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Non-white med students reject therapies associated with their culture
Date:11/17/2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- Non-white medical students are more likely to embrace orthodox medicine and reject therapies traditionally associated with their cultures. That is one finding from an international study that measures the attitudes of medical students toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). While seemingly counter-intuitive, white students view CAM more favorably than their non-white counterparts, the study authors say.

CAM is the common, collective term that describes non-orthodox therapies considered not intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture.

Despite the growing popularity of CAM, many medical schools do not include CAM teachings within basic medical education. So researchers at four medical schools (Peninsula, UK; Birmingham, UK; Georgetown, USA; and Auckland, NZ) conducted two surveys to measure the attitudes of medical students toward CAM during their first and fourth year of medical training in schools that offer some CAM education either at the undergraduate or graduate level. The study is published online in Medical Teacher.

"The first study we conducted with first-year medical students indicated that overall, students wanted more information about CAM in their curriculum," said Hakima Amri, PhD, director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at Georgetown University Medical Center, the only science-based CAM Master's program at an academic institution in the United States. Amri is a co-investigator and the lead author of the US component of the study. "Our follow-up study measured attitude changes about CAM during medical training. We didn't observe a significant change in overall attitude between the first and fourth year, but we did spot some other interesting trends."

Amri says in the first study, U.S. medical students wanted more courses about CAM than students in Hong Kong, for example. (The Hong Kong school was not in
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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
414-312-7085
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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