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CAMbrella project

CAMbrella is an EU funded project that looks into the situation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Europe as it presents itself in 2012. The acronym brings together the terms 'CAM' and 'umbrella' to stress the project’s effort both to harmonise existing knowledge and to determine the knowledge gaps in this field. Both parts come together in recommendations to the European Commission and the European Parliament on the way forward in Europe for research into CAM – the 'Road- map for European CAM research'.

The European Commission took the decision to fund a project under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) because to date there has been no proper evaluation of the situation of CAM in Europe: this applies to almost all member and associate EU countries, with the noticeable exceptions of UK, Switzerland and Norway. No other countries have investigated the topic, nor has the European Commission, i.e. Directorates-General Research and Health.

Objectives

CAMbrella is a pioneer project, which has sought to establish a scientific base from which to answer questions such as these:
• What is CAM in Europe?
• Where do we stand with regard to CAM?
• What do citizens and patients expect as potential CAM users?
• What are the national and European regulatory settings of CAM?
• How are the safety needs of patients and citizens met?
How about freedom of informed choice in health care for European citizens – are their wishes taken into account by regional, national and European regulations?
• How about the provision of CAM? Who practises it and how does education in CAM work?
• How is the European situation viewed from outside, by experts in the field from USA, India and China?
• Where should Europe go in terms of CAM research?
What are the most urgent questions here?

The goal of this collaboration project was to look into the present situation of CAM in Europe in all its relevant aspects and to create a sustained network of researchers in the field that can assist and carry through scientific endeavours in the future. Research into CAM – like any research in health issues – must be appropriate for the health care needs of EU citizens, and acceptable to the European institutions as well as to national research funders and health care providers. It was CAMbrella’s intention to enable meaningful, reliable comparative research and communication within Europe and to create a sustainable structure and policy.

Network

The CAMbrella network consists of academic research groups which do not advocate specific treatments. The specific objectives were to:
• develop a consensus-based terminology widely accepted in Europe to describe CAM interventions
• create a knowledge base that facilitates our understanding of patient demand for CAM and its prevalence
• review the current legal status and policies governing CAM provision in the EU
• explore the needs and attitudes of EU citizens with respect to CAM
• develop an EU network involving centres of research excellence for collaborative research.

Based on this information, the project created a roadmap for research in CAM in Europe. The roadmap sums up and stream- lines the findings of the whole project in one document that aims to outline the most important features of consistent CAM research at European level.

Major findings

The major findings of CAMbrella were published in:

• Insights into the Current Situation of CAM in Europe: Major Findings of the EU Project CAMbrella
Research in Complementary Medicine - Forschende Komplementärmedizin, Vol. 19, Suppl. 2, 2012
Free Online Access here.

- The Roadmap for European CAM Research - an Explanation of the CAMbrella Project and its Key Findings

- The European Policy Brief

Work packages

The project worked in nine independent but interrelated work packages, as follows:
• Work package 1: Terminology and definitions of CAM methods.
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• Work package 2: Legal status and regulations.
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• Work package 3: Needs and attitudes of citizens.
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• Work package 4: CAM use – the patients’ perspective.
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• Work package 5: CAM use – the providers’ perspective.
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• Work package 6: The global perspective .
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• Work package 7: The Roadmap for CAM research in Europe.
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• Work package 8: Communication and dissemination.
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More information on the CAMbrella website

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