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February 17, 1999

Medical School Courses in Alternative Medicine

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(7):609-611. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-7-jbk0217

To the Editor: Although the article by Dr Wetzel and colleagues1 is a welcome addition to the scant literature on medical education in alternative medicine, a sensitive issue missing from the authors' comments was consideration of the intention of these courses. Some believe that presentation of information about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is, by implication, advocacy of CAM. The fine line between conveying information about a therapy and its clinical application vs "how-to" instruction is a very important distinction. This differentiation is reflected in the American Academy of Family Physicians' recently issued policy on continuing medical accreditation for courses addressing alternative medicine, which accepts the former approach but disallows accreditation of courses including the latter information.

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