Some Notes on Michele Chang, M.P.H., C.M.T.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
January 15, 2005

In February 2003, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) announced that it was assembling a committee to identify major scientific and policy issues in “complementary and alternative medicine” (“CAM”) research, regulation, training, credentialing and “integration with conventional medicine.” As part of this process, it appointed 17 people to prepare a report. Here are IOM’s biographical sketch of Ms. Chang and my comments about her current activities.

IOM Description: Michele Chang, M.P.H., C.M.T. is a certified massage therapist, in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to working as a massage therapist, she served as Executive Secretary for the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Ms. Chang is also trained in public health policy and management and worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on tobacco issues for several years. In addition to her time with CDC, Ms. Chang also worked for Senator Tom Harkin as a Senior Public Policy and Program Analyst.
My Comments (Posted on January 15, 2005)

I have not found anything online which indicates whether or not Ms. Chang utilizes or believes in any of the quack practices that are common among massage therapists. But it seems likely that she has an exaggerated idea of “CAM’s” potential. Before serving for two years as executive secretary of the notorious White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy (WHCCAMP), she spent a year working for Senator Harkin. At a WHCCAMP public hearing, she said that during her work with Harkin, she had a great opportunity to help with the conception of [the] Commission.” It also seems likely that her work with the Commission stimulated or reinforced misguided beliefs about the the importance of “CAM” practices and teachings.

Overview of IOM “CAM” Committee

This article was posted on January 15, 2005.