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2021 Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) Conference titled, Pandemics, Pain & Public Health: Roles and Relevance of Traditional East Asian Medicine


Abstract The upcoming Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) Conference titled Pandemics, Pain & Public Health: Roles and Relevance of Traditional East Asian Medicine,? will be held on June 16-20, 2021 with potential in- person attendance at the University of Michigan. A key goal of this conference is to actively disseminate important research findings to the acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) research community and multiple related fields of biomedical research. The primary co-sponsors of this conference will be the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan and the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Our program will focus content on three major issues: 1) the impact of the global Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, 2) the chronic pain/opioid and mental health crisis in the U.S., and 3) the role of disparities in integrative health care, including their underlying impact on public policy. Panel discussions with key international figures will explore these topics with emphasis on strengthening the research base to address these issues. SAR members will be able to submit proposals for plenary symposia on relevant topics of their choice. Our meeting will also include lectures from thought leaders spanning different areas of basic and clinical TEAM research, as well as a keynote presentation by the Director of NCCIH. This conference structure will be unlike any past SAR gathering. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our 2021 event will either be a hybrid meeting, with both in-person and virtual content, or it will be an entirely virtual meeting. This is necessary as some attendees may not be able to travel and attend our event safely. A collateral benefit of having some content be virtual is that attendees unable to travel will still be able to participate remotely. To achieve our goals, the conference plan was set after an in-depth analysis of hybrid and virtual options. By the date of our 2021 conference, SAR will also have had additional experience with virtual conference formats from two international online meetings currently planned. We will leverage the experience from these virtual gatherings to plan for this 2021 conference. Our Aims are: 1) To provide an international forum for researchers to disseminate and assess acupuncture and TEAM findings in order to clarify and strengthen the evidence base, and 2) To foster interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration to develop innovative strategies that address current challenges in acupuncture and TEAM research, shaping the future research agenda. The SAR 2021 conference will present a platform wherein researchers from various backgrounds can share, explore, and develop novel research strategies. SAR conferences continue to serve as a crossroads for diverse research communities. Indeed the content of our event (e.g. pandemics, pain, and disparities/policy) is relevant for the current global health care climate, and cuts across multiple scientific levels from patients, to researchers, educators, and clinicians, to those driving policy.

Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.