On Nov. 9  I had the opportunity to participate in a symposium that had the feeling of a seminal moment for the integrative health community. The “Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) Stakeholder Symposium” held in Baltimore focused on changes now underway that may well redefine how evidence is defined in medical research. The trend has evolved over the last decade, independently of the growth of integrative practice. It has come about largely because of dissatisfaction with the results of narrowly constructed but long accepted traditional research methodologies (i.e., random controlled trials).

As a result, in the next two years, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) will be channeling $800 million into a formal program for Comparative Effectiveness Research.

CER trials will help determine which health approaches should be included in health plans.  It  has already broadened acceptable evidence methodologies to include those appropriate to integrative health practice.

I have written a report on the symposium available at The Integrator Blog.  The following video of a discussion among several symposium principles expresses current thinking. The symposium was jointly produced by The Institute for Integrative Health and the Center for Medical Technology Policy.