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The Integrator Blog. News, Reports and Networking for the Business, Education, Policy and Practice of Integrative Medicine, CAM and Integrated Health Care. - Honoring AOM Researcher Richard Hammerschlag, PhD: Six Voices on His Role and Retirement
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Honoring AOM Researcher Richard Hammerschlag, PhD: Six Voices on His Role and Retirement PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Honoring Acupuncture Researcher Richard Hammerschlag, PhD: Six Voices on His Roles and Post-Retirement Plans

Summary:  This Integrator article honors acupuncture and Oriental medicine researcher Richard Hammerschlag, PhD, who retires this month from a decade of productive leadership as researcher, author, educator and infrastructure-builder. Those commenting include Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA, Brian Berman, MD, Anne Nedrow, MD, Rosa Schnyer, LAc, DAOM, Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, and Dan Cherkin, PhD. Hammerschlag was not only the lead researcher from a CAM institution in the AOM field. He also played important roles in SAR, OCIM, ACCAHC and NARCCIM. Hammerschlag's own comments and those of Berman speak to Hammerschlag's upcoming role as a scholar at the Institute for Integrative Health which Berman founded.

Richard Hammerschlag, PhD
In September 2009, Richard Hammerschlag, PhD, will retire from his career as a researcher directly focusing on acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM).  Hammerschlag's contributions and leadership are extensive, including not only the most extensive NIH NCCAM-funded portfolio for a researcher based in an AOM education and research center (see portfolio below) but contributions as an author on AOM research and also in building the field's research and education infrastructure.

Here are comments on Hammerschlag's work from a half-dozen leaders in integrative healthcare research and education. These begin with Hammerschlag's own comments on his
retirement plans, then move back to some on his first employment as a research director at a complementary and alternative medicine educational institution. The comments end with a note from Brian Berman, MD on Hammerschlag's post-retirement affiliation with the Institute for Integrative Health. Here is Hammerschlag's note to the Integrator on what is next:
"Most of my post-retirement research activities will be focused as a scholar of the new Institute for Integrative Health that Brian Berman has created. I will be returning to my physiology and biochemistry roots, in combination with my parallel interests in the biofield and other poorly understood ‘subtle energy’ phenomena, to help strengthen the emerging view of ‘energy physiology’. 

Hammerschlag on his
retirement plans

"Energy medicine will remain
marginalized until it develops
a coherent ‘energy physiology
model’ for itself.

"I hope to contribute to this
model-building process."
"I feel that biomedicine gains enormous credibility from its relatively long-standing biomedical model of the body and that energy medicine will remain marginalized until it develops a coherent ‘energy physiology model’ for itself. I hope to contribute to this model-building process. 

"The tasks sounds daunting but this is the sandbox in which I have long planned to play and I am delighted at the prospect of finally having the time to read and think about so many articles and books that I have tucked away for just this time.

Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD: Hired RH at OCOM
1.  Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD: Hiring Hammerschlag as Research Director at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine

Elizabeth "Liza" Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA hired Hammerschlag to come on as research director at the 
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in 1999. Goldblatt, a leading academic in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, was serving at that time as OCOM's president. Goldblatt is presently vice president for the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
"I first met Richard in the mid-1990’s. At that time, I was President of the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) and Richard had come to one of our national meetings where he was the Academic Dean at Yosan University in Los Angeles. I vividly remember our first meeting and afterward I kept thinking that he should be a research director at one of our colleges. He was so enthusiastic and passionate about acupuncture and Oriental medicine, keen on bringing research into our colleges, and enjoying his position at Yosan.

Initiatives in Which
Hammerschlag Played
a Key Role

Society for Acupuncture

Academic Consortium for
Complementary and
Alternative Health Care -
Research Working Group

Oregon Collaborative
for Integrative Medicine

North American Research
Conference on Complementary
and Integrative Medicine

"Over the next few years, I kept thinking that he should be a leader in our field in research considering his superb expertise in this area. While I was President of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), I was approached by Kaiser [Northwest Permanente] [and [Oregon Health and Science University] about being part of their research projects as both institutions were going to apply for NIH NCCAM center grants. I realized that these were opportunities that OCOM could not pass up. To really participate properly, OCOM had to hire a research director. Collaborative research is one of the best ways that practitioners learn about one another, working side by side in clinical research projects.

"I knew that I must begin to ‘court’ Richard to become OCOM’s first Research Director. I have always believed that one goes for the best. As I looked around the country for OCOM’s first research director, I knew that Richard was, quite literally, the best. I didn’t know it when I met Richard that he had a daughter in Oregon. I told him that he had the rare opportunity, perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity, to become Research Director at an AOM college that was going to be part of two NIH NCCAM grants and that he could live near his daughter and grand-children. Then, I told him that in being a research director, he could do so much for our field. Research brings health care fields credibility, as well as open many doors to our students, faculty and alumni.

"I think that Richard, at heart, knew he was a researcher (after all – he had been at City of Hope for all those years). He finally decided to make the leap in 1999 and he came to OCOM. It was my tremendous pleasure and honor to work with Richard, to support the OCOM Research Department, and have him as a colleague and friend. Thank you Richard – for all you have done for our field, for your great sense of humor and for profound commitment to research."

Hammerschlag: NIH NCCAM grants for which
he served as PI or Co-PI

PI = Principal Investigator; Co-I = Co-Investigator

 Grant #
   Grant Title
 R21 AT00453   Endometriosis Pain: Chinese Medicine
vs. Hormone Therapy
 P50 AT00066   Oregon Center for Complementary and
Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders
 P50 AT00076   Oregon Center for Complementary and
Alternative Medicine Research in
Craniofacial Disorders
 R25 AT001173   Oregon CAM Project
 U19 AT002656   Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
Expectancy and Outcomes
 R25 AT002879   Acupuncture Practitioner Research
Education Enhancement
 R01 AT002570   CM for TMD: A Multi-Site Whole-Systems Trial

Compiled based on information supplied by Hammerschlag in mid-2008.

Rosa Schnuyer, LAc, DAOM: Successor to RH at SAR
2.  Rosa Schnyer, LAc, PhD: Hammerschlag and the Society for Acupuncture Research

Hammerschlag co-founded and led for many years the Society for Acupuncture Research, for which Rosa N. Schnyer, DAOM, LAc currently serves as co-president. Schnyer was formerly associated with the New England School of Acupuncture and is presently clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin. She describes herself as a "clinician at heart" who emphasizes, in her research, the need to employ innovative research methodologies that better reflect clinical practice.
"Richard Hammerschlag has inspired a generation and has helped bridge two worlds that only a decade and a half ago seemed tangentially opposite to each other. With his characteristic sense of humor and unremitting patience, Richard has sparked curious skepticism and fostered a passion for scientific inquiry equally among healers and educators. With the careful precision of a former neurobiologist, Richard has, at the same time, unveiled to countless skeptics the possibility of an energy physiology.

"Richard’s keynote address at the closing of the Society for Acupuncture Research Conference in 2007 exemplifies his visionary spirit and reveals his passion for word play. The conference marked the 10 years since the NIH Consensus Conference in Acupuncture and helped framed a decade of research in the field.

"Richard spoke of the CAMELOT Research Institute (Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Evidence, Laboratory, Outcomes and Trials) a virtual 'think tank' with a current mission of developing white papers on the present state and future directions of CAM. As the audience sat on the edge of their seats, trying to log on and check out the website for this new, fascinating Institute, Richard revealed that neither the CAMELOT Research Institute nor its website actually exist; we the conference attendants were in fact this virtual think tank and it behooved us to nurture this amazing community of learners, thinkers, healers and researchers, right now all sitting under the same roof.

"On behalf of the Society for Acupuncture Research, the acupuncture community, and the field of CAM in general, I am honored to express our gratitude for Richard Hammerschlag and reflect with sincere appreciation on the legacy and gift of a wonderful mentor, a wise teacher and a dear friend."

Anne Nedrow, MD: RH's colleague with OCIM
3.  Anne Nedrow, MD:
Hammerschlag's role in an inter-institutional, multidisciplinary Oregon collaborative

As multidisciplinary opportunities for research began to be available subsequent to the creation of NIH NCCAM, Hammerschlag became part of the nation's leading inter-disciplinary network of researchers and educators, known presently as the Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine. Anne Nedrow, MD took the lead for the Oregon Health and Science University in forming that collaboration. She noted in an aside that that I should note "what a good flute player Richard is," then shared these brief comments.
"Certainly, Richard has been pivotal to research in acupuncture, through his work with organizing the research and mentoring so many in the field. He also brought some of the first NIH money directly to a TCM school. We will miss him." 

Christine Goertz, DC, PhD: RH's co-chair of the ACCAHC Research Working Group
Christine Goertz, DC, PhD: Hammerschlag as founding co-chair of the ACCAHC Research Working Group

Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, was the first researcher from the licensed complementary healthcare disciplines to be hired as a program officer at NIH NCCAM. She currently serves as director of researcher at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research. She is also Hammerschlag's founding co-chair of the Research Working Group of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care.
"I have known Dr. Richard Hammerschlag for almost a decade, first through our mutual interest in acupuncture research and, during the past couple of years, as we shared the role of co-chair for the ACCAHC Research Working Group. I have learned a great deal from him during our many conference calls with other members of the Working Group, as well as during the private conversations we have had regarding our hopes and dreams for this amazing CAM field we both care about so deeply.

"According to Wikipedia a statesman is, among other things, someone who conveys a quality of leadership that organically brings people together and a spirit of caring for others and for the whole. Richard is truly a statesman, a man of vision and leadership and kindness."

Dan Cherkin, PhD: Brought RH into NARCCIM planning team
5.  Dan Cherkin, PhD: Brought Hammerschlag into the NARCCIM planning committee

Dan Cherkin, PhD, with the Group Health Center for Health Studies, served as program chair for the 2009 North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine, the most important research meeting in the CAM/IM space. Cherkin invited Hammerschlag to be on the program planning committee. Hammerschlag one of just two individuals from the CAM institutions selected for this role.
"As chair of the NARCCIM program committee, I greatly valued Richard's calm and sage advice. He has a genius for getting at the heart of an issue and for presenting his views in a clear and positive manner.  In fact, because of these wonderful traits, I have enjoyed all my interactions with Richard over the past decade."

Brian Berman, MD: RH to be scholar with new Institute
6.  Brian Berman, MD: Thoughts on Hammerschlag’s retirement and role with the Institute for
Integrative Health

Brian Berman, MD, who directs the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland
is one of the most highly funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers in the area of integrative and complementary medicine, receiving over $30 million over the past 14 years. He recently took the lead in establishing the Institute for Integrative Health with which Hammerschlag will be affiliated. 
"It’s a real pleasure to write something for Richard’s retirement knowing that he is not really retiring, just moving on to the next phase of exploring that which excites and inspires him!

"When Richard made the leap from highly respected neurobiology researcher to dean of research at OCOM, he jumped in with both feet to bring excellence to his interest in Oriental medicine. We in the field of integrative medicine have much to be grateful for, as over the years he has built an incredibly strong research program at OCOM and provided leadership and vision to the field of integrative medicine as a whole.

"I have called on Richard’s vision many times, but particularly like the story of the time I invited him to give the closing plenary talk at a conference on traditional Chinese medicine that we at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine co-sponsored in Hong Kong in 2002 with NCCAM and the Hong Kong Bureau of Health. Richard’s vision for good science that is designed to reflect the way traditional therapies like acupuncture are practiced was inspiring.

"Margaret Chan, at the time the Director of Health for Hong Kong, was delighted but it turns out Richard had inspired and won over far more than just the health officials, academics and clinicians.  In the same trip, he managed to slip out at the invitation of a prominent group of Hong Kong business men and partake, quite inspiringly they told me, in their ping pong tournament and, again in the same trip, make firm friends with Ben, a tailor, and his mother, who he inspired to meditate with him before making him a suit fitting of a visionary!

"So, in the next phase of the many interests of Richard Hammerschlag, we at the Institute for Integrative Health are very fortunate to have him join us as one of our senior Scholars who are pushing the boundaries of our thinking and knowledge about health.  His depth of experience, inquisitive mind and visionary thinking are all qualities that we seek in our Scholars and we look forward to his work on energy physiology."
Comments: I add my voice as one who has interacted with Richard off-and-on over the last decade but particularly in his work with ACCAHC in the last two years. The combination of research skills and an organizer's political instincts are indeed rare. I will miss his presence in the ACCAHC leadership. Enjoy this opportunity, at the Institute, for synthesis of your two prior careers, Richard.

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