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Integrator Urgent Action Update: Your Vote Needed TODAY at Change.gov Against De-Funding NCCAM PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   
Sunday, 18 January 2009

Integrator Urgent Action Update: Your Vote Needed IMMEDIATELY at Change.gov Against De-Funding NCCAM

Summary:  The cult of academics, conventional physicians and scientists who are dedicated to polarizing the medical discussion by deriding all value in integrative medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices has mounted a nasty campaign against NIH NCCAM at Obama's change.gov site. It is one-sided, and ugly.  I am told the Obama site closes today. Please get in immediately and register your vote in favor of continued funding. If you can, add a comment to the blog. Act now, by going to this page at Obama's change.gov site.  More info is available at the Integrator by clicking on the title of this article.
Act now! go to this site at Obama's change.gov to vote
in the upper left corner of the blog. Then comment!


The Urgency

I received two notes this morning relative to integrative practices and the Obama change.gov site. One came from Donna Nowack, executive director of the American Holistic Medical Association. She noted her plan to immediately post the Integrator column from Bill Manahan, MD on the www.change.gov site. She stated that Obama's site will be

Closed to comments after 6:00 PM this evening.

The Issue

Yesterday evening I opened my machine to a note alerting me to a campaign against the
NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine on president-elect Barack Obama's www.change.gov site. I didn't realize the urgency.

This morning I received an additional alert, via my longtime colleague Carlo Calabrese, ND, MPH, a former NCCAM advisory council member. He was forwarding a note from his colleague Kurt Beil, ND, MSOM, an adjunct faculty member at the National College of Natural Medicine.
One of the largest number of comments on the Obama administration¹s Change.gov website involves the issue of defunding of the NIH¹s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), with a net support for defunding of over 1100 people (11240 points as of the time of this writing, 10 points/person) and 113 written comments .  This is compared to other issues such as the general state of healthcare and the war in Iraq, which only have 80-90 comments and net support of a few hundred people. Clearly, someone has energized the population to defund the NCCAM, which would be a huge setback to our profession. Please take a second to go to:

http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000004y2f

and vote/comment on the validity and necessity of CAM research. We need to set the record straight on what CAM research is and is not. Thank you for your time. Please feel free to pass this along to other CAM researchers.
I haven't verified either Nowack's comment on the site's closure or Beil's statements regarding the relative size of voting. The campaign against NCCAM at change.gov definitely exists, however, and it presently looks like very very people care for NCCAM. So I post this to all of you immediately, for your rapid action.
__________________

Comments & Background

Most of you will know that the entire process of bringing forward healthcare "alternatives" to the lock-step of drugs and surgeries has been under attack by a group of conventional physicians, scientists and academics who frame themselves as defenders of science.

The strategies of these human beings are utterly polarizing. They deliberately forget the great lack of scientific support for most of what is done in conventional medicine then deride healthcare alternatives for their lack of scientific support.

Their strategies abuse history. They refuse to acknowledge that there has been very little financial support for investigating these alternatives (and still almost none for exploring whole person, multifactorial integrative approaches). Yet when significant research funding began to become available in 1998 through the NIH NCCAM, these advocates of science have sought to shut it down. Particularly nasty is the intellectual slight of hand by which an "alternative" therapy is first derided for having no support then, once if it gains support, this practice becomes "scientific medicine" which allows them to continue to deride all the rest of "alternative medicine" as having no support. Say what?

Never mind, again, that there has been a robust response from the integrative practice community to the opportunity to research. Over 450 individuals responded to the very first offering of $30,000 exploratory Office of Alternative Medicine grants in the early 1990s. Despite debates in the community about NCCAM's direction, the interest in research is such that NIH NCCAM recently had the lowest rates of funding relative to total grants submitted. Interest is there; funding is lacking.

The Integrator previously reported earlier attacks against NCCAM from this sector of conventional medicine.  See
NCCAM Blasted, Defended, in Science Magazine (July 21, 2006).  The bloggers at Science-based medicine.com have gone after NCCAM repeatedly. (example here). The Integrator's own work has been the subject of some of their vendetta. (My Open Letter to NCCAM Director Josephine Briggs, MD is cited extensively here). More recently, they - I say "they" because there is a circle that likes to spend their time doing this - have turned their attention to blasting "integrative medicine" in academic medical institutions such as Yale, a favored target (examples here and here) and relatively open health systems like New York Beth Israel (example here.). The IOM-Bravewell Summit on Integrative Medicine was subject of a recent hit (example here).

I haven't spent much Integrator time reporting on this activity from these antagonists for a simple reason. The political perspective is that if you wrestle with crap, you end up smelling like it. More articulate guidance comes from the poet Robert Graves in "To Lucia At Birth":
"... outrageous company to be born into,
lunatics of a royal age long dead ...
Hark how they roar, but never turn your head.
Nothing can change them. Let them not change you."
This moment is an exception because your opinion will be leveled on the blog of President-elect Obama and not on the blog of one of these exponents of medicine's faulty Royal Age.  Go to the Obama site and vote, at least, and then take a moment to comment if you can. Thanks!



Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 January 2009 )
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