National Town Hall Meeting on Complementary and Alternative Medicine

03/14/02    Portland, Ore.

Residents from the Northwest will hear about various complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments including acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and herbal therapies during a national town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 19. The meeting, which will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, is sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Portland was chosen as the host site for this meeting because of the area's rich interest in complementary and alternative therapies. Portland also hosts two research centers funded by NCCAM, the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Craniofacial Disorders, based at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research (CHR), and the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders, based at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Each of these centers pairs traditional researchers with CAM therapists to investigate promising CAM treatments in a cooperative manner.

The meeting will be hosted by Stephen E. Straus, M.D., director of NCCAM, and Barry Oken, M.D., and B. Alex White, D.D.S., Dr.P.H., directors for the research centers at OHSU and CHR respectively. The program will begin with an overview of the national center, and a report on the status and future of CAM research by Straus. Audience members will also learn about Oregon's two regional research centers from their directors. Margie Boule, columnist for The Oregonian, will act as moderator for the meeting.

"This is a major public outreach event for NCCAM and the third town meeting we have sponsored," said Straus. "I am looking forward to a successful event -- one that will provide us with invaluable insights into the CAM issues that concern residents of the Pacific Northwest." He added, "It should also offer attendees an opportunity to better understand the research that NCCAM supports to determine whether many CAM practices are safe and effective."

In addition, the town hall meeting will feature scientists from across the country studying CAM treatments. One of the highlights will be a presentation on acupuncture research being conducted in the Northwest. Richard Hammerschlag, Ph.D., from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), will discuss the usefulness of acupuncture as a therapy for neurological and craniofacial disorders. OCOM is collaborating with researchers at both CHR and OHSU.

Another presentation will be made by William Meeker, D.C., M.P.H., of the Consortial Center for Chiropractic Research, headquartered in Davenport, Iowa. He will discuss the emergence of chiropractic treatment as a mainstream alternative therapy and research into its effectiveness for a number of disorders.

The third topical presentation will be given by David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UCLA Center for Dietary Supplements Research. He will discuss the growing interest in the use of botanicals to treat illness and promising research on this therapy.

Throughout the program, meeting attendees will have opportunities to ask presenters about the effectiveness of CAM therapies and their research. Questions can be submitted by fax in advance, in writing at the event, or at a public microphone.

"One of the features of both CAM centers in Portland is collaboration," said Kaiser Permanente's White. "We are fortunate to have research partners and clinicians from diverse conventional and CAM orientations who have come together with a commitment to improve health and health care through science. The town hall meeting will provide a forum for us to share some of our work with the community."

OHSU's Oken agrees, "The Northwest is the perfect site for a town hall meeting on CAM therapies. The region has a rich interest in complementary and alternative treatments. This is one of the major reasons NCCAM decided to fund two alternative medicine research centers in our area of the country."

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is one of 27 separate institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with its main campus located in Bethesda, Md. NCCAM's mission is to stimulate, develop, and support research on complementary and alternative medicine for the benefit of the public. As part of this mission, NCCAM hosts annual public town hall meetings. The first two meetings took place in Boston and Tucson, Ariz. respectively. Portland is the host of the third town hall meeting. All of the town hall forums are held in conjunction with annual directors' meetings of the 16 research centers that NCCAM funds.

The Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Craniofacial Disorders, based at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research (CHR), is a collaboration among scientists and practitioners at CHR, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, National College of Naturopathic Medicine, OHSU's School of Dentistry, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Oregon School of Massage and Western States Chiropractic College. The goal of the center is to study complementary and alternative treatments for craniofacial disorders, such as temporomandibular joint disease and periodontal disease.

The Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders, based at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), is a collaboration among scientists and practitioners at OHSU, Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Western States Chiropractic College. The goal of this center is to study complementary and alternative medicine treatments for neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

INFORMATION FOR THE PUBLIC    

WHAT:    

National town hall meeting on complementary and alternative medicine research, sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH

WHEN:   

Tuesday, March 19, 2 - 5 p.m.

WHERE:    

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, S.W. Broadway and Main, Portland

DETAILS:    

The meeting is free. However, reserved seating is encouraged. Call toll-free 866 843-8577 to reserve seats. Written questions to be asked during the town hall meeting can be faxed in advance to 866 843-8576.


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