Background: There is a growing need to educate physicians about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Few introductory courses in CAM have been described. Purpose: To develop and evaluate an introductory course in CAM for medical students and residents. Method: We conducted a controlled study evaluating a case-based, Web-based course in CAM, making comparison to no intervention. Participants were 123 internal medicine residents, family medicine residents, and 3rd- and 4th-year medical students at academic residency programs in internal medicine and family medicine and two U.S. medical schools. Outcomes included knowledge of CAM, attitudes toward CAM, and course evaluation information. Results: Eighty-nine learners completed the course. Test scores among a subset of these (n = 57) were higher (M ± SD = 78.7 ± 10.1) than scores (50.9 ± 8.5, p < .007) among a no-intervention control group (n = 34), and remained higher (64.9 ± 11.4) 3 months later. After the course participants felt more comfortable discussing CAM with patients, recognized a greater role for CAM, and knew better where to find information on CAM (ps < .001 compared to baseline). Course ratings were high, although 26% of learners desired greater feedback. Conclusions: This brief course in CAM improved knowledge, changed attitudes, and was well received.
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