Medical Science Educator

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 27–34 | Cite as

Benefits, Challenges, and Culture Change Related to Collaborations Between Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Traditional Research-Intensive Institutions

  • Gregory D. CramerEmail author
  • Jane Guiltinan
  • Michele Maiers
  • Stephen Laird
  • Christine Goertz
  • Sylvia E. Furner
  • Mary Jo Kreitzer
  • Jennifer M. Dexheimer
  • Susan Coon
Original Research



This project assessed the nature of collaboration between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and traditional, research-intensive (TRI) institutions among the nine National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)-funded Research Education Partnership Project Awards (R25 grant program).


A blinded 43-question, IRB-approved survey was administered to primary investigators from 19 awarded CAM and TRI institutions. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively. Short-answer questions were assessed qualitatively.


The survey was completed by 84.2 % of the sample. Their collaborations included faculty exchanges, TRI institution seminars and mentorship of CAM faculty and students in research, joint development of courses and evidence-based practice (EBP) resources, and two-way consulting (TRI-CAM and vice versa). The collaborations were characterized as mutually respectful and personally rewarding, being collective efforts, instilling confidence in each others’ work, having open communication, resulting in mutual learning, and leading to subsequent collaborations. The most important success included training and collaboration among faculty (n = 9), developing EBP knowledge and educational materials (n = 7), improving research infrastructure and collaboration opportunities (n = 6), and cultural change toward EBP (n = 5). The greatest progress included providing educational and research opportunities for students and faculty. The primary challenges were related to time constraints of faculty. Over 70 % of respondents believed that the TRI institution influenced culture change in CAM faculty, and 30 % of TRI institutions reported that the R25 collaboration led to culture change at their own institutions.


The responses indicated the CAM-TRI collaborations provided important benefits to both types of institutions, laying the groundwork for continued partnerships and collaboration.


Evidence-based medicine Complementary and alternative medicine Collaborative research 



The authors wish to thank Dr. Erica Oberg for data analysis and research assistants, and Rebecca Furlano and Jenna Ewers for their assistance with data compilation.

Funding support

This work was supported by NIH/NCCAM (Grant #s 1R25AT 002872, 1R25AT002876, 1R25AT0003580, 1R25AT003582, and1R25AT003579).

Other disclosures


Ethical approval

National University of Health Sciences Institutional Review Board approval #201132.



Previous presentations


Supplementary material

40670_2014_77_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (310 kb)
Online Resource 1 The 43-question (some questions with multiple parts), web-based survey developed for and used in this project to collect information about the CAM-TRI collaborations (PDF 309 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Association of Medical Science Educators 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory D. Cramer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jane Guiltinan
    • 2
  • Michele Maiers
    • 3
  • Stephen Laird
    • 4
  • Christine Goertz
    • 5
  • Sylvia E. Furner
    • 6
  • Mary Jo Kreitzer
    • 7
  • Jennifer M. Dexheimer
    • 1
  • Susan Coon
    • 4
  1. 1.National University of Health SciencesLombardUSA
  2. 2.Bastyr UniversitySeattleUSA
  3. 3.Northwestern Health Sciences UniversityMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Kirksville College of Osteopathic MedicineAndrew Taylor Still UniversityKirksvilleUSA
  5. 5.Palmer College of ChiropracticDavenportUSA
  6. 6.School of Public HealthUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  7. 7.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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