Altern Ther Health Med 2007 (Jan); 13 (1): 30-35
Chaterji R, Tractenberg RE, Amri H, Lumpkin M, Amorosi SB, Haramati A
Georgetown University School of Medicine,
Washington, DC, USA
PURPOSE: To assess attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and its place in the medical school curriculum and medical practice among preclinical students at Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM), Washington, DC.
METHOD: Two-hundred sixty-six first-year (n=111) and second-year (n=155) medical students rated their attitudes toward CAM and 15 CAM modalities in terms of personal use, inclusion in the curriculum, and use/utility in clinical practice.
RESULTS: Nearly all (91%) students agreed that "CAM includes ideas and methods from which Western medicine could benefit"; more than 85% agreed that "knowledge about CAM is important to me as a student/future practicing health professional"; and more than 75% felt that CAM should be included in the curriculum. Among all students, the most frequently indicated level of desired training was "sufficient to advise patients about use," for 11 of the 15 modalities. The greatest level of training was wanted for acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, and nutritional supplements. The descriptions of CAM in future clinical practice that occurred most frequently were endorsement, referral, or provision of acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, herbal medicine, massage, nutritional supplements, prayer, and meditation.
CONCLUSIONS: Interest in and enthusiasm about CAM modalities was high in this sample; personal experience was much less prevalent. Students were in favor of CAM training in the curriculum to the extent that they could provide advice to patients; the largest proportions of the sample planned to endorse, refer patients for, or provide 8 of the 15 modalities surveyed in their future practice.