Monday, March 31, 2008

Collaborative research database set up to serve complementary and alternative medicine

March 31, 2008 - The McGill University Health Centre Research Institute and the University of Calgary in collaboration with Centennial College are launching the first-ever searchable database of outcome measures intended for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers - the IN-CAM Outcomes Database. This innovative initiative promises to improve the quality and the range of CAM research that will lead to more effective treatments in the future.

The project is funded by the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation and the Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research (IN-CAM).

IN-CAM co-Directors Dr. Marja Verhoef and Dr. Heather Boon believe that a coordinated, interdisciplinary and collaborative effort is needed to address the many gaps that exist in CAM research, for example, the type of health benefits people are seeking from CAM and how these needs vary depending on a person's beliefs, culture and context. The IN-CAM Outcomes Database recognizes a range of outcome measures which address different health domains.

According to co-investigator Dr. Mark Ware, who is also Director of clinical research at the Pain Clinic of the McGill University Health Centre, this database provides CAM researchers with tools in an interactive forum to improve their research questions and methodology which, hopefully, will foster a community of CAM researchers who can use the IN-CAM Outcomes Database to rate and comment on outcome measures and to propose new measures to be added.

As one of the principal investigators, University of Calgary's Dr. Verhoef will launch the database at the International Conference for Complementary Medicine Research held in Australia from March 28 to 31.

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is a biomedical and health-care hospital research centre. The institute supports over 600 researchers, nearly 1200 graduate and post-doctoral students and operates more than 300 laboratories devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental and clinical research. The Research Institute is inextricably linked to the clinical programs of the MUHC, ensuring that patients benefit directly from the latest research-based knowledge. The Research Institute of the MUHC is supported in part by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec. For further details visit:

The Centennial College Applied Research Centre's mission is to enhance continuous learning, foster social transformation and innovation, increase employment and knowledge transfer, and build partnerships. ARC works closely with industry, communities and government stakeholders to support innovation and commercialization.

Dr. Marja J. Verhoef (University of Calgary) was the first President of the Foundation of the International Society of Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR).

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