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The Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research (MSiMR) is a unique program that trains graduates to contribute to the growing research base in Integrative Medicine. The MSiMR blends the scientific rigor of the master of public health (MPH) and master of clinical research programs (MCR) with natural medicine content to create a degree program that opens numerous career paths for its graduates. Integrative medicine can be applied to many diseases as well as disease prevention. Students at NCNM are working with study participants who have cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, infertility, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, and many other maladies.
Integrative medicine research subject areas include:
- Nutrition and Food as Medicine
- Herbal Medicine
- Balneotherapy and Hydrotherapy
- Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Environmental Medicine and Detoxification
Students conduct independent applied, basic, or clinical research. Each student is paired with a research mentor who helps the student design and conduct his/her project, and analyze the results. Most students publish their results, and all students complete a Master’s thesis. Additionally, students with a strong interest in global health may choose to focus their electives to pursue a Concentration in Global Health Studies. The MSiMR program can only be taken if applicant already holds a clinical degree or concurrently with the ND, DSOM, MSOM and MScN programs.
Program of Study
The Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research is available to students concurrently enrolled in another degree program at NCNM. The program is comprised of 44 required credits and eight elective credits. In addition to their coursework, students complete a research project, a capstone master’s thesis and defense. Students enrolled in the MSiMR program along with a medical degree typically take two extra credits per quarter and additional courses over the summer when their clinical load is light.
Program of Study with Clinical Degree (with ND, DSOM or MSOM degree)
First Year – Students begin the research portion of their degree in the winter of their first year of medical school. They take courses that introduce them to research design, conducting research, and research ethics. Students are assigned a research mentor and work with them regularly to develop their research ideas. Often, students take many of the research courses over the summer between their first and second years.
Second Year – Second year can be particularly demanding in the ND and MSOM programs, therefore, MSiMR-concurrent students often take a light research course load. The summer after the second year is busy with Biostatistics as well as finalizing a research design and submitting it for approval.
Third Year – This is the year when the fundamental concepts learned in the first two years meet practical experience. Students take courses in Public Health Policy and Technical Writing as they continue to conduct their research projects and analyze data. There is time during the summer to take electives in areas of interest plus hone skills that prepare students for their future careers.
Fourth Year – Data analysis, manuscript preparation, and thesis defense is the focus of the 4th year student. Courses are designed to support students throughout this process.
The ideal MSiMR student wants:
- A solid foundation in research methodology and integrative medicine;
- To conduct rigorous scientific research with integrity;
- To actively design and conduct an independent research project;
- To collaborate with researchers in diverse fields of medicine and health;
- To develop strong communication skills in writing and verbal presentation; and
- To establish a foundation of knowledge that supports ongoing learning in an evolving field.
There are a variety of reasons to pursue an MSiMR degree. MSiMR graduates may choose careers in public health or in integrative medicine research groups. Some students want to strengthen their applications for medical school or other graduate programs. Students who simultaneously complete a clinical degree and the MSiMR are equipped to conduct research in their medical practice or become academic physician-researchers. Finally, there is a professional track for MDs, PhDs, and other healthcare professionals who wish to further develop specialized knowledge in integrative medicine and research methodology. At its essence, this distinctive program allows natural medicine professionals to communicate and collaborate with expert researchers, conventional doctors and public health professionals, as well as providing them with the resource skills to seek and gain more knowledge after the degree is completed.