existing partnerships within the field of integrative medicine and health. The upcoming ICIMH conference will have four content areas: research, policy, education, and clinical care. The Congress will showcase original scientific research through keynote and plenary sessions, oral and poster presentations, and innovative sessions. Please consult the full conference program for complete information about all the scientific sessions offered during the 4-day international conference.

NCCIH is sponsoring the following seven sessions this year. Future blog posts will provide in-depth information on each session. Please stay tuned! And we hope that you can join us at the conference!

View registration information »

NCCIH Sessions Offered at the ICIMH International Research Conference:

NCCIH will present the following seven sessions at the ICIMH conference:

NCCIH Career Development Opportunities (5/17/16) Research – Pre-Congress Workshop

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the workshop will be to provide attendees with information about research fellowships and career development opportunities in complementary and integrative health by providing an understanding of the various types of fellowships and other career opportunities. The workshop will highlight NCCIH's research priorities, the value of mentoring and networking in career development, and specific research fellowships and career development opportunities available from NCCIH. The application and review process will also be addressed, as well as developing a research scope and hypothesis in human mechanistic and clinical studies.

Can Complementary & Integrative Approaches for Pain Management Engage Brain Circuitry of Endogenous Pain Modulation? (5/18/16) Clinical Concurrent Session

DESCRIPTION: The subjective experience of pain engages complex interactions between neural and biochemical processes in the peripheral tissues and in the central nervous system. Nonpharmacologic therapies that may robustly engage the endogenous neural circuits involved in the subjective experience of pain to achieve analgesic effects may represent effective complementary approaches for pain management. This NCCIH-sponsored symposium will explore innovative research directions, in particular neuroscience research on mindfulness meditation and placebo effects, with the goal to harness and optimize the responses in neural circuits to influence endogenous pain modulation.

Selecting the “Right” Comparators for Meditative Movement Interventions Research (5/19/16) Research Panel Discussion

DESCRIPTION: By their very nature, meditative movement therapies, such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, are multicomponent interventions including meditative techniques, breathing exercises, and forms of physical activity. In addition, all of these interventions can provide nonspecific effects such as expectations for improvement, teacher attention, and social support. Investigators employing these therapies as a health intervention often struggle to define the mechanism of effect, which renders the selection of the most appropriate comparator group difficult. This session will review the process of defining the hypothesis of interest and using that hypothesis to guide the selection of a comparator group. Selection of the appropriate comparator group is paramount to being able to meaningfully interpret study results. Current investigators will discuss the pros and cons of comparing separate elements of each therapy, which may elucidate active ingredients, versus examining them as a whole therapy, which may show interactions among components and potential synergistic or additive effects. Presenters will also discuss measurement techniques relevant to meditative movement therapies to gather information on the mechanism of effects and allow for more rigorous hypothesis testing. The NCCIH representative will highlight funding opportunities to support proper development of both the intervention and comparator groups, and to support mechanistic work to increase the impact of the active ingredients of these interventions. The session will provide a panel discussion at the end to answer questions from the audience and stimulate dialogue among the attendees.

Models of Basic Human Mechanistic Studies for Complementary and Integrative Health Research (5/19/16) Concurrent Session

DESCRIPTION: Understanding basic mechanisms of complementary and integrative health approaches is critical for optimizing these interventions and identifying potentially responsive populations. We focus the discussion on two types of mechanism research: modifiable mechanistic research that explores mechanisms that may be modifiable by the interventions; and predictive mechanistic research, which is used to delineate specific subject characteristics to ascertain their predictive power for intervention responders versus nonresponders. Studies exploring modifiable and predictive mechanisms may require different study designs and analytic approaches. With increased awareness and emphasis on scientific rigor and reproducibility in the research community, it is essential to establish a common framework, develop guidance, and set standards for research focusing on basic human mechanistic studies. Examples of NCCIH funding opportunity announcements and studies that are funded by NCCIH, as well as study design and analytical methodologies, will be discussed.

NCCIH Priorities and Funding Opportunities for Clinical Research: Designs To Match the Stage of Research (5/19/16) Concurrent Session

DESCRIPTION: NCCIH is one of the primary funding sources for researchers in the United States who are interested in studying the effects of natural products or mind and body interventions. A substantial portion of the NCCIH portfolio of research includes studies to examine the effects of these interventions on human subjects. Dr. Wendy Weber will summarize the NCCIH priority areas and specific funding opportunities to support clinical research, which utilizes a staged framework. This symposium will provide attendees with a better understanding of the NCCIH framework for mind and body intervention clinical research and the pathway for studying the effects of natural products in human subjects. The importance of early clinical studies to develop and refine mind and body interventions prior to launching efficacy or effectiveness studies will be emphasized, as well as the need to demonstrate a natural product’s biological signature before moving into efficacy studies. Dr. Wen Chen will provide information about how mechanistic studies of mind and body interventions can be done to optimize the interventions prior to efficacy or effectiveness studies. Finally, Dr. Martina Schmidt will present a summary of the unique review criteria and required elements for NCCIH clinical research funding opportunities. Time will be reserved for the attendees to ask questions of the NCCIH panel about how to submit clinical research applications to NCCIH and what current priorities are for clinical research.

How To Communicate Your Research Results to the Public: Working with Traditional and Social Media Outlets (5/20/16) Education

DESCRIPTION: According to an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) survey, 51 percent of AAAS scientists say they have at least some contact with reporters about research findings. In addition, 47 percent of AAAS scientists say they use social media to talk about science or to read about scientific developments at least some of the time. This indicates that traditional media, along with digital and social media tools, play prominent and important roles in the way researchers communicate their work to the public and to each other. This workshop is designed for researchers who are interested in better communicating their scientific results to the public through the use of traditional media and social media. It is designed to provide (1) an overview of the importance of communicating research results to the public, (2) an understanding of media relations and how to share scientific research with media outlets, (3) an understanding of social media and how researchers can incorporate these tools into their professional lives, and (4) resources for future exploration on this topic.

Funding Your Research: Going Beyond the Standard NIH R01 (5/20/16) Education - Panel Discussion

For the past few years, securing research funding has been a major challenge for investigators in the biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences fields at all career stages. This session will highlight various funding opportunities from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund and from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Our goal is to present different options to leverage federally funded existing research infrastructure and advance research and capacity building in complementary and integrative health. The NIH Common Fund was enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act to support cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs that require participation by at least two NIH Institutes or Centers (ICs) or would otherwise benefit from strategic planning and coordination. Dr. Emmeline Edwards will introduce the High Risk High Reward programs including the Pioneer, Innovator, and Transformative R01 awards and the Early Independence Investigator award. Examples of funded research under these funding opportunities will be provided. PCORI is an independent nonprofit, nongovernmental research organization with a mandate to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, clinicians, employers, insurers, and policymakers make informed health decisions. Specifically, PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research, or CER, as well as support work that will improve the methods used to conduct such studies. Dr. Christine Goertz will discuss two distinct approaches to the initial funding of CER: broad PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs) that solicit CER proposals that are aligned with national priorities and meet requirements for patient-centeredness and stakeholder engagement; and, with strong input and support from key stakeholder groups, specific “targeted” PFAs focused on a single question or a slightly broader topical area with the purpose of making large investments in research questions and areas of national importance.


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