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Last Updated: 7/7/10


OCCAM Staff Members Outreach with New Communities

17th Annual International Symposium for Functional Medicine

The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM), for the first time, attended the 17th Annual International Symposium for Functional Medicine held May 20-23, 2010 in Carlsbad, CA. The theme of this year’s symposium, hosted by the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM), was “Confronting Cancer as a Chronic Disease: Primary Care Takes a 360-degree View”.

The IFM defines functional medicine as “patient-centered health care that addresses the unique interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors influencing both health and complex, chronic disease.” The symposium was offered to help attendees improve their “capacity to confidently assess and implement effective [functional medicine] strategies aimed at understanding and counseling your patients in the prevention, management, and survival of cancer”.

OCCAM Director Dr. Jeffrey D. White, M.D. spoke at the symposium and delivered information about the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) research portfolio and communication initiatives related to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and functional medicine. He encouraged researchers in attendance to apply for grant funding to help further the science of CAM. He also spoke about the NCI Best Case Series Program, encouraging researchers to gather and submit cases of cancer patients who have been treated with CAM and show tumor or disease regression.

Dr. White noticed this of the attendees, “They are a community who embraces the expansion of their conventional practices to include evidence-based nutritional therapeutics. Many are interested in growing the body of research and applying the best concepts of CAM to the care of their cancer patients.”

45th Annual U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Scientific and Training Symposium

The 45th Annual U.S. Public Health Service Scientific and Training Symposium was held May 24-27, 2010 in San Diego, California. The symposium drew more than 1,000 attendees from Federal agencies such as the Indian Health Service, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Disaster Medical System, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Medical Reserve Corps, and the National Institutes of Health.

The symposium offered a range of continuing education seminars on the latest trends and innovations in public health care delivery, administration, and research. Targeted training courses were offered that emphasized the maintenance of our nation's security and public health infrastructure for disaster preparedness and readiness response.

Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, moderated a panel at the symposium opening involving the three Department of Defense surgeon generals. Dr. Howard Koh, the assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered the opening keynote. Other central speakers were Mark Trahant, nationally-renowned expert on healthcare reform, and Rear Admiral Scott Deitchman, USPHS, who spoke on “Leadership: Lessons from the Arts.”

On Nurse Category Day, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) was a new topic of interest to nurses. Dr. Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, spoke along with the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s (OCCAM) Commander Colleen Lee, M.S., CRNP, AOCN. The two presenters described CAM as it relates to its current patterns of use in the general and oncology populations, main indications, safety concerns, research perspectives, and trends. Commander Lee addressed the activities of OCCAM and the role of nursing in integrative oncology in the clinical practice, education, and research arenas. Commander Lee commented, “Nursing has the opportunity to claim a fundamental role in integrative oncology. It is imperative that we expand our knowledge, promote evidence-based practice, and conduct methodologically-sound research.”

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