Many Canadian children are given complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in an effort to help promote good health and well-being. A child with a serious, chronic, or recurrent illness has a 70% likelihood of using CAM. There are few areas in pediatrics that affect so many children, with such little attention paid by children’s hospitals, until now. The CARE program at the Stollery Children’s Hospital was created to address the information gap that currently exists regarding safety and efficacy of pediatric CAM use. By developing, synthesizing, and disseminating evidence about pediatric CAM, we hope to improve the health of children.
By supporting the CARE program, the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services have created an opportunity for Edmonton to become a leader in this field. Through its strong research component, CARE has tremendous potential for discovery and innovation. By promoting knowledge transfer and dissemination locally, nationally, and internationally, the CARE education program is improving awareness of pediatric CAM issues. Since 2003, we have attracted numerous graduate students, and launched Canada's first pediatric integrative medicine fellowship. We host the largest pediatric CAM research and education network in the world, PedCAM, with almost 500 members from across Canada and around the world.
It is an exciting time for academic pediatric integrative medicine research, education, and clinical care. We look forward to what the future can bring, and the contributions we hope to make to advance this fledgling field.
Sunita Vohra, MD FRCPC MSc
Director, CARE Program
Stollery Children’s Hospital
Professor, University of Alberta
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