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Winter 2006, Vol. 1 Issue 1

Research Resources


Help for Grant Applicants

On June 27 and 28, 2005, OCCAM hosted a technical assistance workshop Strategies for Success: How to Write a Grant in Cancer CAM. Researchers interested in CAM research were provided opportunities to learn about Federal and private grant application processes, participate in a mock grant review, and network with representatives from funding and matchmaking organizations. This was the second such workshop hosted by OCCAM.

OCCAM Director Dr. Jeffrey D. White gave an overview of OCCAM and its structure, functions, and opportunities for research funding. Dr. Wendy B. Smith, Deputy Director of OCCAM, presented an overview of the Federal grants process, types of grant mechanisms available, review board operation and organization, and the appeal process. Other presenters included representatives from numerous NIH institutes and centers in addition to private funding organizations such as the Oncology Nursing Society, Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation, American Cancer Society, and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Workshop participants were given an applicant's perspective on developing cancer CAM research proposals by Andrew Vickers, D.Phil., a successful research methodologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MKSCC). Dr. Vickers described MKSCC's Integrative Medicine Service, which provides cancer patients with massage therapy, acupuncture, music therapy, meditation, hypnosis, yoga, tai chi, and nutritional counseling. He also provided insights into the application and research process through lessons learned from his own career.

During a mock-review session, participants observed the process and also learned of the many challenges and potential solutions for developing competitive cancer CAM grant proposals.

For information on future workshops, please visit OCCAM's Web site at http://cancer.gov/.

Addressing Methodological Challenges in CAM Research

OCCAM has a publication Expert Opinions on Methodology: Development of Cancer CAM Symptom Research available on its Web site for researchers. (http://cam.cancer.gov//attachments/expert-panel-report.pdf) This publication is based on the first of OCCAM's series titled Expert Panels in Cancer CAM Research: Developing the State of the Science in Research Methodologies which explores the major research methodology challenges faced by investigators interested in studying CAM approaches to cancer.

At this first expert panel discussion held in November 2001, experts-researchers, physicians, statisticians, and nurses from leading cancer research and treatment centers-reviewed the state of the science in CAM cancer symptom management. Panelists discussed the research design and methodology issues that often cause CAM grant applications to perform poorly during the review process. Other topics discussed included the development of appropriate shams or controls for CAM interventions, development of tools and measurement issues, and ethical and statistical concerns. Scientific papers prepared on these topics can be found in Expert Opinions on Methodology: Development of Cancer CAM Symptom Research.

The second expert panel is scheduled for early 2006. For more information, please check the OCCAM Web site for updates regarding the second Expert Panels in Cancer CAM Research at http://cancer.gov/.

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