Design of a Multidisciplinary Training Program in Complementary and Integrative Health Clinical Research: Building Research Across Interdisciplinary Gaps.

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Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)


Biomedical Research; Complementary Therapies; Humans; Integrative Medicine; Interdisciplinary Research; Models, Organizational; Universities; Washington


Despite wide use by the public, limited evidence is available for many complementary and integrative health (CIH) practices. Thus, clinical researchers knowledgeable about CIH disciplines are necessary to study the efficacy and effectiveness of CIH practices to benefit the public health. To partially address the need for clinical researchers versed in CIH, the authors of this study report the design of an interprofessional clinical research training program focused on CIH, the Building Research across Interdisciplinary Gaps (BRIDG) program, supported by a 5-year T90/R90 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The T90-supported arm of the program trains doctoral-level CIH providers in clinical research at the research-intensive University of Washington. The R90-supported arm of the program trains researchers with conventional backgrounds in the practices of CIH at the clinic-intensive National University of Natural Medicine. The "Translational Science Spectrum" provides a common conceptual framework for both programs. Specific program elements include: individualized didactic training in clinical research and CIH disciplines; placement with clinical research mentors; placement with clinical mentors in CIH disciplines; shared and independent research project development; and interdisciplinary experiences through seminars and retreats. Program evaluation includes annual completion of the Clinical Research Appraisal Inventory (CRAI), which queries confidence in research skills and methods and periodic evaluation of training elements using the Supplemental Kellogg Logic-World Health Organization model, which emphasizes relevance, adequacy, efficiency, effectiveness, process, impact, equity, and sustainability. The BRIDG program exemplifies a new standard in interprofessional clinical research training, made possible through strong collaboration between disparate research- and clinically intensive institutions.