Tami L. Wahl, American Association for Health Freedom
On April 3, 2009, public testimony on comparative effectiveness
research was given at a meeting of the National Advisory Council
for Healthcare Research and Quality. The testimony represents
the views of the presenter and not necessarily those of the Agency
for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) or the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Council provides advice and recommendations to the Director,
AHRQ, and to the Secretary, HHS, on priorities for a national
health services research agenda.
April 3, 2009
National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD 20850
To Whom It May Concern:
Our organization advocates for an integrative approach to health. We define integrative medicine as an approach to healthcare that considers the whole body (body, mind, and environment/lifestyle), focuses on preventive measures, and works in tandem with conventional medicine methods. We believe Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) is an opportunity for integrative medicine to gain exposure and educate other professionals in the field and the public about cost-effective, non-invasive treatments that will ultimately reduce healthcare costs, encourage self-care, and improve the overall health of our nation.
We would like to see a portion of the funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dedicated to further comparative effectiveness research on integrative medicine approaches to health, including therapies such as massage, acupuncture, compounding medicine, biofeedback, yoga, herbs and dietary supplements, and reflexology, to cite a few. For CER to be successful, we believe the research must be a true comparative effectiveness analysis of both conventional and alternative methods.
In evaluating and comparing treatments, we would also like the research to consider the impact on the whole person with a mindset of preserving health rather than simply treating a disease. Many times a pharmaceutical drug can have long-term negative side effects, even though the "fix" to the ailment is more immediate. An integrative approach may take longer to realize the effects of the treatment; however, the body's overall health in the long run will be more sound.
An example of an immediate fix for back pain is surgery; an integrative approach might start with acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy, and possibly even factor in emotional health as a first line of treatment. If unsuccessful, then one might proceed to steroid shots and surgery. To achieve optimal health and healing, the whole body must be considered, starting with the least invasive and most natural treatment, circumstances permitting.
Integrative healthcare treatments have been proven in their effectiveness, are demonstrably less expensive than conventional medicine, and have benefited thousands of Americans. Clearly, further research of such treatments is highly justified.
Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Tami L. Wahl
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