Complementary and alternative medicine in US medical schools

Adv Med Educ Pract. 2015 Feb 12;6:113-7. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S69761. eCollection 2015.


An analysis of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in US medical school curriculum was undertaken. Websites for 130 US medical schools were systematically analyzed for course listings and content. Half of the schools (50.8%) offered at least one CAM course or clerkship. A total of 127 different course listings were identified, embracing a range of topics and methods of instruction. The most frequently listed topics were traditional medicine, acupuncture, spirituality, and herbs, along with the general topic of CAM. Nearly 25.0% of the courses referenced personal growth or self-care through CAM practices, while only 11.0% referenced inter-professional education activities involving interaction with CAM providers. The most frequently reported instructional methods were lectures, readings, and observation of, or receiving a CAM treatment. The findings of this analysis indicated fewer medical schools offered instruction in CAM than previously reported and a wide range of approaches to the topic across the schools where CAM is taught.

Keywords: CAM; complementary and alternative medicine; curriculum; medical education.