Learning activities to enhance research literacy in a CAM college curriculum

Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Jul-Aug;15(4):46-54.


As complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies become increasingly accepted healthcare options, it is of major importance for CAM institutions to enhance research literacy and an evidence-based perspective in their curricula. A research education program for students and faculty at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), developed in collaboration with the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing, has been supported by an R25 award from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). A key initiative of OCOM's grant is the design of learning activities that infuse a research perspective into nonresearch courses in both the traditional Chinese medicine and biomedicine curricula. This approach was pilot-tested in course sequences chosen from each of the 3 years of the master's degree program. Learner-centered activities included Infusing Evidence and Reflection Into Introductory Qigong Classes (Year 1: Qigong), Using Evidence to Inform Acupuncture Point Selection (Year 2: Point Actions and Indications), and Media and Research in Western Clinical Medicine (Year 3: Western Clinical Diagnosis). Among the lessons learned are the need to infuse learning activities into the curriculum in a manner that minimizes interactivity redundancy and reinforces learning, the importance for faculty to communicate to students the rationale for introducing the learning activities, and the value of creating a learning activity design template to guide faculty recognition of essential elements in design and evaluation and to provide sustainable overviews of the learning activities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture / education
  • Biomedical Research / education*
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Complementary Therapies / education*
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Graduate*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Oregon
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Universities