As promised, I continue postings about my participation in the Society for Integrative Oncology Conference last week.
Among the many medical icons who presented at this conference, the keynote speaker was Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Except for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a White House Cabinet position, the NIH Director is the most influential person in America for medical policy and research. The NIH consists of 27 government funded institutes and centers that develop and advance policy for just about every health issue of our society. One of these institutes is the National Cancer Institute(NCI) that funds a major portion of cancer research and treatment trials. Within the NCI is the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). Additionally, the NIH has its own CAM office, called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). I explain the roles and efforts of all of these offices in my book, A New Strategy for the War on Cancer, and they are too complex for a blog post. But, the point is that Dr. Collins is a top player in all that happens in this nation’s approach to medicine in general and cancer in particular. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what he had to say about integrative cancer care. Actually, I was very surprised to see him as keynote speaker for our conference.