NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Agency Name Change

NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health:

Agency Name Change

By Evelyn Cunico, M.A., M.S.
Posted February 10, 2015

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) agency with primary responsibility for research on promising health approaches that already are in use by the American public has a new name – the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

The name change from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) was mandated as part of the omnibus budget that the U.S. Congress passed and President Obama signed in December 2014.

The mission of the Center remains the same, as researchers will continue to study the “usefulness and safety” of complementary and integrative approaches, and to provide the public with science-based information to guide health care decision-making.

The Center’s research priorities also remain the same, as products and practices are prioritized by four guiding principles:

  • Scientific promise
  • Suitability for study using high-quality research methods
  • Use by the American public
  • Potential impact on public health

Why is the Name Change from “Alternative” to “Integrative”  Important to the American Consumer?

According to large population-based surveys, complementary approaches have grown in use to the point that Americans no longer consider them an alternative to medical care. For example, more than half of Americans report using a dietary supplement.

“Integrative health care,” which can be defined as combining complementary approaches into conventional treatment plans, has grown nationwide within health care settings, such as hospitals, hospices, and military health facilities.

For example, cancer treatment centers with integrative health care programs may offer services such as acupuncture and meditation to help manage symptoms and side effects for patients who are receiving conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.

NCCIH generally uses the phrase, “complementary health approaches,” when referring to practices and products that NCCIH researchers study using strong scientific methods, to find if they may be useful and safe for use together with conventional medicine.

The goal of an integrative approach is to enhance overall health, to prevent disease, and to ease symptoms, such as pain and anxiety, that often affect patients coping with complex and chronic disease.

History of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

In 1992, the U.S. Congress established the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) within the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH), to facilitate study and evaluation of complementary and alternative medical practices, and to disseminate the information to the public.

In 1998, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) was established by Congress, raising the OAM to the status of an NIH Center.

In February 2011, NCCAM released, “Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Third Strategic Plan 2011-2015,” which continues to guide NCCIH’s work.

In December 2014, Congress mandated the name change from the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Mission of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

The mission of NCCIH is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health approaches and their roles in improving health and health care. For additional information, call the NCCIH Clearinghouse, toll free, at 1-888-644-6226.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit NIH dot gov.

A disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or to treat any disease without first consulting with your medical doctor or other health care provider.

References

 National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). “Frequently Asked Questions: Name Change.”
(Accessed 09 February 2015)

National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). “Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s in a Name?”
(Accessed 08 February 2015)

National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). “Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: NCCAM Strategic Plan 2011-2015.”
(Accessed 08 February 2015)

National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). “NIH Complementary and Integrative Health Agency Gets New Name.”
(Accessed 20 January 2015)

National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). “Statistics from National Health Interview Survey.” 
(Accessed 09 February 2015)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s