The Behavioral Medicine Research and Training Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of research and education in clinical behavioral medicine with special emphasis on clinical psychophysiologically oriented techniques. We give continuing education distance based courses, hands-on training, aid in design and analysis of psychophysiologically oriented clinical research studies, and provide any other support possible to further the field of clinical psychophysiology.
Clinical behavioral medicine focuses on the amelioration / treatment and prevention of disease through teaching people techniques for recognizing and correcting abnormal physiological responses. The field has a long history of making major contributions to health care in both treatment and prevention arenas. For instance, relaxation techniques are widely recognized as being effective in both the treatment and prevention of headaches. However, the majority of the field’s techniques are only gradually making the transition from alternative medicine to mainstream medicine.
Effective incorporation of behavioral medicine techniques into the treatment of a wide variety of clinical problems has been stymied by (1) the lack of appropriate training in these techniques among health care providers and (2) the frequent poor design and small sample sizes utilized in studies supporting these applications. Even those techniques which have been well documented enough to be acceptable to the health care community, such as biofeedback for fecal incontinence, have not been widely used because few health care providers are trained to apply them effectively.
This unfortunate cycle is being broken at the Behavioral Medicine Research and Training Foundation. This unique facility is bridging the gap between behavioral and traditional medicine by providing education to the health care community and support for high quality research in the field.
The Foundation supports continuing education of licensed / certified clinicians from all health care fields, such as medicine, nursing, psychology / counseling, physical and occupational therapy, and social work in order to assist these clinicians in incorporating behavioral medicine techniques into their practices.
Continuing education courses are currently offered via distance education. Hands-on training in the use of psychophysiological recording devices and patient assessment is provided either in Washington State or through local contacts. Distance education courses include “Biological basis of behavior / basic psychophysiology”, “Anatomy and physiology for behavioral clinicians”, “General Biofeedback (the BCIA certification course)”, “Psychophysiology of pain”, “Research Techniques for Clinicians” and “Behavioral interventions for pelvic floor disorders”. Clinicians who take the Foundation’s core courses are eligible to receive the Foundation’s certificate of professional studies in clinical psychophysiology.
Much of the clinical research in behavioral medicine is problematic because many of the clinicians performing behavioral medicine interventions have had little training in accepted methods of clinical research and have limited access to the current medical literature. The generally poor quality of the small pilot studies which constitute the bulk of work in behavioral medicine has resulted in reluctance of established agencies to support larger demonstration projects. This, in turn, prevents the fledgling researchers from gaining experience in using accepted techniques.
The Foundation hopes to promulgate performance of high quality studies in behavioral medicine in several ways:
(1) The Foundation provides consultation on experimental design and analysis of clinical data to clinicians who wish to perform studies utilizing behavioral medicine techniques.
(2) The Foundation offers a course in clinical research design specifically developed to meet the needs of clinicians whose practices center on behavioral medicine.
(3) The Foundation offers unpaid research fellowships to clinicians who need an affiliation to serve as the central focus of their efforts. The Foundation gives fellowship status to students in our program who are actively pursing research in psychophysiology. The Foundation provides administrative support for grants, etc., project review by our Human Use Committee, and advice on research design and analysis.
The Foundation is actively soliciting contributions of funds and useable biofeedback equipment in support of its program.
Funds will be used to (1) support research, (2) help defray tuition costs for professionals from disadvantaged minorities, (3) purchase essential psychophysiological training equipment, and (4) develop internet based courses.
Donated biofeedback equipment can be used as a tax deduction. It will be loaned to students who want to perform research in biofeedback but can not afford their own equipment.