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Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Jul-Aug;15(4):46-54.

Learning activities to enhance research literacy in a CAM college curriculum.

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Oregon Health & Science University, School of Nursing, Portland, USA.


As complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies become increasingly accepted healthcare options, it is of major importance for CAM institutions to enhance research literacy and an evidence-based perspective in their curricula. A research education program for students and faculty at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), developed in collaboration with the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing, has been supported by an R25 award from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). A key initiative of OCOM's grant is the design of learning activities that infuse a research perspective into nonresearch courses in both the traditional Chinese medicine and biomedicine curricula. This approach was pilot-tested in course sequences chosen from each of the 3 years of the master's degree program. Learner-centered activities included Infusing Evidence and Reflection Into Introductory Qigong Classes (Year 1: Qigong), Using Evidence to Inform Acupuncture Point Selection (Year 2: Point Actions and Indications), and Media and Research in Western Clinical Medicine (Year 3: Western Clinical Diagnosis). Among the lessons learned are the need to infuse learning activities into the curriculum in a manner that minimizes interactivity redundancy and reinforces learning, the importance for faculty to communicate to students the rationale for introducing the learning activities, and the value of creating a learning activity design template to guide faculty recognition of essential elements in design and evaluation and to provide sustainable overviews of the learning activities.

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