With no medical training, and often against the advice of medical professionals, Americans are treating themselves to an expanding menu of complementary and alternative medical practices (CAM). Other than common sense, most of us have no way of sorting out reputable CAM therapies from quackery, but that has not slowed demand. Almost 40% of all Americans use some form of CAM, a figure that jumps to 62% if prayer is included as a therapy (NCAAM, 2004). In 2007, we spent $34 billion on complementary or alternative medicine, and that amount increases exponentially each year (WebMd Health News).
The Adolph Coors Foundation has launched a multi-pronged project of medical research and demonstration projects to coalesce the public -– and other donors -- around the most promising integrative medical practices. By wisely applying this knowledge, our citizens will be able to live richer and healthier lives, take a more proactive role in managing their health and, in the process, show our leaders the real secret to reducing health care costs.