Tag Archives: complementary and alternative medicine

Integrated Before Integrative

Wayne - Fountain pen

Let’s cut the confusion.  One hears a lot of talk these days about “integrative” health care.

In fact, the name of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recently changed to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. We also hear a lot about the need to have “integrated” systems built into our health care. Approaches such as the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), Accountable Care Organizations (ACA) and improved systems of care are built into the Affordable Care Act.  Continue reading “Integrated Before Integrative” »

The Evidence of Enough

Graphic of connecting dots

Samueli Institute does research: meticulous and rigorous research in the laboratory; pragmatic and personal research in the clinic and with the public. One of the questions we wrestle with all the time with our scientific partners, clinicians and patients is “When and what type of research is enough?”

Is it enough to have three randomized controlled trials and a meta-analysis? Do we require placebo controls for everything? Is it essential to isolate the specific effects of a treatment to be considered scientific? How do we determine what’s really important for patients and the public? Where is the role of stories and narrative in creating evidence? Continue reading “The Evidence of Enough” »

From Worksite Wellness Programs to a Framework for Flourishing


As workplace wellness has exploded into a $6 billion industry, the value of worksite wellness programs has become the topic of a much-needed and vigorous debate. As part of the dialogue, an article by Al Lewis and Vik Khanna in the journal Health Affairs questions whether worksite wellness programs improve health and wellness and save money OR if they cost money, coerce people and create adverse effects.

Many medical interventions (including drugs and surgery) often look good in observational studies only to be shown to be ineffective (or effective in a subgroup only) in rigorously done randomized controlled trials.

My work with the military and at Samueli Institute has shown that the issue is bigger than we thought and it requires a new approach.  Continue reading “From Worksite Wellness Programs to a Framework for Flourishing” »

Agree to Disagree

text books

In an article on the increase of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use for millennials, a fascinating statement was included that explains precisely why Samueli Institute exists:

Steven Salzberg, a professor of medicine, biostatistics and computer science at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, has opposed integrating alternative medicine into academic curriculums. He says most alternative modalities and supplements have shown no scientific evidence of success.

While he concedes that yoga, meditation and massage can be helpful, he says many practitioners and marketers use the CAM label to promote bogus claims. He also warns that some herbal remedies can have “nasty” interactions with prescription medicine. His advice to consumers is to take a skeptical view of the CAM marketplace.[1]

I have debated Dr. Salzberg at Johns Hopkins and I disagree. It is precisely BECAUSE many complementary or integrative modalities have not been sufficiently explored through research that CAM should be taught in medical schools.  Continue reading “Agree to Disagree” »

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