The Integrative Medicine in Residency (IMR) program, a 200-hour Internet-based, collaborative educational initiative was implemented in 8 family medicine residency programs and has shown a potential to serve as a national model for incorporating training in integrative/complementary/alternative medicine in graduate medical education.
The curriculum content was designed based on a needs assessment and a set of competencies for graduate medical education developed following the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education outcome project guidelines. The content was delivered through distributed online learning and included onsite activities. A modular format allowed for a flexible implementation in different residency settings.
To assess the feasibility of implementing the curriculum, a multimodal evaluation was utilized, including: (1) residents' evaluation of the curriculum; (2) residents' competencies evaluation through medical knowledge testing, self-assessment, direct observations, and reflections; and (3) residents' wellness and well-being through behavioral assessments.
The class of 2011 (n=61) had a high rate of curriculum completion in the first and second year (98.7% and 84.2%) and course evaluations on meeting objectives, clinical utility, and functioning of the technology were highly rated. There was a statistically significant improvement in medical knowledge test scores for questions aligned with content for both the PGY-1 and PGY-2 courses.
The IMR program is an advance in the national effort to make training in integrative medicine available to physicians on a broad scale and is a success in terms of online education. Evaluation suggests that this program is feasible for implementation and acceptable to residents despite the many pressures of residency.