The authors present a set of curriculum guidelines in integrative medicine for medical schools developed during 2002 and 2003 by the Education Working Group of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) and endorsed by the CAHCIM Steering Committee in May 2003. CAHCIM is a consortium of 23 academic health centers working together to help transform health care through rigorous scientific studies, new models of clinical care, and innovative educational programs that integrate biomedicine, the complexity of human beings, the intrinsic nature of healing, and the rich diversity of therapeutic systems. Integrative medicine can be defined as an approach to the practice of medicine that makes use of the best-available evidence taking into account the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of both conventional and complementary/alternative approaches. The competencies described in this article delineate the values, knowledge, attitudes, and skills that CAHCIM believes are fundamental to the field of integrative medicine. Many of these competencies reaffirm humanistic values inherent to the practice of all medical specialties, while others are more specifically relevant to the delivery of the integrative approach to medical care, including the most commonly used complementary/alternative medicine modalities, and the legal, ethical, regulatory, and political influences on the practice of integrative medicine. The authors also discuss the specific challenges likely to face medical educators in implementing and evaluating these competencies, and provide specific examples of implementation and evaluation strategies that have been found to be successful at a variety of CAHCIM schools.
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