Building the Evidence Base for Naturopathic Medicine

With each passing year, naturopathic medicine is becoming more accepted as a valuable form of primary care, especially in the treatment of chronic conditions. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) continues to break new ground in research that speaks to the safety and efficacy of naturopathic treatments. They have contributed influential studies on reducing cardiovascular disease (Canadian Medical Association Journal), decreasing chronic back pain (PLoS ONE), rotator cuff tendonitis (Arthritis and Rheumatology) and anxiety (PLoS ONE), to name a few. For the studies on cardiovascular care and chronic back pain, CCNM has done further research to examine the cost-effectiveness of the care.

CCNM is excited to embark on new research endeavours that will help open the door to how naturopathic and conventional medicine can work together to better health outcomes. This past October, CCNM, the Ottawa Integrative Centre (OICC) and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) received a record $3.85M grant that will study the use of integrative treatments for esophageal, gastric and lung cancer patients who will undergo surgery. CCNM and the OICC were also awarded a $2.7M grant in conjunction with Leanna Standish, ND, and Bastyr Integrative Oncology Centre for a joint Canadian/US research investigation into advanced treatment for stage 4 cancer patients. This is the largest North American observational study to assess integrative oncology for advanced cancer patients.

In February of this year, CCNM, the William Osler Health System and the Wise Elephant Family Health Team were awarded a $418,000 grant to evaluate the health outcomes of adjunctive naturopathic care for type 2 diabetes. The unique demographics of the catchment area – approximately 15 per cent of the 10,000+ patient populations present with type 2 diabetes – will allow researchers to collect and compare data related to specific ethnic and cultural groups.

As the profession continues to grow, CCNM’s department of research remains committed to being a world-wide leader in advancing the understanding of complementary and naturopathic medicine as a viable, sustainable health-care system and building a solid evidence base to further the profession.


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