Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine Instruction into Health Professions Education: Organizational and Instructional Strategies

Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA.
Academic Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.93). 11/2007; 82(10):939-45. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318149ebf8
Source: PubMed


A few years ago, the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded a program called the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Education Project. Grantees were 14 medical and nursing schools and the American Medical Student Association, which funded six additional medical schools. Grants were awarded in cohorts of five per year in 2000, 2001, and 2002-2003. The R25 grant recipients identified several major themes as crucial to the success of integrating CAM into health professions curricula. The rationale for integrating CAM curricula was in part to enable future health professionals to provide informed advice as patients dramatically increase the use of CAM. Success of new CAM education programs relied on leadership, including top-down support from institutions' highest administrators. Formal and informal engagement of key faculty and opinion leaders raised awareness, interest, and participation in programs. A range of faculty development efforts increased CAM-teaching capacity. The most effective strategies for integration addressed a key curriculum need and used some form of evidence-based practice framework. Most programs used a combination of instructional delivery strategies, including experiential components and online resources, to address the needs of learners while promoting a high level of ongoing interest in CAM topics. Institutions noted several benefits, including increased faculty development activities, the creation of new programs, and increased cross- and inter-university collaborations. Common challenges included the need for qualified faculty, crowded and changing curricula, a lack of defined best practices in CAM, and post-grant sustainability of programs.

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Available from: Leslie A Wimsatt, Oct 28, 2014
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    • "The October 2007 issue of Academic Medicine was devoted to a series of articles on the CAM Education Project grants. Detailed information is available on the rationale and focus of student learning (Gaylord and Mann, 2007; Gaster et al., 2007); organizational and instructional strategies (Lee et al., 2007); barriers, strategies, and lessons learned (Sierpina et al., 2007); strategies to foster student self awareness (Elder et al., 2007); evaluation of CAM education programs (Stratton et al., 2007); and collaborative initiatives between allopathic and CAM health professionals (Nedrow et al., 2007). NCCAM initiated a second series of R-25 grants in 2004 that focused on the goal of increasing research content in CAM practitioner programs that offer a doctoral degree in a CAM practice. "
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    ABSTRACT: Over the past three decades, evidence has accumulated that demonstrates that the US healthcare system as currently structured is untenable given the cost of healthcare, poor outcomes associated with this cost, imminent shortages in many categories of health professionals, and underutilization of other health professionals. The system also faces other challenges, such as the lack of access to care and a growing demand by consumers for healthcare that offers choice, quality, convenience, affordability, and personalized care. Workforce analyses estimating needs and anticipated shortages of health professionals are projected on the current healthcare system, which generally does not include integrative healthcare and does not include complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners. This paper examines the opportunities and implications of going beyond the current paradigm of workforce planning and health professions education and offers recommendations that detail how the health of the public may be served by incorporating an integrative health perspective into health professions education and workforce planning, deployment, and utilization.
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