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Rosenberg To Give Inaugural NCCAM Series Lecture

Dr. Charles E. Rosenberg, a medical historian who is both professor of the history of science and Ernest E. Monrad professor in the social sciences at Harvard University, will speak on "Alternative to What? Complementary to Whom? On Some Aspects of Medicine's Scientific Identity," at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 18 in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. His talk launches a new lecture series at NIH, Distinguished Lectures in the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Dr. Charles Rosenberg
There is great interest in complementary and alternative medicine. According to a 1999 survey, an estimated 29 percent of American adults used at least one CAM therapy in the 12 months prior to the survey. Furthermore, the public wants to know whether these therapies are safe and effective. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, sponsor of the new lecture series, was established, in part, to explore CAM practices using rigorous scientific methods to evaluate their effectiveness, and to share this information with the public. As part of the mission, NCCAM will bring two leading figures in science or medicine per year to NIH to speak on CAM and key issues such as practice, research, policy, history or public use.

Rosenberg will provide a historical context for understanding CAM by discussing the roots of CAM and Western medicine, and examining the changing scientific identity of medicine over time. According to Rosenberg, much of the controversy surrounding what is now called complementary and alternative medicine can be understood in terms of CAM's historical context.

He has written widely on the history of medicine and science, including Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866; No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought; and Explaining Epidemics. He is now at work on a history of conceptions of disease during the past two centuries.

Rosenberg has received many awards, including the William H. Welch Medal of the American Association for the History of Medicine and the George Sarton Medal (for lifetime achievement) from the History of Science Society. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Members of the NIH community and public are invited to hear the lecture. For more information visit For reasonable accommodation, contact Valeria West at 402-9686.

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