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Explore (NY). 2013 Sep-Oct;9(5):299-307. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2013.06.002.

Family medicine residency program directors attitudes and knowledge of family medicine CAM competencies.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA. Electronic address:



Little is known about the incorporation of integrative medicine (IM) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into family medicine residency programs.


The Society for Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) approved a set of CAM/IM competencies for family medicine residencies. We hope to evaluate whether residency programs are implementing such competencies into their curriculum using an online survey tool. We also hope to assess the knowledge and attitudes of Residency Directors (RDs) on the CAM/IM competencies.


A survey was distributed by the Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) Educational Research Alliance to RDs via e-mail. The survey was distributed to 431 RDs. Of those who received it, 212 responded, giving a response rate of 49.1%. Questions assessed the knowledge and attitudes of CAM/IM competencies and incorporation of CAM/IM into the residency curriculum.


Forty-five percent of RDs were aware of the competencies. In terms of RD attitudes, 58% reported that CAM/IM is an important component of residents' curriculum; yet, 60% report not having specific learning objectives for CAM/IM in their residency curriculum. Among all programs, barriers to CAM/IM implementation included time in residents' schedules (77%); faculty training (75%); access to CAM experts (43%); lack of reimbursement (43%); and financial resources (29%).


While many RDs are aware of the STFM CAM/IM competencies and acknowledge their role in residence education, there are many barriers that prevent residencies from implementing the STFM CAM/IM competencies.

© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Complementary medicine; family medicine; medical education

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