“The PBRN model addresses critical questions, which must be answered to bring the findings from basic science and controlled trials into real-world medical practice.”

— Constance Pechura, PhD, Executive Director of the Treatment Research Institute

BraveNet, the Practice-Based Research Network

Known for its insight and the ability to find the “tipping points” that will help transform a culture, in 2007, the Bravewell Collaborative embarked on a new venture aimed at changing the way the medical community thinks about health and healing — the establishment of the first Practice-Based Research Network in Integrative Medicine.

Benefits of a Research Network

Practice-Based Research Networks have been utilized by conventional medicine since the 1960s and are well recognized as ideal laboratories for studying patients, treatments and outcomes in practice settings.  As the McKinsey Report noted, a vast untapped reservoir of information lies in clinical practices that currently offer integrative medicine.

The Establishment of BraveNet

The first design session, held in September 2005, was hosted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the NIH in conjunction with The Bravewell Collaborative and the University of Maryland.  Forty attendees representing 21 integrative medicine programs met to discuss infrastructure, organization, management, funding, and implementation.

What emerged from that process was BraveNet, a new Practice-Based Research Network that will help advance integrative medicine by providing clinical use, clinical outcomes and cost benefit data that has previously not been available to the medical and scientific communities.

Under the guidance of the Duke Clinical Research Center, which serves as the BraveNet Coordinating Center, BraveNet currently consists of the nine member clinics of the Bravewell Clinical Network — Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine [contracting with the Integrative Medicine Foundation], Continuum Center for Health and Healing, Duke Integrative Medicine, Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, and ehe Integrative Medicine Program at Venice Clinic.

With more than 3600 patients enrolled, BraveNet's first study, the Registry Study, is almost complete.  This study looked at what types of patients seek services at integrative medicine clinics and what problems these patients wish to solve.  Publication is forthcoming.  The second study, SIMTAP, focuses on integrative medicine treatments and approaches to chronic pain and is now enrolling its first patients.

More information about BraveNet can be found at www.bravenet.dcri.duke.edu.