The Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine (FAIM) provides a service to the field by assisting researchers and practitioners in collecting clinical outcomes data.
Progress in the field of complementary and alternative medicine is frustratingly slow. This is due, in part, to practitioners who are untrained in clinical research methods, or who lack preliminary data beyond patient testimonials. Slow progress may also be attributed to limited financial resources, inadequate research capacity, or inappropriate models to identify, screen, and evaluate novel therapies. Therefore, FAIM provides a service to the field by assisting researchers and practitioners in collecting clinical outcomes data.
Clinical research requires time and resources, but this method yields the most reliable and rigorous evidence. Prospective outcomes monitoring and pilot studies, with appropriate controls, are a valuable way to collect preliminary data on safety and efficacy. These data provide reliable information that can form the basis for designing and powering larger, more definitive, randomized clinical trials.
FAIM is committed to prospective clinical research to obtain the most valuable data. However, Phase II clinical research in the U.S. is extremely costly. Therefore, FAIM is developing collaborations with hospitals and clinical sites internationally where it can conduct research on treatments that meet the economic needs of the host country. These countries often have very limited access to pharmaceutical drugs. Unlike the United States, countries within Africa and South America often have much stronger traditions and legal structures for integrating complementary and alternative therapies into public health systems. Several governments have now committed to collaborating with FAIM on clinical research. This research could lead the way towards larger, more definitive trials leading to the release of real breakthroughs in world health.
FAIM is eager to collaborate with groups outside the U.S. who have the research capacity and interest in advancing investigations of non-toxic, innovative, and cost-effective therapies for conditions with a large public health impact.