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Explore (NY). 2008 Sep-Oct;4(5):302-10. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2008.06.001.

Scientists and healers: toward collaborative research partnerships.

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  • 1Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.


In recent years we have witnessed growing interest in the study of healers and healing. Yet because of barriers segregating the professional worlds of scientists and healers, research on this topic has not met its potential. Even the most sympathetic of scientific investigators have failed to treat healers as full research partners, neglecting to take seriously healers' informed perspectives in formulating study questions and in making key decisions regarding assessment and outcomes. Likewise, some of the most gifted healers exhibit antipathy toward scientific research that is uninformed and works at cross purposes with efforts to validate the efficacy of healing and to integrate its practice into conventional medical settings. For this situation to improve, scientists and healers must recognize that each party has critical gaps in knowledge and skills that the other party possesses. Only through true collaborative partnerships can the potential benefits of research on healing be realized.

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