Northwestern Research Education Project Maintaining Pace of Progress

Kate Martin | November 28, 2012

An update on the research project, now in its sixth year.

Northwestern faculty continues to make significant progress on the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Research Education Partnership Project funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The project, now in its sixth year is a collaborative initiative with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing. The project is focused on integrating research into CAM clinical setting through Evidence Informed Practice (EIP) which marries clinical expertise, patient preferences and the best available research.   

Over the course of the project, nearly one-third of the campus community has participated in key committees and teams responsible for implementation. “This is remarkable,” says Roni Evans, DC, Dean of Research at Northwestern and the project’s director. “It says a lot about the investment on behalf of the organization to make the integration of research into the educational process a priority. This distinguishes Northwestern from other CAM institutions.”

According to Dr. Evans, another key factor in the success of this project is strong support from Northwestern’s faculty. Faculty members have strongly embraced EIP by participating in professional development programs, and incorporating EIP into coursework and clinical educational experiences. Nearly 90 percent of faculty members have completed a short course on EIP; 40 percent have completed the EIP long course; 25 percent have completed Research Scholars I; and 10 percent have completed Research Scholars II. Additionally, several faculty members have attended intensive training at McMaster University, and at the University of Iowa. As a result, students can expect to see an increasing emphasis on research and EIP throughout their educational experience at Northwestern.

One of the more visible outcomes of the project was the addition of a required course in EIP which was introduced in all the healthcare programs in 2009. To date, 850 students have taken the Foundations of Evidence Informed Practice course. Importantly, students’ self-rated research related skills, including their ability to find and critically appraise research relevant to their future clinical practice, has improved over the course of the project. “This is very encouraging,” says Dr. Evans. “Practitioners who are able to understand and use research effectively will be better equipped to work with other health care providers and integrate into the rapidly changing health care environment.”

Northwestern’s faculty continues to advance the CAM ED project objectives. Upcoming developments include an EIP Certificate Program offered through NWHSU’s Continuing Education Department, including an EIP Certificate program.

Read more about the CAM ED project here.

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