Creating Collaborative Relationships: Whole CAM Systems &Complexity Researchers

Project: Research project

Grant Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Complexity theory and methods offer an inherently holistic scientific approach to re-consider some of the core dilemmas facing researchers in whole systems of CAM (WSCAM). The nonlinear, indirect nature of causality in complex systems is more relevant to the individualistic and emergent dynamic patterns of patient responses reported clinically in whole systems of CAM. Previous meetings initiated widespread interest in complexity thinking, yet the CAM research community lacks sufficient expertise within itself for adapting and using complex systems methods to study WSCAM. Therefore, we propose to assemble clinical scientists with experience and interest in WSCAM and scientists/methodologists who have expertise in the analysis of complex systems to: (a) identify analytical techniques used by complexity researchers in systems biology, psychology and the social sciences;(b) establish collaborative/working relationships with those researchers;and (c) develop initial research protocols that apply these techniques to study patient-centered responses to WSCAM treatments. This application seeks support for a three-day (May 16-18, 2009) workshop to be held in conjunction with the North American Research Conference on Complementary &Integrative Medicine in Minneapolis, MN. Three aims have been identified for this scientific meeting. Aim 1. Assemble a critical mass of scientists with expertise in WSCAM and systems scientists with expertise in the analysis of complex systems in selected biopsychosocial domains to explore analytic techniques to evaluate the patient as a complex system and explore the applicability of these techniques in WSCAM research. Aim 2. Facilitate collaboration between complexity scientists and CAM researchers by identifying problem-based workgroups charged with the development of protocols, applying techniques used by systems biologists, developmental and organizational psychologists, physicists and mathematicians to question the effects of WSCAM on the patient as a complex system. Aim 3. Disseminate meeting proceedings in print and electronic format that capture the discussions that occur at the meeting. The deliverables from this conference will be: (1) a set of interdisciplinary research proposals, applying analytical techniques complex systems researchers to study individualized, patient-centered clinical outcomes to WSCAM treatments and (2) published conference proceedings (print and electronic) that capture the methodological and applications discussions resulting from the meeting. Funding is requested for group ground transportation to and from the workshop location (from the site of larger conference), lodging/meeting room costs, travel costs and speakers'fees for invited speakers and participants with expertise in complex systems research, establishment and maintenance of a publically- accessible website, and limited administrative support and supplies. Current co-sponsors for this scientific meeting include the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation, Canada;the University of Arizona, College of Nursing and the U.S-based Samueli Institute, to augment the requested NIH/NCCAM award. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Patients are increasingly seeking treatment with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and report clinical outcomes that are inconsistent with the research findings in the field. Scientists working outside CAM and health care suggest that innovative research methods could be used to study, describe, and explain what patients experience. This conference will bring together clinical researchers from CAM and complexity scientists who are experts in these research techniques to develop new ways to study patient outcomes associated with CAM.
Effective start/end date4/1/093/31/10


  • National Institutes of Health: $10,000.00


  • Medicine(all)


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