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Evaluating CAM Education in Health Professions Programs

Stratton, Terry D. PhD; Benn, Rita K. PhD; Lie, Désirée A. MD, MSEd; Zeller, Janice M. PhD, RN; Nedrow, Anne R. MD

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31814a5152
CAM Education

As medical, nursing, and allied health programs integrate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) content into existing curricula, they face many of the same challenges to assessment and evaluation as do more traditional aspects of health professions education, namely, (1) specifying measurable objectives, (2) identifying valid indicators, and (3) evaluating the attainment of desired outcomes.

Based on the experiences of 14 National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) education grant recipients funded between 2000 and 2003, the authors cite selected examples to illustrate strengths and deficits to “mainstreaming” CAM content into established health professions curricula, including subjecting it to rigorous, systematic evaluation.

In addition to offering recommendations for more strenuously evaluating key CAM-related educational outcomes, the authors discuss related attitudes, knowledge, and skills and how these, like other aspects of health professions training, may result in enhanced patient care through modifications in clinical (provider) behaviors.

Author Information

Dr. Stratton is assistant dean, Student Assessment and Program Evaluation, and assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr. Benn is research investigator, Department of Family Medicine, and director of education, Integrative Medicine Program, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Dr. Lie is clinical professor and director, Division of Faculty Development, Department of Family Medicine, University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, Irvine, California.

Dr. Zeller is professor, Department of Adult Health Nursing, and associate professor, Department of Immunology/Microbiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Nedrow is associate professor, Departments of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Portland, Oregon.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Stratton, Office of Medical Education, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, MN104 Medical Science Building, Lexington, KY, 40536-0298; telephone: (859) 323-2785; fax: (859) 323-2076; e-mail: (

© 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges