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Fam Med. 2013 May;45(5):330-4.

Integrative medicine at academic health centers: a survey of clinicians' educational backgrounds and practices.

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School of Nursing, University of Washington, WA, USA.



Integrative medicine is a relatively new field that seeks to combine conventional and nonconventional approaches to patient care. Many academic health centers have now established integrative medicine clinics, yet little is known about the clinicians who practice at them. We used a nationwide survey to characterize the backgrounds, clinical practices, and involvement in research and education of clinicians who practice integrative medicine at academic health centers.


Participants included clinicians (MDs, DOs, PAs, and nurse practitioners) who practice at 30 different integrative medicine clinics that are affiliated with academic health centers.


Completed surveys from 136 of 162 clinicians were received (84% response rate). The integrative therapies that clinicians most often reported providing themselves were breathing exercises (66%), herbal medicine prescribing (61%), meditation (44%), and functional medicine (34%). The integrative therapies that clinicians most often referred their patients for were acupuncture (96%), massage (92%), yoga (85%), and meditation (79%). Respondents reported spending a mean of 20% of their time training medical students, and 63% had participated in research in the past year.


This survey provides the first national assessment of clinicians practicing integrative medicine at academic health centers. These clinicians use a wide variety of complementary and alternative therapies and appear involved in the research and education missions of their academic health centers.

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