The Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CCAM) at Saint Francis emphasizes an approach to wellness and healing that values natural therapies focusing on the whole patient. CCAM seeks an integrative approach to these therapies, combining them with treatments from conventional, or Western, medicine to achieve a level of high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness.
CCAM methods focus on:
- Whole patient care – attending not only to the physical but also to the overall health of the animal
- Relationship and patient-centered care – recognizing the fundamental importance of the relationship between pet owner and pet, and client and health care provider, we greatly value the client’s role as an active participant in their pet’s care
- Evidence-based care – supporting informed decision-making based on the best available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of all treatment options
The Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine seeks to develop systems of wellness and therapeutic care based upon an integrative approach to traditional and natural medicine.
The Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine will be an industry leader in exploring and practicing integrative medicine, focusing on the ‘whole patient’ with wellness and therapeutic care that draws upon both traditional and natural medicine.
We pledge that we will treat our precious patients with the same love and care for which our namesake, Saint Francis, is known throughout the world.
- Meet the Director, Mark Newkirk, BS, MS, VMD (shown above and right) >
- Learn about our Hospital >
- CCAM Staff >
- Referrals >
- Download CCAM info sheet >
- Download CCAM brochure >
- Maps & Directions >
- Contact us >
As a veterinary endeavor, CCAM’s mission is modeled on human medical efforts to explore and utilize natural therapies in patient wellness and medical care, such as those undertaken by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, The Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Complementary and alternative therapies are growing rapidly within the veterinary field, as they are in the human medical field: The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed:
- 38% of American adults utilized some form of complementary and/or alternative medical therapies
- 17.7% utilized non vitamin/nonmineral natural products such as fish oils, Omega 3s and echinacea
- 8.6% utilized chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
- 8.3% utilized massage
- 1.4% utilized acupuncture
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a Center of the National Institutes of Health within the United States Department of Health and Human Services, defines ‘complementary medicine’ as “the use of complementary and alternative therapies together with conventional (or Western) medicine, such as using acupuncture in addition to usual care to help lessen pain.” The NIH defines ‘alternative medicine’ as “the use of complementary and alternative therapies in place of conventional medicine.” ‘Integrative medicine’ utilizes therapies that “combine treatments from conventional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine for which there is some high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness.”
Many of these systems have deep historical and intellectual roots in the cultures of other countries and have been in use for thousands of years, such as those utilized within Traditional Chinese Medicine. In fact, for over 70 percent of the world’s population they are not ‘alternative’ but in fact are primary sources of health care.
A note about safety, effectiveness and regulation of complementary and alternative medical therapies: Rigorous, well-designed clinical trials for many complementary and alternative therapies are often lacking; therefore the safety and effectiveness of many therapies are uncertain. Government regulations for most of these therapies are not the same as those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. In general, regulations for most supplements and products are less strict; for example, manufacturers do not have to prove the safety and effectiveness of a dietary supplement before it is marketed. However, the federal government is now funding studies in this field through its National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and numerous academic medical centers around the country are privately working in the field.