Integrating complementary and alternative medicine into a health sciences curriculum.
- ISSN: 1565012X
Curricula in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) should address interdisciplinary care issues, but is traditionally done in the standard silos of single disciplines, even among conventional health care professions. In developing interdisciplinary CAM content for seven healthcare disciplines in a College of Health Sciences, the major barrier identified was the divergent class schedules. The most efficient, cost effective and flexible plan to deliver CAM content into all disciplines was to develop a web-based course that could be delivered in a team taught manner. The goals were to: (1) build bridges across disciplines within and outside the college, (2) introduce evidence-based integrative care, (3) select alternative modalities for presentation that are widely used by patients and are evidence based and 4) provide experiential skills for students. To introduce students to other disciplines we used the following guidelines: (1) origin of practice, (2) scope/focus of practice, (3) education/licensure, (4) sites of practice, and (5) integrative care (how the practice relates to other traditional and/or alternative practices). The alternative practitioners developed PowerPoint presentations along with streaming video using the same guidelines. The delivery of presentations via Blackboard, a web-based instructional package, offers flexibility in modifying the content and allows a self-paced course with interactive 'chat room' opportunities. The web-based course has been offered to approximately 150 students from various disciplines. Surveys and questionnaires indicate wide acceptance and high approval ratings and in this way met the objective of introducing students to a broader meaning of 'integrative care' with the creation of an interdisciplinary community of learners. Copyright Freund Publishing House Limited.