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December 21, 1994

Time for New Head, New Approach at OAM

JAMA. 1994;272(23):1806-1810. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520230018008

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WHEN Joseph J. Jacobs, MD, MBA, announced that he was resigning as director of the National Institute of Health's (NIH) Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) this past summer, his decision was widely viewed as a setback in the effort to evaluate unconventional medical practices. But in another light, it is also an opportunity for the proponents of so-called alternative medicine to take a serious look at the office's program and to lay out a realistic and productive plan to achieve the goals all the parties say they want.

Whether this will happen depends on the resolution of a number of disparate opinions about the whole approach to evaluating unconventional therapies, the specific priorities to be selected from a broad variety of treatments, and, perhaps most important, the development of a spirit of trust among the parties involved and a willingness by alternative medicine's sponsors to deal with the realities of

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