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Director's Page

Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Message from the Director

Greetings and Introduction

February 1, 2008

It is an honor and a privilege to have been selected to be the Director of NCCAM. I am eager to get to know our stakeholder communities over the next several months and to hear your thoughts regarding our research opportunities. In the meantime, I'd like to share some information about myself that explains what drew me to NCCAM and why I am so excited to be here and lead this organization.

My Values

As a physician, I know first-hand how depersonalized the high-tech systems of modern health care can be, how the focus on the whole patient is often overlooked, and how patients are seeking practices that promote health and wellness. These are needs that are often being met better by CAM practitioners and the growing programs of integrative medicine. To me, these are very important aspects of health that need to be examined.

As a scientist, I believe very strongly in the scientific method, but I am not comfortable with dogmatic thinking. Science needs to encourage continual fresh thinking, and new understanding sometimes comes from beliefs that are outside the mainstream. Some of the real excitement in CAM research over the next decade will come, I believe, from powerful new scientific methods that will allow better understanding of biological complexity and give us answers to how CAM interventions work.

The public interest in CAM is clearly strong. Conventional medicine providers, physicians and hospitals, are responding to this interest by integrating CAM practices with conventional health care. As a scientist, physician, and consumer, I believe in the importance of an open dialogue between patients and health care providers about all we do to take care of our health and our family's health.

What's Next

I see the next 6 months as a period of intense listening. I will be talking with many of our stakeholders, including members of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and representatives from professional and consumer organizations. From these conversations, we will establish a set of priorities for moving the NCCAM research portfolio forward.

I look forward to this dialogue and to an exciting journey of discovery.

Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Institutes of Health

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