Ian D. Coulter

Photo of Ian Coulter
Senior Health Policy Researcher
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science; M.A. in sociology, University of Canterbury; B.A. in sociology, University of Canterbury

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Ian Coulter is a senior health policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. He is a professor emeritus at UCLA and a research professor at the Southern California University of Health Sciences. Coulter has more than 40 years of experience conducting both qualitative and quantitative research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and integrative medicine (IM) and has published over 200 articles and books. His recent NIH grants include an evidenced-based practices program in CAM; evaluation of hospital-based integrative medicine; and the context effects on the health encounter. He also holds grants from the DoD to conduct comparative effectiveness trials of chiropractic in military facilities; and an evaluation of the creation, implementation, and evaluation of health policies in Health Affairs. His current NIH grants include a Center of Excellence grant to study the appropriateness of care in CAM.

Coulter holds a B.A. and M.A. Honors in sociology from the University of Canterbury and a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics & Political Science. He also received an honorary doctorate in humanities from the Southern California University of Health Sciences; was a Pew Fellow at the RAND/UCLA Center for Health Policy Study from which he received a certificate in health policy analysis; and has a diploma in educational management from the Institute of Educational Management, Harvard University.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Professor Emeritus , UCLA School of Dentistry

Previous Positions

President, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College; Director, University of California, Los Angeles/Drew University Center for Minority Oral Health; Director, Education Abroad Program, University of California (Australia); Director, Integrative Medicine and Clinical Research, Samueli Institute

Recent Projects

  • Assessment Tools for Contextual Factors in Interactions in Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Systematic Review Program for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Evaluation of the Creation, Implementation, Evaluation of Health Policy in the DoD, Health Affairs
  • Comparative Effectiveness Trials of Chiropractic Care in the Military
  • Evaluation of Hospital Based Integrative Medicine

Selected Publications

I. D. Coulter, Integration and Paradigm Clash: The Practical Difficulties of Integrative Medicine, RAND Corporation (EP-20040002), 2004

Coulter ID, "Comparative Effectiveness Research: Does the Emperor Have Clothes?" Alternative Therapies Health Med, 17(2), 2011

Coulter ID, Khorsan R, Crawford C, Hsiao AF, "Integrative Health Care Under Review: An Emerging Field.," J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 33(9), 2010

Khorsan R, York A, Coulter ID, Coeytaux R, Wurzman R, Walter J, "Patient-based Outcome Assessment Instruments in Acupuncture Research," Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(1), 2010

Coulter ID, Lester P, Yarvis J, "Social Fitness," Military Medicine, 175(8), 2010

Salhani D, Coulter ID, "The Politics of Interprofessional Working and the Struggle for Professional Autonomy in Nursing," Social Science and Medicine, 2009

Coulter ID, Hilton L, Ryan G, Ellison M, Rhodes H., "Trials and Tribulations on the Road to Implementing Intergrative Medicine in a Hospital Setting," Health Sociology Review, 17(4), 2008

Davis MA, Martin BI, Coulter ID, Weeks WB, "US Spending On Complementary And Alternative Medicine In 2002- 2008 Plateaued, Suggesting New Role In Reformed Health System," Health Affairs, 32(1), 2013

Honors & Awards

  • 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, National Chiropractic Mutual Insurance Company
  • 2011 and 2019 Erskine Fellow, Health Sciences Center, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Americam Chiropractic Association Award Humanitarian of the Year 2018