Introduction: There is a growing demand for complementary
and alternative medicine (CAM) in Western societies. This trend
has lead to the gradual integration of CAM courses into medical
school curricula. The aim of this study was to survey key decision
makers at German medical schools with regard to their
views on CAM and to examine the extent to which CAM has already
been integrated in the German medical school system.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 753 clinic
and institute directors at German medical schools. Results: A
total of 500 questionnaires (66%) were returned. 39% of respondents
had a positive opinion of CAM, 27% had a neutral opinion
and 31% had a negative opinion. 3% of respondents were unsure.
The CAM therapies viewed most positively were osteopathy
(52%), acupuncture (48%), and naturopathy (41%). Most respondents
were in favor of integrating CAM into the medical
system. However, a larger percentage favored its use in research
(61%) and teaching (59%) rather than in the treatment of
patients (58%). Only 191 respondents (38%) indicated that CAM
treatment methods had been integrated into the curriculum of
their respective medical schools. In these schools, CAM was
mainly used in patient treatment (35%), followed by research
(22%) and education (21%). Conclusions: Our data show that
the majority of respondents were in favor of integrating CAM
into medical school curricula. However, at the time of our survey,
only a small percentage of medical schools had actually
put this into practice. The reasons for this discrepancy are
unclear and should be further investigated.
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