View Full Version : The Inclusion of CAM in the Classroom is changing the Face of Medical Education

09-25-09, 05:08 PM
Facing pressure from students and patients, and infused with grant money from the federal government and philanthropic organizations, many conventional medical schools that once dismissed integrative and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are embracing it wholeheartedly, incorporating it into required courses, adding electives, and establishing residencies and fellowships to help familiarize tomorrow’s MDs with things such as acupuncture, herbs, dietary supplements and massage.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), 113 of the nation’s 126 accredited medical schools incorporate discussion of integrative medicine into their required courses. Seventy-seven medical schools offer stand-alone electives on such things as Traditional Chinese Medicine and mindfulness-based stress reduction.
And as of this year, eight universities, including the University of Arizona, the University of Texas and the University of Connecticut, require that medical students take part in a 250-hour integrative medicine curriculum as part of their three-year residency after medical school. “This moves [integrative medicine] from being an elective to being required,” said Victoria Maizes, MD, executive director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, which developed the pilot Integrative Medicine in Residency Program for the eight participating schools this year. “It says that it is part of good medicine that all physicians should be learning. That is a really big deal.”
In courses ranging from pharmacology to oncology at medical schools across the country the subject of dietary supplements is arising more than ever. “I devote much of my lecture time in the required curriculum to botanicals and supplements, given that they are so commonly used by patients,” said Ellen Hughes, MD, PhD, former director of education for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) and a frequent guest lecturer at UCSF Medical School. “Students are exposed to this subject throughout their education.”
Nutrition Business Journal explores the state of integrative medicine education, research, insurance coverage and other topics in our Integrative Medicine and Dietary Supplements issue (formerly titled the Complementary and Alternative Medicine issue), which publishes later this month. To order a copy of the issue or to subscribe to NBJ, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com (http://www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com/).