• Impact of the Integrative Medicine Elective on Medical Students

      Wright, Courtney A.; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Maizes, Victoria (The University of Arizona., 2011-03)
      Background: Integrative Medicine offers an approach to medical practice which addresses the public’s increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), personal, professional, and federal calls for more patient-centered care, and medical professionals’ deficiencies in self-care and reflection. Though the need for exposure to IM in medical school has been well articulated and many schools offer exposure to the field, the impact of such experiences is largely unknown. The University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine (AxCIM) re-designed its month-long elective in 2004 to better introduce students to the discipline. This paper reports the preliminary findings of a study examining changes in medical students’ attitudes about IM after participation in this elective. Methods: The Integrative Medicine Attitudes Questionnaire (IMAQ) was administered to medical students participating in the AzCIM’s bi-annual, month long IM elective at the beginning of the elective, at the end, 6 months after completion and 1 year after the elective. Results: 66 complete IMAQ scores were collected at baseline, 36 six months post-elective and 23 1 year after. Post-elective scores were significantly higher than at baseline. No difference from baseline was found in scores 6 months and 12 months post-elective. Conclusions: The preliminary results are encouraging regarding the elective’s improving attitudes toward IM immediately after its completion. This study serves as a resource and encouragement for IM education assessment and evaluation.