A focus Group Study of Medical Students’ Views of an Integrated Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Curriculum: Students Teaching Teachers

Medical Education Online. 2008;13


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Medical Education Online

ISSN: 1087-2981 (Online)

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group

LCC Subject Category: Education: Special aspects of education | Medicine: Medicine (General)

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Désirée Lie, M.D

Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D

Sarah Pardee, BA

Wadie Najm, M.D., MSEd.


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 8 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Background: Student views of new curricula can shape training outcomes. This qualitative study elicited student opinions of CAM instruction to examine and distill best strategies.Methods: 49 second, third and fourth year students participated in focus groups using a predefined question route. Interviews were audio taped and transcribed.Results: Students successfully differentiated CAM curricula from other academic content and were supportive of a longitudinal integrated approach. They had positive disposition toward CAM use for themselves but this did not necessarily translate into patient recommendations. They agreed that goals of the CAM curriculum should center on awareness of patient use and evidence and information relevant to clinical practice. They advocated a case-based, hands-on, experiential strategy vs lectures. Students proposed greater institutional commitment to strengthen curricular effectiveness. The majority did not intend to practice CAM modalities but valued skills to assess them. Patient-centeredness was recognized. As training progressed, students exhibited a growing tendency to evaluate CAM efficacy, and therefore value, exclusively according to evidence.Conclusions: In-depth student input allowed examination of the effectiveness of a CAM curriculum,permitting improvement and assessment of program effectiveness.