The purpose of the Tufts Program in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (EBCAM),is to graduate medical students with the knowledge, attitudes and skills to critically evaluate complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies and selectively integrate them into their future practices of allopathic medicine. This will be accomplished through the development and implementation of an enhanced four-year curriculum that incorporates evidenced-based CAM into the allopathic educational program at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). The initiative will be organized into three principal, interrelated activities that constitute its specific aims: (1) Creation and maintenance of an interactive, electronic resource devoted to the clinical application of CAM in the allopathic setting. Students, faculty and staff from TUSM and other institutions will collaborate to develop a fully digitized CAM Resource Center consisting of continuously updated information on CAM extensively linked to the rest of TUSM's electronic curriculum and to external sources of evidence-based CAM data. (2) Review of the pre-clinical curriculum and integration of selected CAM content therein. Curricular reviewers will work with faculty from selected courses to develop and incorporate CAM material into the existing curriculum, and create specific links from the allopathic curriculum to the CAM Reference Center. No attempt will be made to create an independent survey course in CAM. (3) Development of a clinical CAM curriculum in the third and fourth years. Students will critically review the CAM literature as it pertains to the care of patients they encounter in their family medicine clerkship; they will interact with virtual CAM cases in all of their third-year rotations; and selected fourth- year students will participate in a combined clinical and research elective in CAM. Two overriding principles will govern all activities of the program. First, as its title suggests, EBCAM will be held to the highest available standards of scientific evidence, helping to insure that TUSM graduates critical thinkers. Second, EBCAM will not be a solitary endeavor, but will involve extensive interdisciplinary collaboration with other professions and institutions, most notably the New England School of Acupuncture.
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