Photo: Courtesy of National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Stephen E. Straus is the director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which was formally established in 1999. Prior to this appointment, he was chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He recently chatted with reporters Brendan A. Maher and Eugene Russo.

Q: Do you think there's lingering skepticism about NCCAM's creation?
A: I think there's very little skepticism left. Over the past few years, the debate went from 'Why would anyone want to study these things?' to 'How can you study these things?' to 'What are the studies showing?' The reality is the scientific community by and large has been enormously supportive of this. Our fellow institutes have been very eager to collaborate with us.

From the side of advocates for complementary and alternative medicine, their...

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