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How do people know if complementary health approaches are safe?

Advancing understanding of complementary health approaches

Almost 40% of adults and 12% of children in the U.S. use complementary health approaches. The role of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health, is to define, through careful research, the usefulness and safety of these approaches.

NCCIH asked Westat to manage its Clearinghouse, which is the public’s point of contact for timely and accurate information on complementary health.

  • We wrote, produced, and updated more than 100 fact sheets and publications each year. Our science writers and editors translated research results into health and safety messages for a general audience.
  • We produced educational videos and eBooks on complementary health approaches, such as yoga and tai chi.
  • We helped NCCIH develop and kick off a social media strategy to reach multiple audiences and build engagement.
  • We scripted and conducted monthly Twitter chats featuring scientific experts from
  • We developed and hosted NCCIH’s award-winning website in the Drupal content management system. The responsive design is based on usability testing and is Section 508 compliant.
  • Our media specialists wrote press releases, monitor and analyzed media coverage, pitched stories to journalists, conducted interviews, and responded to dozens of calls per month from reporters.
  • NCCIH’s publications and website won multiple public health and writing awards.
  • By the end of the contract, NCCIH had more than 38,000 Facebook fans and more than 36,000 Twitter followers.
  • NCCIH directors were interviewed by major news outlets and were quoted in national publications.
  • Our information specialists responded to thousands of queries in English and Spanish each year.
  • We shipped more than 20,000 publications annually in response to requests from the public.

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