Implications for education in complementary and alternative medicine: a survey of entry attitudes in students at five health professional schools

J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Apr;13(3):381-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.6273.


Introduction: The National Institutes of Health provided grants to the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and 14 other allopathic academic health centers for the development of curricula in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). A key component of the curriculum evaluation for OHSU was provided by a survey assessing attitudes toward CAM and selected personality characteristics of entering students in chiropractic, naturopathic, Oriental, and allopathic medicine in the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest.

Methods: A survey containing a variety of assessments of attitudes toward CAM and the personality traits of adventurousness and tolerance to ambiguity was administered to students entering four Portland, Oregon doctoral-level health professional schools and an allopathic medical school in the Upper Midwest (University of Nebraska College of Medicine) during the 2004-2005 academic year.

Results: Students of naturopathy (n = 63) and Oriental Medicine (n = 71) were the most "CAM positive," adventurous and tolerant of ambiguity, and Midwestern allopathic medical students (n = 58) the least. In general, chiropractic students (n = 89) and allopathic medical students from the Pacific Northwest (n = 95) were intermediate in CAM attitudes between these two groups (all p < 0.05). Female students were more "CAM positive" in all schools compared to male students.

Conclusions: Students have high levels of interest in CAM upon entrance to their schools. Health professional discipline, geographic location, personality qualities, and gender appear to influence CAM attitudes in entering students.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Complementary Therapies / education*
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Program Evaluation
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*