Integrating Alt Med into Conventional Education

ABSTRACT: Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine Into Conventional Medical Education: Role of Basic Science [07/09/2001; Archives Of Internal Medicine]

We read with interest the essay by Caspi et al on medical education and complementary-alternative medicine (CAM), in which they decry the communication gap between allopathic and CAM health care providers and suggest that the key to changing this reality lies in moving to a new paradigm of medical education, ie, one that incorporates the elements of common CAM disciplines into the required core medical curriculum.

As physiologists based in a medical school, we have observed the tensions prevalent between conventional and unconventional health care practitioners, and as research scientists we often share the skepticism that many have toward CAM approaches because of a perceived lack of scientific data.

However, as medical educators who direct 2 first-year basic science courses (Human Physiology and Human Endocrinology), we fully agree with the premise put forth by Caspi et al1 that unless the basic "ABC language" of CAM is introduced to all medical students, we will not educate a new generation of physicians with a better ability to communicate with CAM providers.

Indeed, we would submit that doing so is precisely in line with the new educational goals advanced in the recent report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) as part of the Medical School Objectives Project (MSOP).

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