Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Medical Education

In the United States, increasing numbers of medical colleges have started offering courses in alternative medicine. For example, in three separate research surveys that surveyed 729 schools (125 medical schools offering an MD degree, 25 medical schools offering a Doctor of Osteopathic medicine degree, and 585 schools offering a nursing degree), 60% of the standard medical schools, 95% of osteopathic medical schools and 84.8% of the nursing schools teach some form of CAM. The University of Arizona College of Medicine offers a program in Integrative Medicine under the leadership of Dr. Andrew Weil which trains physicians in various branches of alternative medicine which "...neither rejects conventional medicine, nor embraces alternative practices uncritically." Accredited Naturopathic colleges and universities are also increasing in number and popularity in the USA. (See Naturopathic medicine)

Similarly "unconventional medicine courses are widely represented at European universities. They cover a wide range of therapies. Many of them are used clinically. Research work is underway at several faculties," but "only 40% of the responding [European] universities were offering some form of CAM training."

In Britain, no conventional medical schools offer courses that teach the clinical practice of alternative medicine. However, alternative medicine is taught in several unconventional schools as part of their curriculum. Teaching is based mostly on theory and understanding of alternative medicine, with emphasis on being able to communicate with alternative medicine specialists. To obtain competence in practicing clinical alternative medicine, qualifications must be obtained from individual medical societies. The student must have graduated and be a qualified doctor. The British Medical Acupuncture Society, which offers medical acupuncture certificates to doctors, is one such example, as is the College of Naturopathic Medicine UK and Ireland.

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