Another study, I found this one most encouraging. A survey of 1784 current U.S. medical students from around the country said knowledge of Complementary and Alternative Medicine could help them as Western doctors do a better job. (51% of U.S. medical schools participated). The survey’s overall objectives were to discover how many future doctors are using Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies and which therapies and to assess medical students’ attitudes toward CAM. CAM therapies include, Acupuncture, herbal medicine, yoga, massage and other non-traditional healing modalities.
There is certainly a need for emerging physicians to integrate Complementary and Integrative Medicine into their medical practices. Medical schools are recognizing this and have taken steps at restructuring their curriculum to incorporate CAM educational opportunities. It’s been my privilege to be personally involved with one such school, the USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles when they host their CAM Health Care day each year.
The Keck School invites a few local Alternative Medicine practitioners from various fields to speak in the classrooms of their first year medical students. Being an Acupuncturist I spoke about Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine. I found the students had an incredible interest in learning more about Chinese medicine and were extremely open minded and had great questions. However, when I asked how many of them had ever gone to an Acupuncturist only about 20% said they had and not surprisingly they were most often the students from Asian decent. I’m looking forward to getting more feedback from the students at this years CAM day to be held in March. I’ll keep you posted, it’s always an enjoyable afternoon.
Adequately preparing our future doctors is a daunting task, but I do believe our medical institutions are on the right track. The next generation of doctors are already telling us that one day soon, CAM will be more than peripheral medicine, it will be main stream.
The findings were published online Jan. 20, 2010 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.