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Complement Ther Med. 2003 Sep;11(3):177-83.

Availability of acupuncture in the hospitals of a major academic medical center: a pilot study.

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Acupuncture Program, Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Acupuncture is widely used by the American public, but little is known about its availability and use in academic medical settings. We performed a pilot study to compare acupuncture services provided by hospitals affiliated with a major academic teaching institution, and a parallel survey of services provided through an acupuncture school in one city in New England.


Between December 2000 and July 2001, a telephone survey was conducted of the 13 hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and the clinics affiliated with the New England School of Acupuncture.


Acupuncture was available in 8 of the 13 hospitals. Acupuncture was provided in ambulatory clinics in all eight hospitals, but was available to inpatients in only one hospital. Six hospitals delivered acupuncture through an outpatient pain treatment service, one through a women's health center, one through an HIV clinic, and one hospital delivered acupuncture through two services; a program in the anesthesia department and a multi-disciplinary holistic program in a primary care department. In contrast, the acupuncture school clinics provided services through an on-site clinic at the school, through acupuncture departments at two community-based hospitals, and through a network of 12 satellite acupuncture-dedicated clinics operating throughout the state.


Acupuncture is available on a limited basis in a majority of the teaching hospitals in this city. At the acupuncture school clinics, there are few barriers to care. Future health care studies will need to examine the role of acupuncture in diverse geographic settings and to examine its impact on quality of care, teaching and its role in research in academic centers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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