Complementary, Integrative, and Alternative Medicine Research Guide

This guide suggests research strategies and useful print and electronic resources on this emerging health care field.


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Government Departments and Agencies


  • Office of Dietary Supplements The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-417) authorized the establishment of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the NIH. The Web site provides information on the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements.
  • Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) (National Cancer Institute)  was established in 1998 to "coordinate and enhance the activities of the National Cancer Institute with regard to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The Web site contains useful and credible CAM health information and information about OCCAM's research activities and government report.
  • State Medical Boards - "The primary responsibility and obligation of a state medical board is to protect consumers of health care through proper licensing and regulation of physicians and other health care professionals in some jurisdictions." (What is a State Medical Board page of the Federation of State Medical Boards. 70 medical licensing authorities in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands belong to the Federation of State Medical Boards, a national non-profit association. It maintains a Board Directory for a listing of its memberships  The Web site includes a DocInfo request form. By filling in the physician's name, city, and state where he or she is located, the Federation will provide a disciplinary history report for you for a fee.

Government Reports & Policies

Major Government Reports relating to Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Clinton, William J. Executive Order 13147: White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, March 7, 2000. Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, vol. 36, no. 10, 2000, p. 484.

White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy: Final Report. The Commission, 2002.

Gordon, James S. The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and the Future of HealthcareAltern Ther Health Med, vol. 10, no. 5, 2004, pp. 20–23.

Alternative Medicine: Expanding Medical Horizons: A Report to the National Institutes of Health on Alternative Medical Systems and Practices in the United States (prepared under the auspices of the Workshop on Alternative Medicine, Chantily, Virginia, September 14-16, 1992). Also called the Chantily Report. [Available by request from the Dahlgren Memorial Library, WB 890 W926a 1992]


Databases for Government Policy and Reports

PolicyFile (1990-)
Indexes and abstracts public policy research and analyses originating from think tanks, university research programs, research organizations, and publishers. Where available, access to home pages and full text are made available within individual abstracts.

PAIS International (1972-) Indexes public policy and public affairs literature.

GAO Reports (1994-)
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the investigative arm of Congress. "Its mission is to support Congress in meeting its Constitutional responsibilities (e.g. oversight, policy, and funding decision) and to help improve the performance and accountability of the Federal Government for the American People." Most GAO reports are done at the request of members of Congress.

Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS Reports) available on ProQuest Congressional
These are non-partisan and in-depth reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress's research arm, on various topics for Congress. 

CQ Researcher Weekly publication covers the most current and controversial issues of the day with complete summaries, insight into all sides of the issues, bibliographies, and more. You can browse by topic in this resource or use the search engine. There is an entire subcategory under Health for Alternative Medicine. Some of the recent CAM-related publications are Conquering Rare Diseases (January 24, 2020), Clinical Trials (May 18, 2018), and Alternative Medicine (September 6, 2013).