Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments on the NCCIH Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

February 8, 2021

Response Date:
March 12, 2021

Related Announcements

NOT-AT-20-013 - Request for Information: Soliciting Input for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Healths New Strategic Plan

Issued by

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)


This Request for Information (RFI) seeks comments on the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) 5-year draft Strategic Plan.


The mission of NCCIH is to determine, through rigorous scientific investigation, the fundamental mechanisms, safety, and effectiveness of dietary, psychological, and physical approaches that may have originated outside of conventional medicine and are considered complementary due to being used in conjunction with conventional treatments. Dietary approaches include natural products, such as dietary supplements, plant-based products, and probiotics. Psychological and physical approaches include a diverse group of mind and body practices such as meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, manual therapies, and acupuncture. Integrative health care seeks to bring conventional and complementary approaches together in a safe, coordinated way to maximize the therapeutic benefit while focusing on whole person health. It also emphasizes a holistic, patient-focused approach to health care and wellness often including mental, emotional, functional, spiritual, social, and community aspects and treating the whole person rather than, for example, one organ system.

NCCIH FY 2021-2025 Strategic Plan Outline

The NCCIH issued a previous Request for Information (NOT-AT-20-013) to solicit initial comments on how the previous plan for FYs 2016-2020 should be modified to reflect progress over the past 5 years. The Center also gathered additional input through listening sessions with the community. Based on this feedback, along with input from the NCCIH Advisory Council, the Center has drafted the NCCIH Strategic Plan for FYs 2021-2025. We are now seeking input on the draft, which helps to guide the research it supports.

Objective 1: Advance fundamental science and methods development

  • Advance basic and mechanistic research relevant to dietary, psychological, and/or physical approaches.
  • Develop methods, tools, and technologies to study complementary health diagnostic, treatment, and prevention modalities and systems.
    • Test the reliability and validity of complementary diagnostic systems.
    • Define treatment algorithms for complementary interventions and systems and establish their fidelity and reproducibility.
    • Develop, refine, and test clinical research models and relevant statistical methods for testing multimodal interventions and systems.
  • Develop outcome measures to quantify health restoration and resilience.
  • Develop methods to conduct implementation science and effectiveness research on complementary and integrative health approaches.

Objective 2: Advance research on whole person health and integration of complementary and conventional care

  • Promote basic and translational research to study how physiological systems interact with each other.
  • Conduct clinical and translational research on multicomponent interventions and study the impact of these interventions on multiple physiological systems (e.g., nervous, gastrointestinal, immune) and domains (e.g., biological, psychological, social).
  • Foster multimodal intervention research that focuses on improving health outcomes.
  • Conduct studies in real world settings where interventions are routinely administered to test the integration of complementary approaches into health care.

Objective 3: Foster research on health promotion and restoration, resilience, disease prevention, and symptom management

  • Advance the understanding of mechanisms through which complementary and integrative health approaches affect health restoration, resilience, and well-being.
  • Investigate the safety and efficacy of complementary health approaches and integrative treatment strategies for health promotion and restoration, resilience, disease prevention, and symptom management in diverse populations and settings.
  • Conduct rigorous clinical studies on the effectiveness, dissemination, and implementation of complementary approaches in health care.

Objective 4: Enhance the complementary and integrative health research workforce

  • Support research training and career development opportunities to increase the diversity and number of well-trained scientists conducting rigorous, cutting-edge research on complementary and integrative health practices.
  • Foster interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships at individual and institutional levels.
  • Identify best practices to continually improve the quality of NCCIH workforce development activities.

Objective 5: Disseminate objective evidence-based information on complementary and integrative health interventions

  • Disseminate evidence-based information on complementary and integrative health interventions, as well as information about ongoing research, including whole person research, that examines the connections that exist across domains of human health.
  • Continue to develop methods and approaches to enhance public understanding of basic scientific concepts and biomedical research.

Information Requested

Through this RFI, NCCIH invites feedback from researchers in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and health advocacy organizations, scientific or professional organizations, Federal agencies, and other interested members of the public on the draft NCCIH Strategic Plan for FYs 2021-2025.

Organizations are strongly encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the views of their organization and membership.

Please provide your comments and feedback. The final Strategic Plan will be presented at the May 14, 2021 meeting of the NCCIH Advisory Council, and posted on the NCCIH website once it is approved.

How to Submit a Response

Responses to this RFI must be submitted via email at or using the web-based form available at Responses must be received by March 12, 2021.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information in your response. The responses will be reviewed by NCCIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. NCCIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments on any responder’s submission. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. The Government reserves the right to use any submitted information on public NIH websites; in reports; in summaries of the state of the science; in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s); or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH institutes and centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise because of a response to this RFI or from the Government’s use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Mary Beth Kester, M.S.
Director, Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
National Institutes of Health

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