National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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NCCAM Education Grant Program Focus of October 2007
Issue of Academic Medicine

The October 2007 issue of the journal Academic Medicine, published by the American Association of Medical Colleges, highlights the results of 15 Education Project Grants funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health.

With millions of Americans including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in their health care, and as CAM therapies become increasingly available as a result of consumer demand, it is critical that conventional health care professionals be familiar with the most commonly used forms of CAM. However, there are many challenges facing health professional schools in terms of time, content, and priorities for developing curricula. Responding to these needs, NCCAM funded 15 Education Project grants. This novel grant program developed CAM health education curricula in established medical, dental, nursing, and allied health professional schools, residency training programs, and continuing education programs.

“This CAM education program was an essential first step toward creating curricula that will help conventional health care professionals to understand and advise their patients about CAM use,” said Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., NCCAM’s Acting Director at the time. “It provides tools that schools can use and reflects NCCAM’s commitment to providing evidence-based information about CAM to health care professionals, and supporting the integration of proven CAM therapies.”

In this issue of Academic Medicine, the education program grantees discuss the tools used, challenges faced, and lessons learned in the development of CAM curricula for conventional health care professionals. Nancy J. Pearson, Ph.D., NCCAM Program Officer who oversees NCCAM’s research training and education grant programs notes, “these articles as a group reflect an important contribution to medical education, and create a foundation for the emerging discipline of integrative medicine.”

Below is a full list of the NCCAM-funded research papers appearing in the October issue of Academic Medicine, Volume 82, Number 10, October 2007.

  • Preface: Insights from Educational Initiatives in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Aviad Haramati, et al.
  • The CAM Educations Program of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Overview. Nancy J. Pearson and Margaret A. Chesney.
  • Rationales for CAM Education in Health Professions Training Programs. Susan A. Gaylord and J. Douglas Mann.
  • What Should Students Learn about Complementary and Alternative Medicine? Barak Gaster, et al.
  • Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine Instruction into Health Professions Education: Organizational and Instructional Strategies. Mary Y. Lee, et al.
  • Barriers, Strategies, and Lessons Learned from Complementary and Alternative Medicine Curricular Initiatives. Victor S. Sierpina, et al.
  • Using Complementary and Alternative Medicine Curricular Elements to Foster Medical Student Self-Awareness. William Elder, et al.
  • Evaluation CAM Education in Health Professions Programs. Terry D. Stratton et al.
  • Collaborations between Allopathic and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Health Professionals: Four Initiatives. Anne R. Nedrow, et al.