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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: The article by Dr Wetzel et al1 stated that 75 US medical schools (64%) offered courses in CAM.

To determine the availability of CAM education in Japan, we performed a telephone survey to all 80 Japanese medical schools for Western medicine in September 1998. The participants were curricular office workers at each medical school. We calculated the number of CAM courses and the departments that offered these courses. We defined CAM as therapies and health products other than Western medicine. Of 79 medical schools (98.8% response rate), 18 (22.8%) offered elective or required courses involving CAM. Of the 19 courses reported, 5 courses were taught by 4 departments and 1 lecture was taught by a company that manufactures herbal medicine. Four departments taught 1 course each and included the departments of philosophy, ethics, biochemistry, and Japanese oriental medicine. Six courses (31.6%) were in the department of anesthesia, and 2 courses each (10.5%) were in the departments of internal medicine, psychiatry, pharmacology, and physiology.

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