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The Barriers for Implementing Complementary Medicine into Physician Training

November 27, 2013

A study conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) determined barriers that are the most obstructive to implementing Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Integrative Medicine into family medicine residency programs.

Paula Gadiner, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor and the Assistant Director of Integrative Medicine at the Boston Medical Center, recently led a survey study that evaluated the implementation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) in family medicine residency programs. Among the 212 residency directors who responded to the survey, the top barriers were identified as such: time in residents’ schedules (77%); faculty training (75%); access to CAM/IM experts (43%); lack of reimbursement (43%); and financial restraints (29%). In addition, the study also assessed the knowledge and attitudes of residency directors on the CAM and IM competencies. According to the study, most residency directors were aware of the competencies and acknowledged their importance in residents’ education. However, they did not create a standard for the learning objectives of CAM and IM. Dr. Gadiner remarked that CAM and IM are “a part of medicine that has significant impact on patient care” and that “we need to minimize barriers to implementing CAM/IM curricula in order to address these competencies and promote a larger focus on patient centered care.” The study  ultimately explains why CAM and IM  remains unincorporated in family medicine and how the pitfalls can be addressed to facilitate the integration of CAM practices to improve patient care.


For more details on this study, visit the NCBI webpage.

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