A researcher in the area of massage therapy and other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been appointed to the position of director of Bastyr University Research Institute,  beginning Sept. 4.

Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D., is a senior investigator for Group Health Research Institute. His areas of research interests and experience, according to a biography placed on the website of the Group Health Research Institute, include:

“Alternative approaches to healing: healing in primary care; back pain; neck pain; acupuncture; chiropractic care; massage; meditation; tai chi; naturopathic medicine; yoga … Chronic illness management: chronic back pain; chronic neck pain; medically unexplained physical symptoms

Patient/provider interaction: patient expectations; the therapeutic environment … [and] Health services & economics: role of complementary alternative medicine in health care.”

“Through my long-standing collaborations with Bastyr University, I have appreciated the significant role it plays in the development of a science-based approach to natural medicine,” said Cherkin, in a Bastyr press release. “I am delighted to have this opportunity to help the University further develop its capacity for conducting research to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities.”

Highly regarded in his field, Dr. Cherkin has served on numerous boards and committees, been frequently published and earned several accolades, including Prevention Magazine’s 2011 Integrative Medicine Award for his research on how massage therapy can relieve back pain.

In 2010, he was appointed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to a three-year term on the National Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

He served as a Bastyr instructor in 1981 and he recently co-authored a study about the about the positive effects integrative care can have on diabetes patients.

Since 1986, Bastyr University has completed more than 100 research studies and was the first school of naturopathic medicine to secure funding from the NIH.