Integrative Medicine

Einstein Announced as the New Coordinating Center for National Research Network

January 13, 2015—(BRONX, NY)—The Bravewell Collaborative today announced that Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University will lead the Bravewell Integrative Medicine Research Network (BraveNet), a practice-based consortium of 14 integrative medicine centers in the United States. As the coordinating center for BraveNet, Einstein will manage the network’s Patients Receiving Integrative Medicine Interventions Effectiveness Registry (PRIMIER) the first patient registry for integrative medicine, which combines complementary/alternative and conventional medical practices.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been named the coordinating center for the Bravewell Integrative Medicine Research Network (BraveNet), a practice-based consortium of 14 integrative medicine centers in the United States.
M. Diane McKee, M.D., M.S.
“BraveNet has helped unite the medical community and establish a strong future for evidence-based research in integrative health care,” said Christy Mack, president of The Bravewell Collaborative. “Einstein has a long-standing commitment to integrative medicine and is well-situated to ensure the continued success of PRIMIER.”

Building the Network

The Bravewell Collaborative established BraveNet in 2007 as the nation’s first practice-based research network for integrative medicine to study the benefits of an integrative approach to health care. As part of this mission, BraveNet created PRIMIER, a data registry project intended to uniformly collect patient-reported outcomes, provider input and extracted electronic health record data into a large dataset. This dataset can be used for quality improvement, evidence-based research and determination of best practices.

M. Diane McKee, M.D., M.S., co-director of research and attending physician in the department of family and social medicine at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center, noted the value of registry databases such as PRIMIER: “Registries are unique in that they allow researchers to examine patient subsets to precisely determine how individual patients benefit from each intervention. The process is cost-effective and allows researchers to gather evidence on a much larger scale than in a typical clinical trial.”

The PRIMIER registry provides foundational knowledge on how integrative medicine is being used in real-world settings. This knowledge will ultimately inform decision-making in clinical settings and serve as the basis for future clinical trials. The hope is that PRIMIER will expand over time, including more public as well as private integrative medicine centers, to create a national registry that will help improve the health and well-being of patients and provide a framework for discovering best practices in integrative medicine.

Benjamin Kligler, M.D., M.P.H.
Benjamin Kligler, M.D., M.P.H.
“Over the past 12 years, The Bravewell Collaborative has made an unparalleled commitment to furthering the field of integrative medicine,” said Benjamin Kligler, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of clinical family and social medicine at Einstein and chair of the BraveNet executive committee. “I’m excited for the opportunity to continue this work and co-lead such an important program. The network and its research endeavors will continue to help shape the future of health care.”

Read Dr. Kligler’s related blog post.

Einstein Informatics and Research Resources

Under the leadership of Dr. McKee, Dr. Kligler and Paul Marantz, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for clinical research education at Einstein, BraveNet at Einstein will be a collaboration between two productive and established components of Einstein research infrastructure: the Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein and Montefiore (ICTR) and the department of family and social medicine’s division of research, home of Einstein’s primary care practice-based research network, New York City Research and Improvement Networking Group (NYC RING).

The ICTR, which Dr. Marantz co-directs, houses research cores that will provide key support. The Informatics Core, directed by Parsa Mirhaji, M.D., Ph.D., will manage the data for PRIMIER and other BraveNet studies. The Biostatistics and Research Design Core, directed by Mimi Kim, Sc.D., will provide expert support for the statistics group in the department of family and social medicine. The biostatistics group will also play an important role in the development of new grant proposals for BraveNet. (The ICTR is a member of the nationwide Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) consortium, funded by the National Institutes of Health.)

Department of family and social medicine’s (DFSM) division of research, which is co-led by Dr. McKee, will supply critical staffing, programmatic and administrative infrastructure for the BraveNet Coordinating Center. DFSM also sponsors NYC RING, for which Dr. McKee is director. The network consists of community-based primary care practices affiliates with Einstein and is one of only a few patient-based research networks in the United States focused exclusively on the urban underserved.

Einstein’s Commitment to Integrative Medicine

In 2000, Einstein became one of the first 13 schools to join the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. Einstein is home to numerous faculty research projects in the field, including investigating the impact of acupuncture on chronic pain-and developing new, rigorous qualitative research methods to evaluate patient responses to integrative approaches.  Many of these projects are based in NYC RING.

Since 2005, Einstein has offered an integrative medicine curriculum to its medical students and recently launched WellMed, the Einstein Student Wellness Program, both of which are co-directed by Dr. Kligler. In addition, integrative medicine is one of eight research tracks offered in Einstein’s Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program, which matches medical students interested in conducting research with a mentor.