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JAMA. 1998 Sep 2;280(9):784-7.

Courses involving complementary and alternative medicine at US medical schools.

Author information

  • 1Office of Educational Development, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass, USA. mwetzel@warren.med.harvard.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

With the public's increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine, medical schools must consider the challenge of educating physicians about these therapies.

OBJECTIVES:

To document the prevalence, scope, and diversity of medical school education in complementary and alternative therapy topics and to obtain information about the organizational and academic features of these courses.

DESIGN:

Mail survey and follow-up letter and telephone survey conducted in 1997-1998.

PARTICIPANTS:

Academic or curriculum deans and faculty at each of the 125 US medical schools.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Courses taught at US medical schools and administrative and educational characteristics of these courses.

RESULTS:

Replies were received from 117 (94%) of the 125 US medical schools. Of schools that replied, 75 (64%) reported offering elective courses in complementary or alternative medicine or including these topics in required courses. Of the 123 courses reported, 84 (68%) were stand-alone electives, 38 (31%) were part of required courses, and one (1%) was part of an elective. Thirty-eight courses (31%) were offered by departments of family practice and 14 (11%) by departments of medicine or internal medicine. Educational formats included lectures, practitioner lecture and/or demonstration, and patient presentations. Common topics included chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal therapies, and mind-body techniques.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is tremendous heterogeneity and diversity in content, format, and requirements among courses in complementary and alternative medicine at US medical schools.

Comment in

PMID:
9729989
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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