Integrating complementary and alternative medicine education into the pharmacy curriculum

Am J Pharm Educ. 2008 Aug 15;72(4):74. doi: 10.5688/aj720474.


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of an integrated approach to the teaching of evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in a pharmacy curriculum.

Design: Evidence-based CAM education was integrated throughout the third, fourth, and fifth years of the pharmacy curriculum. Specifically, an introductory module focusing on CAM familiarization was added in the third year and integrated, evidence-based teaching related to CAM was incorporated into clinical topics through lectures and clinical case studies in the fourth and fifth years.

Assessment: Students' self-assessed and actual CAM knowledge increased, as did their use of evidence-based CAM resources. However, only 30% of the fourth-year students felt they had learned enough about CAM. Students preferred having CAM teaching integrated into the curriculum beginning in the first year rather than waiting until later in their education.

Conclusion: CAM education integrated over several years of study increases students' knowledge and application.

Keywords: complementary and alternative medicines; curriculum; evidence-based education.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Australia
  • Clinical Competence
  • Complementary Therapies / education*
  • Complementary Therapies / organization & administration
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Pharmacy / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Schools, Pharmacy / organization & administration*
  • Students, Pharmacy* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / organization & administration
  • Young Adult