Responding to Patients’ Questions about Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine

Publication ID Published Volume
9152 April 12, 2012 8

Abstract

The activities in this independent exercise and small group session have been developed to help first- and second-year medical students explore the issues that arise when communicating with patients regarding integrative medicine or complementary and alternative medicine use. These activities are designed to:

  1. Prepare students for situations in which they need to have discussions with patients regarding healing modalities about which most physicians have little or no information.
  2. Give students tools to help them communicate with patients about different health beliefs and health care models in a way that promotes a stronger doctor-patient relationship.
  3. Teach students to evaluate the quality of and synthesize information from a variety of sources to answer patient questions about IM/CAM.

This linked independent research and small group exercise was created and first taught in 2002 and has been updated annually (to reflect evolving research in integrative medicine). The linked exercise was designed to enrich both independent and interactive components of the required curriculum in integrative medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. This portion of the curriculum is presented in the “Mechanisms, Methods and Malignancies” course of the second preclinical year. Together with a two-hour overview lecture on the history, prevalence, and use of complementary and alternative medicine, this content forms the foundation of UCSF’s UME instruction in integrative medicine, and reinforces the social/behavioral sciences and epidemiology/evidence-based medicine curricular themes.

Citation

Adler S, Coulter Y, Polich G, Hyland K, Chan J. Responding to patients’ questions about complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2012;8:9152. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9152

Educational Objectives

  1. To identify and evaluate the quality of a variety of complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine information resources, including databases, printed materials, and Internet-based options.
  2. To summarize and synthesize information from a variety of sources to answer patient questions about integrative medicine and complementary and alternative medicine.
  3. To apply information about CAM in a simulated discussion with a patient (role play) about different health beliefs and health care models.
  4. To generate a strategy for situations in which they need to have discussions with patients regarding modalities or treatments for which there is insufficient or no information.

Keywords

  • Integrative, Healing Modalities, Health Beliefs

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