Survey  Educators CAM in Conventional Health Ctrs

Survey of educators at conventional integrative medicine programs and accredited CAM schools on the status of inter-institutional relationships.

Weeks J, Kligler B, Qiao Y, Snider P, Haramati A, O'Bryon D, Perlman A, Lawson K, Goldstein M.

National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care: Creating Common Ground (Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium), c/o 3345 59th Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116.

PURPOSE: To determine the extent and nature of inter-institutional relationships between federally-recognized CAM schools and selected conventional academic health centers, and to explore participant perception of factors which promote or restrict such relationships.

METHODS: A multi-disciplinary team chose to limit the survey to two populations. The targeted CAM schools were those that are accredited by a federally-recognized accrediting agency (N=130) in the five disciplines where education has achieved this status: chiropractic (N=18), acupuncture and Oriental medicine (N=40), massage therapy (N=56), naturopathic medicine (N=4) and direct-entry midwifery (N=12).

Conventional academic medicine was represented by those medical schools that comprise the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (N=28). Parallel surveys to the participant groups were administered through in spring of 2005.

RESULTS: 26 of 28 (93%) of conventional medical school programs responded and 79 of 130 (61%) of CAM programs for an overall 66% response rate. Overall, informal contacts between types of schools/programs were found to be higher (>50%) than formal relationships (typically 15% to 30%).

Conventional programs were more likely to have formal relationships with schools of acupuncture (32%) and massage (20%) and less likely with chiropractic (12%) and naturopathic medicine (8%). Overall, 34% of CAM schools noted formal relationships with conventional medical programs. The distinct CAM professions schools were typically less likely to have relationships with each other than with conventional medical programs.

Significant majorities of respondents from medical schools (85%) and CAM educators (86%) agreed that "creating a fully integrated healthcare system will require that institutions/programs like ours develop stronger, multi-dimensional, inter-institutional relationships" with programs of the other disciplines.

Materials on best practices, including the sharing of sample agreements created by other institutions, and focused meetings on the topic were viewed as top strategies for enhancing inter-institutional relationships.

CONCLUSIONS: Conventional and CAM educational programs presently have a significant web of relationships that is yet marked by an informality which does not reflect the importance such relationships are viewed as having in fostering fully-integrated healthcare.

Strategies were identified for supporting institutions in strengthening and deepening these relationships.

No Am Res Conf on Complementary & Integrative Medicine, May, 2006

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