Context: As interest in CAM continues to increase, schools of medicine, nursing, and other health professional training programs are being encouraged to integrate content on CAM into curricula.
Objective: To assess the attitudes of faculty and staff toward CAM in medicine, nursing, and pharmacy within an academic health center.
Design: A survey was used to obtain data on general attitudes toward CAM, personal use, training needs, and perceived barriers to use.
Setting and participants: The survey was taken of 627 faculty and students employed or enrolled at the University of Minnesota. The overall response rate exceeded 50% for both students and faculty.
Results: More than 90% of faculty and students believe that clinical care should integrate the best of conventional and CAM practices and that health professionals should be prepared to advise patients about commonly used CAM methods; 88% of faculty and 84% of students indicated that CAM should be included in their school's curriculum. While there were similarities between the 3 faculty groups, the nursing faculty expressed the greatest interest in practicing CAM.
Conclusions: Faculty and students within medicine, nursing, and pharmacy have favorable attitudes toward the integration of CAM within education and clinical care. Personal use of CAM and training is limited. Lack of evidence is perceived to be the most significant barrier to integration of CAM into Western medicine. The high degree of receptivity suggests the need for both faculty training and curriculum development.