Appendix 2

Appendix 2

Track record of RCCM:  Leading the way in CAM research for 25 years

Laying the foundations

From the moment of its foundation in 1983 the Research Council for Complementary Medicine set to work by focussing on the issues that needed to be addressed in establishing a research ethos in the fields of CAM. Increasing numbers of people were consulting CAM practitioners and seemingly deriving much benefit from their treatments but there was a dearth of good quality evidence to support their adoption in the wider healthcare community.

In March 1985 our first open Research Methodology Conference, held at the British School of Osteopathy under the chairmanship of Prof (Sir) Michael Marmot, was attended by 120 participants. Later that year the RCCM was able to establish a Research Methodology Fellowship at Glasgow University, funded jointly with the Medical Research Council.

From then until 1993 the RCCM mounted a number of workshops and conferences to encourage audit and research skills in the CAM community both for practitioners and for educational establishments. It also sponsored a number of projects and initiated a series of ‘first- rung awards’ to encourage research in clinical settings by practitioners new to the field.  Projects were varied, including homeopathy and hay fever, yoga and stress, acupressure and nausea, osteopathy and back pain, to name but a few. It also initiated, and with the British Library, published ‘Complementary Medical Research’, a journal which for several years, was the only English language publication devoted exclusively to research into CAM.

At the same time as all these activities were taking place, the RCCM established the Centralised Information Service for Complementary Medicine (CISCOM) which was the first database dedicated solely to CAM. The RCCM has since been commissioned by the Department of Health to develop a database of published CAM evidence in five priority areas of public health including mental health and cardiovascular disease. The RCCM has always been aware of the need for research in CAM to be conducted with due consideration of the philosophies and principles which underpin many of its disciplines. One of its projects attempted to identify these principles and examine their significance in the move towards integrated healthcare.

Over time, CAM has become more widely accepted, and individuals and professional organisations have become more aware of the need for research in their own therapies.  The RCCM decided to focus more closely on education in research, familiarising orthodox health professionals with CAM, and the provision of research information.

And so to the present, where the RCCM, even with its limited resources has been able to:

  • Conduct a major three year project funded by and for the Department of Health to assess CAM interventions in NHS priority areas by detailed review and critical appraisal of published research. This included the information held in CISCOM, which now contains over 85,000 citations of CAM research. More recently, the DoH funded us to co-ordinate a project that has led to the NHS National Library for Health CAM Specialist library.
  • Create a unique thesaurus of CAM terms, which forms a reference work in its own right and also enables re-indexing of the CISCOM database to make retrieval of research information more comprehensive. This was supported by the King’s Fund.
  • Develop the CAM Researcher Network (CAMRN) web pages to provide a single source of information on CAM research and resources, events and conferences, books and book reviews, training and courses, job opportunities and interaction with fellow CAM researchers.

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Created on22 August, 2011 - 14:06