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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 27, 2005, Vol. 23, Issue 20

National Receives $750,000 Research Grant From NIH

By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor
"Today we have a new NIH grant that will allow us to increase and strengthen the research culture at National to include students and faculty alike."

- James Winterstein, NUHS president

National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) recently was awarded a $756,000 education grant by the National Institute of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

This science education partnership award is to be used over the next four years to fund curriculum and faculty development in evidence-based research. The project is part of a partnership with the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

According to NUHS Dean of Research, Gregory Cramer, DC, PhD, the new program will provide added depth and breadth to the research component of the doctor of chiropractic degree program offered by NUHS. "The funded program is designed to help students and faculty master the skills necessary to continually update their knowledge base and stay on the cutting edge of clinical and scientific literature in their areas of interest," Cramer said. Some of the planned topics include fundamentals of research, case studies and evidence-based practice. The program also will provide university faculty with in-service workshops, additional journal club opportunities, and advanced training in research design, methods and literature appraisal. The program will fund research sabbaticals and opportunities for faculty and students to take advantage of coursework and lab mentorship at the University of Illinois.

NUHS has established deep roots in its research department and continues to be at the forefront of research in the chiropractic profession, bringing evidence-based practice principles to clinical applications of chiropractic. The mission statement posted on the Web site of the NUHS Department of Research states that the department "promotes the advancement of knowledge pertaining to the practice of chiropractic and other aspects of complementary and alternative medicine for the betterment of human health by performing and encouraging high quality, efficiently conducted ethical research."

NUHS established the first ergonomic and research laboratory in the chiropractic profession in 1983. In June of 2000, Dr. Cramer and NUHS received an Investigator-Initiated Award (also known as an ROI grant) to support a two-year study of zygapophysial joints. This was the first time an ROI grant had been awarded to a researcher at a chiropractic institution.

Ongoing research at NUHS currently falls into five categories: Basic Science/Neuromusculoskeletal, Clinical Science/Nueromusculoskeletal, Basic Science/Primary Care, Clinical Science/Primary Care and Research Related to Education. Funding comes from a variety of sources: Some studies have been funded internally, while others have been funded by groups including the Consortium Center for Chiropractic Research, the Office of Alternative Medicine (now the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), and the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease.

An example of current research being conducted by the NUHS research department: "Flexion/Distraction vs. Medical Care for Neck Pain (HRSA III)" The study compares the effectiveness of chiropractic flexion/distraction therapy with physical therapy for the relief of chronic neck pain. This particular study is a collaboration among NUHS, the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Edward Hines VA Hospital, Orthosport Physical Therapy Clinics, and Auburn University. Funding for the study comes from the Department of Health and Human Services Chiropractic Demonstration Project, under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

NUHS President, Dr. James Winterstein, said the latest grant "will allow us to increase and strengthen the research culture at National to include students and faculty alike. This is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the University of Illinois on a project that will effect this institution and its educational processes for years to come."

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