We’ve all seen the words complementary, alternative, integrative, but what do they really mean? This fact sheet looks into these terms to help you understand them better and gives you a brief picture of NCCIH’s mission and role in this area of research. PDF
The mission of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), formerly the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative interventions and to provide the public with research-based information to guide health-care decision making.
NCCIH’s programs and organization incorporate 3 long-range goals:
Advance the science and practice of symptom management.
Develop effective, practical, personalized strategies for promoting health and well-being.
Enable better evidence-based decision making regarding use of complementary and integrative therapies and their inclusion in health care and health promotion.
Five major objectives serve the above goals:
Advance research on mind and body interventions, practices, and disciplines.
Advance research on natural products.
Increase understanding of “real world” patterns and outcomes of use of complementary and integrative interventions and their inclusion in health care and health promotion.
Improve the capacity of the field to carry out rigorous research.
Develop and disseminate objective, evidence-based information.
NCCIH sponsors and conducts research, using scientific methods and advanced technologies, at scientific institutions in the United States and around the world. Examples of studies include investigator-initiated and NCCIH-solicited projects, intramural research, basic mechanistic research, translational research, clinical trials, and research centers.
NCCIH also disseminates authoritative information through many avenues, including:
A Web site, nccih.nih.gov
The NCCIH Information Clearinghouse, at https://nccih.nih.gov/health/clearinghouse
Publications such as the NCCIH Clinical Digest and the NCCIH Update
Social media such as a research blog, Facebook (link is external), Twitter (link is external), and YouTube
Lectures, conferences, symposia, and other outreach activities, including exhibits
An online continuing education series
Outreach to health care providers, including through a dedicated portal at http://nccih.nih.gov/health/providers
Other NIH information channels, such as the NIH Pain Consortium, CAM on PubMed, and NIHSeniorHealth.gov.