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1.  Herbal medicine use in pregnancy: results of a multinational study 
Background
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) is growing in the general population. Herbal medicines are used in all countries of the world and are included in the top CAM therapies used.
Methods
A multinational study on how women treat disease and pregnancy-related health ailments was conducted between October 2011 and February 2012 in Europe, North and South America and Australia. In this study, the primary aim was to determine the prevalence of herbal medicine use in pregnancy and factors related to such use across participating countries and regions. The secondary aim was to investigate who recommended the use of herbal medication in pregnancy.
Results
There were 9,459 women from 23 countries participating in the study. Of these, 28.9% reported the use of herbal medicines in pregnancy. Most herbal medicines were used for pregnancy-related health ailments such as cold and nausea. Ginger, cranberry, valerian and raspberry were the most commonly used herbs in pregnancy. The highest reported rate of herbal use medicines was in Russia (69%). Women from Eastern Europe (51.8%) and Australia (43.8%) were twice as likely to use an herbal medicine versus other regions. Women using herbal medicines were characteristically having their first child, non-smokers, using folic acid and consuming some alcohol in pregnancy. Also, women who were currently students and women with an education other than a high school degree were more likely to use herbal medicines than other women. Although 1 out of 5 women stated that a physician had recommended the herbal use, most women used herbal medicine in pregnancy on their own initiative.
Conclusions
In this multinational study herbal medicine use in pregnancy was high although there were distinct differences in the herbs and users of herbal medicines across regions. Most commonly the women self-medicated with herbal medicine to treat pregnancy-related health ailments. More knowledge regarding the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines in pregnancy is warranted.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-355
PMCID: PMC4029224  PMID: 24330413
Herbal medicine; CAM; Complementary and alternative medicine; Pregnancy; Information sources
2.  Medical students' knowledge and attitude towards complementary and alternative medicine – A survey in Ghana 
Interest, use of and research into Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM; 補充與替代醫學 bǔ chōng yǔ tì dài yī xué) is on the increase in recent times even in developed countries. It may therefore be appropriate if medical students who would become future physicians possess adequate knowledge and better attitude towards CAMS. This study assessed medical students' knowledge of, attitude towards, and usage of CAM as well as their opinion about integrating CAMs into the medical curriculum. In a cross-sectional study, 203 medical students in 2nd, 3rd and 4th year classes completed a questionnaire. Data was analyzed using SPSS 18 and GraphPad 5.01. Association between different variables was tested. The overall mean knowledge score was 19.6%. Students in higher years of study were significantly more knowledgeable in CAMs (p = 0.0006). The best known CAM was herbal medicine (63.6%), with relatives and friends being their main source of information. Students' attitude towards CAM was good (75.1%) with majority (71.5%) favouring introduction of CAM into the medical curriculum; preferably at the preclinical level (67.5%). Year of study, gender and locality where student grew up did not significantly affect attitude towards CAM use. Up to 117 (59.0%) of the students had ever used CAM especially herbal medicine. Although students in this study were deficient in knowledge on CAMs, their attitude and usage was good. Herbal medicine was the best known and used CAM. Majority of the students believed knowledge on CAM would be beneficial to their practice hence, desirous of its introduction into their medical curriculum.
Graphical abstract
doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2015.03.004
PMCID: PMC4936753  PMID: 27419086
Complementary; Alternative; Knowledge; Attitude; Ghana
3.  Attitudes and perceptions of Australian pharmacy students towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine – a pilot study 
Background
With the increased usage of CAM worldwide comes the demand for its integration into health professional education. However, the incorporation of CAM into health professional curricula is handled quite differently by different institutions and countries. Furthermore, the evaluation of CAM curricula is complicated because students' ability to learn about CAM may be influenced by factors such as student's prior knowledge and motivation, together with the perceptions and attitudes of clinical preceptors.
The study aimed to describe the attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of second, third and fourth year pharmacy students towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and to explore factors that might affect attitudes such as learning, preceptors and placements.
Methods
Pharmacy students from a University in South East Queensland, Australia participated in the study. The study consisted of a cross-sectional survey (n = 110) and semi-structured interviews (n = 9).
Results
The overall response rate for the survey was 75%, namely 50% (36/72) for second year, 77.3% (34/44) for third year and 97.6% (40/41) for fourth year students. Overall, 95.5% of pharmacy students believe that pharmacists should be able to advise patients about CAM and most (93.7%) have used CAM prior to course enrolment. Students' attitudes to CAM are influenced by the use of CAM by family, friends and self, CAM training, lecturers and to a lesser degree by preceptors. The majority of pharmacy students (89.2%) perceive education about CAM as a core and integral part of their professional degree and favour it over an additional postgraduate degree. However, they see a greater need for education in complementary medicines (such as herbal medicines, vitamins and minerals) than for education in complementary therapies (such as acupuncture, meditation and bio-magnetism). Knowledge and educational input rationalised rather than marginalised students' attitudes towards CAM.
Conclusion
Pharmacy students perceive education about CAM as a core and integral part of their professional degree. Students' attitudes towards CAM can be influenced by learning, lecturers, preceptors and practice experience. The content and focus of CAM education has to be further investigated and tailored to meet the professional needs of our future health professionals.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-2
PMCID: PMC2267156  PMID: 18221569
4.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
Conclusions
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743.
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
5.  Knowledge and attitudes towards complementary and alternative medicine among medical students in Turkey 
Objective
This study aims to examine knowledge and attitudes towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine among medical students in Turkey, and find out whether they want to be trained in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Methods
A cross-sectional study was carried out between October and December 2010 among medical students. Data were collected from a total of seven medical schools.
Findings
The study included 943 medical students. The most well known methods among the students were herbal treatment (81.2 %), acupuncture (80.8 %), hypnosis (78.8 %), body-based practices including massage (77 %) and meditation (65.2 %), respectively. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal treatment and meditation were better known among female participants compared to males (p < 0.05). Females and first year students, generally had more positive attitudes. A larger proportion of female students compared to male students reported that a doctor should be knowledgeable about CAM (p = 0.001), and this knowledge would be helpful in their future professional lives (p = 0.015). Positive attitudes towards and willingness to receive training declined as the number of years spent in the faculty of medicine increased.
Conclusions
Majority of the medical students were familiar with the CAM methods widely used in Turkey, while most of them had positive attitudes towards CAM as well as willingness to receive training on the subject, and they were likely to recommend CAM methods to their patients in their future professional lives. With its gradual scientific development and increasing popularity, there appears a need for a coordinated policy in integrating CAM into the medical curriculum, by taking expectations of and feedback from medical students into consideration in setting educational standards.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-115
PMCID: PMC3493362  PMID: 22862993
6.  Peer learning in the UNSW Medicine program 
BMC Medical Education  2015;15:167.
Background
The UNSW Australia Medicine program explicitly structures peer learning in program wide mixing of students where students from two adjoining cohorts complete the same course together, including all learning activities and assessment. The purpose of this evaluation is to explore the student experience of peer learning and determine benefits and concerns for junior and senior students.
Methods
All medical students at UNSW Australia in 2012 (n = 1608) were invited to complete the Peer Learning Questionnaire consisting of 26 fixed-response items and 2 open-ended items exploring vertical integration and near-peer teaching. Assessment data from vertically integrated and non-vertically integrated courses were compared for the period 2011–2013.
Results
We received valid responses from 20 % of medical students (n = 328). Eighty percent of respondents were positive about their experience of vertical integration. Year 1 students reported that second year students provided guidance and reassurance (87.8 %), whilst year 2 students reported that the senior role helped them to improve their own understanding, communication and confidence (84 %). Vertical integration had little effect on examination performance and failure rates.
Conclusions
This evaluation demonstrates that vertical integration of students who are one year apart and completing the same course leads to positive outcomes for the student experience of learning. Students benefit through deeper learning and the development of leadership qualities within teams. These results are relevant not only for medical education, but also for other professional higher education programs.
doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0450-y
PMCID: PMC4592546  PMID: 26432695
Peer learning; Near-peer teaching; Teamwork; Leadership; Deep learning
7.  AB028. New drugs for sexual dysfunction complementary medicine for sexual dysfunction in Australia 
Translational Andrology and Urology  2015;4(Suppl 1):AB028.
Objective
In Australia both oriental and western products are available as complementary medicines. Our aim was to review the current available over-the-counter (OTC) medications for sexual dysfunction and report on this market.
Methods
Following an earlier published review in 2010, 37 products were reviewed that were listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). These products were manufactured in Australia and laid claim to provide treatment for sexual dysfunction. A review of these products and newer products was undertaken to establish the extent of complementary medicines in Australia for sexual dysfunction and the reported clinical experience.
Results
As at July 2015 there were 31 Australian manufactured OTC products registered with the TGA on the ARTG for sexual dysfunction. Twenty-four were for male sexual dysfunction, 3 for female sexual dysfunction and 4 for unisex sexual dysfunction. The main herbs used in sexual health products in Australia are tribulus terrestris, panax ginseng and horny goat weed. However, complementary medicine practitioners also promote the use of gingko Bilbo, avena sativa and damiana. Many of the ingredients found in men’s products are also in the women’s products. Although review articles for complementary medicine, sexual dysfunction and libido have been written in Australia, as far as can be investigated there are no published randomized clinical trials in the area of complementary medicine and sexual function.
Conclusions
Complementary medicine has reached a high degree of development in Australia. But, due to the lack of properly conducted placebo-controlled clinical trials there is not a body of supporting evidence of efficacy, certification of purity, guarantee of safety, or well-documented side effects. Even though most OTC medications for sexual health have mild side effects and some also promote general health, the lack of such evidence becomes a matter of concern.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2223-4683.2015.s028
PMCID: PMC4708769
Sexual dysfunction; complementary medicine; Australia
8.  Medical Student Attitudes toward Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine 
While the use of complementary, alternative and integrative medicine (CAIM) is substantial, it continues to exist at the periphery of allopathic medicine. Understanding the attitudes of medical students toward CAIM will be useful in understanding future integration of CAIM and allopathic medicine. This study was conducted to develop and evaluate an instrument and assess medical students' attitudes toward CAIM. The Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine Attitudes Questionnaire (CAIMAQ) was developed by a panel of experts in CAIM, allopathic medicine, medical education and survey development. A total of 1770 CAIMAQ surveys (51% of US medical schools participated) were obtained in a national sample of medical students in 2007. Factor analysis of the CAIMAQ revealed five distinct attitudinal domains: desirability of CAIM therapies, progressive patient/physician health care roles, mind-body-spirit connection, principles of allostasis and a holistic understanding of disease. The students held the most positive attitude for the “mind-body-spirit connection” and the least positive for the “desirability of CAIM therapies”. This study provided initial support for the reliability of the CAIMAQ. The survey results indicated that in general students responded more positively to the principles of CAIM than to CAIM treatment. A higher quality of CAIM-related medical education and expanded research into CAIM therapies would facilitate appropriate integration of CAIM into medical curricula. The most significant limitation of this study is a low response rate, and further work is required to assess more representative populations in order to determine whether the relationships found in this study are generalizable.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nep195
PMCID: PMC3147138  PMID: 21826186
9.  The RCCM 2009 Survey: Mapping Doctoral and Postdoctoral CAM Research in the United Kingdom 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is widely available in the UK and used frequently by the public, but there is little high quality research to sustain its continued use and potential integration into the NHS. There is, therefore, a need to develop rigorous research in this area. One essential way forward is to train and develop more CAM researchers so that we can enhance academic capacity and provide the evidence upon which to base strategic healthcare decisions. This UK survey identified 80 research active postgraduates registered for MPhils/PhDs in 21 universities and were either current students or had completed their postgraduate degree during the recent UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2001–2008. The single largest postgraduate degree funder was the university where the students registered (26/80). Thirty-two projects involved randomized controlled trials and 33 used qualitative research methods. The UK RAE also indicates a significant growth of postdoctoral and tenured research activity over this period (in 2001 there were three full time equivalents; in 2008 there were 15.5) with a considerable improvement in research quality. This mapping exercise suggests that considerable effort is currently being invested in developing UK CAM research capacity and thus inform decision making in this area. However, in comparative international terms UK funding is very limited. As in the USA and Australia, a centralized and strategic approach by the National Institute of Health Research to this currently uncoordinated and underfunded activity may benefit CAM research in the UK.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nep184
PMCID: PMC3136526  PMID: 19920088
10.  Self-medication with over-the-counter drugs and complementary medications in South Australia's elderly population 
Background
A number of surveys have examined use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in Australia. However, there are limited Australian data on use of CAM and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in the elderly population. The main aims of this study were to examine self-medication practices with CAM and OTC medicines among older Australians and variables associated with their use.
Methods
The Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ALSA) is an ongoing multidisciplinary prospective study of the older population which commenced in 1992 in South Australia. Data collected in 4 waves of ALSA between 1992 and 2004 were used in this study with a baseline sample of 2087 adults aged 65 years and over, living in the community or residential aged care. OTC medicines were classified according to the World Health Organization Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification. CAM were classified according a modified version of the classification adopted by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia.
Results
The prevalence of CAM or OTC use ranged from 17.7% in 2000-2001 to 35.5% in 2003-2004. The top classes of CAM and OTC medicines used remained relatively constant over the study period. The most frequent classes of CAM used were vitamins and minerals, herbal medicines and nutritional supplements while the most commonly used OTC were analgesics, laxatives and low dose aspirin. Females and those of younger age were more likely to be CAM users but no variable was associated with OTC use.
Conclusion
Participants seemed to self-medicate in accordance with approved indications, suggesting they were informed consumers, actively looking after their own health. However, use of analgesics and aspirin are associated with an increased risk of adverse drug events in the elderly. Future work should examine how self-medication contributes to polypharmacy and increases the risk of adverse drug reactions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-42
PMCID: PMC2778637  PMID: 19906314
11.  Widening Consumer Access to Medicines through Switching Medicines to Non-Prescription: A Six Country Comparison 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107726.
Background
Switching or reclassifying medicines with established safety profiles from prescription to non-prescription aims to increase timely consumer access to medicines, reduce under-treatment and enhance self-management. However, risks include suboptimal therapy and adverse effects. With a long-standing government policy supporting switching or reclassifying medicines from prescription to non-prescription, the United Kingdom is believed to lead the world in switch, but evidence for this is inconclusive. Interest in switching medicines for certain long-term conditions has arisen in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe, but such switches have been contentious. The objective of this study was then to provide a comprehensive comparison of progress in switch for medicines across six developed countries: the United States; the United Kingdom; Australia; Japan; the Netherlands; and New Zealand.
Methods
A list of prescription-to-non-prescription medicine switches was systematically compiled. Three measures were used to compare switch activity across the countries: “progressive” switches from 2003 to 2013 (indicating incremental consumer benefit over current non-prescription medicines); “first-in-world” switches from 2003 to 2013; and switch date comparisons for selected medicines.
Results
New Zealand was the most active in progressive switches from 2003 to 2013, with the United Kingdom and Japan not far behind. The United States, Australia and the Netherlands showed the least activity in this period. Few medicines for long-term conditions were switched, even in the United Kingdom and New Zealand where first-in-world switches were most likely. Switch of certain medicines took considerably longer in some countries than others. For example, a consumer in the United Kingdom could self-medicate with a non-sedating antihistamine 19 years earlier than a consumer in the United States.
Conclusion
Proactivity in medicines switching, most notably in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, questions missed opportunities to enhance consumers' self-management in countries such as the United States.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107726
PMCID: PMC4175460  PMID: 25251434
12.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Comparison of Current Knowledge, Attitudes and Interest among German Medical Students and Doctors 
Although it has been agreed that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) should be included in the German medical curriculum, there is no consensus on which methods and how it should be taught. This study aimed to assess needs for CAM education by evaluating current knowledge, attitudes and interests of medical students, general physicians and gynecologists. Two instruments based on established and validated questionnaires were developed. One was given to seventh semester medical students and the other to office-based doctors. Data were analyzed by bivariate correlation and cross-tabulation. Altogether 550 questionnaires were distributed—280 to doctors and 270 to medical students. Completed questionnaires were returned by 80.4% of students and 78.2% of doctors. Although 73.8% (160/219) of doctors and 40% (87/217) of students had already informed themselves about CAM, neither group felt that they knew much about CAM. Doctors believed that CAM was most useful in general medicine, supportive oncology, pediatrics, dermatology and gynecology, while students believed that dermatology, general medicine, psychiatry and rheumatology offered opportunities; both recommended that CAM should be taught in these areas. Both groups believed that CAM should be included in medical education; however, they believed that CAM needed more investigation and should be taught “critically". German doctors and students would like to be better informed about CAM. An approach which teaches fundamental competences to students, chooses specific content based on evidence, demographics and medical conditions and provides students with the skills they need for future learning should be adopted.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nen079
PMCID: PMC3153080  PMID: 19098296
13.  Consultations with complementary and alternative medicine practitioners by older Australians: results from a national survey 
Background
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) and CAM practitioners is common, most frequently for the management of musculoskeletal conditions. Knowledge is limited about the use of CAM practitioners by older people, and specifically those with other long term or chronic conditions.
Methods
In 2011 we conducted an Australia wide survey targeting older adults aged over 50 years (n = 2540). Participants were asked to identify their chronic conditions, and from which health professionals they had ‘received advice or treatment from in the last 3 months’, including ‘complementary health practitioners, e.g. naturopath’. Descriptive analyses were undertaken using SPSS and STATA software.
Results
Overall, 8.8% of respondents reported seeing a CAM practitioner in the past three months, 12.1% of women and 3.9% of men; the vast majority also consulting medical practitioners in the same period. Respondents were more likely to report consulting a CAM practitioner if they had musculoskeletal conditions (osteoporosis, arthritis), pain, or depression/anxiety. Respondents with diabetes, hypertension and asthma were least likely to report consulting a CAM practitioner. Those over 80 reported lower use of CAM practitioners than younger respondents. CAM practitioner use in a general older population was not associated with the number of chronic conditions reported, or with the socio-economic level of residence of the respondent.
Conclusion
Substantial numbers of older Australians with chronic conditions seek advice from CAM practitioners, particularly those with pain related conditions, but less often with conditions where there are clear treatment guidelines using conventional medicine, such as with diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Given the policy emphasis on better coordination of care for people with chronic conditions, these findings point to the importance of communication and integration of health services and suggest that the concept of the ‘treating team’ needs a broad interpretation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-73
PMCID: PMC3616991  PMID: 23548137
Complementary; Health practitioner; Self-manage; Chronic illness; Older
14.  Knowledge and Attitudes towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Senior Medical Students in King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia 
Objectives. This study assessed the knowledge and attitudes regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in medical students in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it evaluated their views on the incorporation of CAM in their medical syllabus. Methods. The study was conducted by selecting a cross-sectional sample of senior medical students in the Faculty of Medicine. A validated and reliable self-administered questionnaire was used to explore the knowledge, attitude, and benefits of CAM. It was distributed to a sample of 273 students. Results. The study included 242 students, making the response rate 88.6%. Only two-thirds of students (62.4%) were aware of acupuncture principles and only 17.4% recognized that chiropractic is associated with pain management. The knowledge of common herbs such as St. John's Wort, Echinacea, and Ginkgo biloba was limited among the students. Older students had a positive CAM attitude compared to younger students (p = 0.027). Conclusion. Students attitudes toward CAM learning were encouraging regardless of their limited knowledge on the subject. A high percentage of students agreed that CAM in combination with conventional therapy is beneficial in treating unusual cases, but the choice of CAM should be based on evidence. Furthermore, medical students are still reluctant to have CAM practitioners in their referral network.
doi:10.1155/2016/9370721
PMCID: PMC4808670  PMID: 27066102
15.  Costs of medicines and health care: a concern for Australian women across the ages 
Background
Evidence from Australia and other countries suggests that some individuals struggle to meet the costs of their health care, including medicines, despite the presence of Government subsidies for low-income earners. The aim of our study was to elucidate women’s experiences with the day to day expenses that relate to medicines and their health care.
Methods
The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) conducts regular surveys of women in three age cohorts (born 1973–78, 1946–51, and 1921–26). Our data were obtained from free text comments included in surveys 1 to 5 for each cohort. All comments were scanned for mentions of attitudes, beliefs and behaviours around the costs of medicines and health care. Relevant comments were coded by category and themes identified.
Results
Over 150,000 responses were received to the surveys, and 42,305 (27%) of these responses included free-text comments; 379 were relevant to medicines and health care costs (from 319 individuals). Three broad themes were identified: costs of medicines (33% of relevant comments), doctor visits (49%), and complementary medicines (13%). Age-specific issues with medicine costs included contraceptive medicines (1973–78 cohort), hormone replacement therapy (1946–51 cohort) and osteoporosis medications (1921–26 cohort). Concerns about doctor visits mostly related to reduced (or no) access to bulk-billed medical services, where there are no out-of-pocket costs to the patient, and costs of specialist services. Some women in the 1973–78 and 1946–51 cohorts reported ‘too much income’ to qualify for government health benefits, but not enough to pay for visits to the doctor. In some cases, care and medicines were avoided because of the costs. Personal feelings of embarrassment over financial positions and judgments about bulk-billing practices (‘good ones don’t bulk-bill’) were barriers to service use, as were travel expenses for rural women.
Conclusions
For some individuals, difficulty in accessing bulk-billing services and increasing out-of-pocket costs in Australia limit affordability of health services, including medications. At greatest risk may be those falling below thresholds for subsidised care such as self-funded retirees and those on low-middle incomes, in addition to those on very low incomes, who may find even small co-payments difficult to manage.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-484
PMCID: PMC4225494  PMID: 24252248
Medicines; Affordability; Women’s health; Costs; Qualitative
16.  Changes in Pharmacy Students' Attitudes and Perceptions Toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine After Completion of a Required Course 
Objectives
To determine whether a required course addressing complementary and alternative medicine would change students' attitudes and perceptions toward the subject and the likelihood that they would recommend various complementary and alternative medicine therapies
Methods
A survey instrument was administered to all third-year PharmD students on the first and last days of the course. The degree of change in response for each question was assessed and analyzed in order to determine the impact of the course.
Results
Fifty-five students (93%) completed both the preintervention and postintervention survey instrument. Over half of the students had changes in their attitudes regarding their future competence, their personal interest and experience with complementary and alternative medicine, and their personal beliefs towards the subject after completion of the course. A large proportion of students also had changes in the likelihood that they would recommend a natural product for various conditions and that they would recommend complementary and alternative medicine therapies in general.
Conclusions
A required course addressing complementary and alternative medicine and natural products significantly changed students' attitudes and perceptions toward the subject, as well as their likelihood to recommend various complementary and alternative medicine therapies and natural products in a professional setting.
PMCID: PMC1637003  PMID: 17149434
complementary medicine; alternative medicine
17.  Investigation into Factors Influencing Roles, Relationships, and Referrals in Integrative Medicine 
Abstract
Introduction: Integrative medicine (IM) is a recent phenomenon within primary care practice. It is defined variously as a process of integration or convergence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with mainstream medicine or as the incorporation of alternative therapies into mainstream medical practice. Little is known about the attitude of complementary medicine practitioners regarding their place within this model or the factors that influence referral between them and medical practitioners.
Objectives: The aim of this research was to explore practitioners' perspectives of the theory and practice of the IM model, relevant to factors influencing referral among them.
Design: This research applied a qualitative method with semi-structured interviews to determine practitioner perspectives of factors influencing referral in the IM setting. One family practice physician (called a general practitioner [GP] in Australia), one osteopath, and one naturopath were interviewed at each of two IM clinics in regional Australia. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes and concepts.
Results: Thematic analysis of the transcribed data allowed for an in-depth understanding of themes and concepts surrounding practitioner perceptions of IM. Predominant themes centered on the notion of interpractitioner relationships and collaborations. Insight into these relationships within IM revealed concepts of interpractitioner trust and respect. In addition, sharing a philosophy of care and a common understanding pertaining to scope of practice and area of expertise appeared to support the IM framework. These concepts and themes were determined as important factors influencing referrals between GPs, osteopathic physicians, and naturopathic practitioners in the IM clinics studied.
Conclusion: This research has highlighted the significance of interprofessional relationships and multidisciplinary referral networks as pivotal in the efficacy of the IM clinics represented in this sample. Further research is needed to define the practitioner roles and the factors influencing referrals within IM.
doi:10.1089/acm.2013.0167
PMCID: PMC4011433  PMID: 24437357
18.  Medical Students' Exposure to and Attitudes about the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(5):e1001037.
A systematic review of published studies reveals that undergraduate medical students may experience substantial exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, and that this contact may be associated with positive attitudes about marketing.
Background
The relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has become a source of controversy. Physicians' attitudes towards the industry can form early in their careers, but little is known about this key stage of development.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review reported according to PRISMA guidelines to determine the frequency and nature of medical students' exposure to the drug industry, as well as students' attitudes concerning pharmaceutical policy issues. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and ERIC from the earliest available dates through May 2010, as well as bibliographies of selected studies. We sought original studies that reported quantitative or qualitative data about medical students' exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, their attitudes about marketing practices, relationships with industry, and related pharmaceutical policy issues. Studies were separated, where possible, into those that addressed preclinical versus clinical training, and were quality rated using a standard methodology. Thirty-two studies met inclusion criteria. We found that 40%–100% of medical students reported interacting with the pharmaceutical industry. A substantial proportion of students (13%–69%) were reported as believing that gifts from industry influence prescribing. Eight studies reported a correlation between frequency of contact and favorable attitudes toward industry interactions. Students were more approving of gifts to physicians or medical students than to government officials. Certain attitudes appeared to change during medical school, though a time trend was not performed; for example, clinical students (53%–71%) were more likely than preclinical students (29%–62%) to report that promotional information helps educate about new drugs.
Conclusions
Undergraduate medical education provides substantial contact with pharmaceutical marketing, and the extent of such contact is associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism about negative implications of these interactions. These results support future research into the association between exposure and attitudes, as well as any modifiable factors that contribute to attitudinal changes during medical education.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The complex relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has long been a subject of discussion among physicians and policymakers. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that physicians' interactions with pharmaceutical sales representatives may influence clinical decision making in a way that is not always in the best interests of individual patients, for example, encouraging the use of expensive treatments that have no therapeutic advantage over less costly alternatives. The pharmaceutical industry often uses physician education as a marketing tool, as in the case of Continuing Medical Education courses that are designed to drive prescribing practices.
One reason that physicians may be particularly susceptible to pharmaceutical industry marketing messages is that doctors' attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry may form early in their careers. The socialization effect of professional schooling is strong, and plays a lasting role in shaping views and behaviors.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recently, particularly in the US, some medical schools have limited students' and faculties' contact with industry, but some have argued that these restrictions are detrimental to students' education. Given the controversy over the pharmaceutical industry's role in undergraduate medical training, consolidating current knowledge in this area may be useful for setting priorities for changes to educational practices. In this study, the researchers systematically examined studies of pharmaceutical industry interactions with medical students and whether such interactions influenced students' views on related topics.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers did a comprehensive literature search using appropriate search terms for all relevant quantitative and qualitative studies published before June 2010. Using strict inclusion criteria, the researchers then selected 48 articles (from 1,603 abstracts) for full review and identified 32 eligible for analysis—giving a total of approximately 9,850 medical students studying at 76 medical schools or hospitals.
Most students had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry but contact increased in the clinical years, with up to 90% of all clinical students receiving some form of educational material. The highest level of exposure occurred in the US. In most studies, the majority of students in their clinical training years found it ethically permissible for medical students to accept gifts from drug manufacturers, while a smaller percentage of preclinical students reported such attitudes. Students justified their entitlement to gifts by citing financial hardship or by asserting that most other students accepted gifts. In addition, although most students believed that education from industry sources is biased, students variably reported that information obtained from industry sources was useful and a valuable part of their education.
Almost two-thirds of students reported that they were immune to bias induced by promotion, gifts, or interactions with sales representatives but also reported that fellow medical students or doctors are influenced by such encounters. Eight studies reported a relationship between exposure to the pharmaceutical industry and positive attitudes about industry interactions and marketing strategies (although not all included supportive statistical data). Finally, student opinions were split on whether physician–industry interactions should be regulated by medical schools or the government.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This analysis shows that students are frequently exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, even in the preclinical years, and that the extent of students' contact with industry is generally associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism towards any negative implications of interactions with industry. Therefore, strategies to educate students about interactions with the pharmaceutical industry should directly address widely held misconceptions about the effects of marketing and other biases that can emerge from industry interactions. But education alone may be insufficient. Institutional policies, such as rules regulating industry interactions, can play an important role in shaping students' attitudes, and interventions that decrease students' contact with industry and eliminate gifts may have a positive effect on building the skills that evidence-based medical practice requires. These changes can help cultivate strong professional values and instill in students a respect for scientific principles and critical evidence review that will later inform clinical decision-making and prescribing practices.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037.
Further information about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on doctors and medical students can be found at the American Medical Students Association PharmFree campaign and PharmFree Scorecard, Medsin-UKs PharmAware campaign, the nonprofit organization Healthy Skepticism, and the Web site of No Free Lunch.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037
PMCID: PMC3101205  PMID: 21629685
19.  Biomedical research competencies for osteopathic medical students 
Background
Without systematic exposure to biomedical research concepts or applications, osteopathic medical students may be generally under-prepared to efficiently consume and effectively apply research and evidence-based medicine information in patient care. The academic literature suggests that although medical residents are increasingly expected to conduct research in their post graduate training specialties, they generally have limited understanding of research concepts.
With grant support from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and a grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) is incorporating research education in the osteopathic medical school curriculum. The first phase of this research education project involved a baseline assessment of students' understanding of targeted research concepts. This paper reports the results of that assessment and discusses implications for research education during medical school.
Methods
Using a novel set of research competencies supported by the literature as needed for understanding research information, we created a questionnaire to measure students' confidence and understanding of selected research concepts. Three matriculating medical school classes completed the on-line questionnaire. Data were analyzed for differences between groups using analysis of variance and t-tests. Correlation coefficients were computed for the confidence and applied understanding measures. We performed a principle component factor analysis of the confidence items, and used multiple regression analyses to explore how confidence might be related to the applied understanding.
Results
Of 496 total incoming, first, and second year medical students, 354 (71.4%) completed the questionnaire. Incoming students expressed significantly more confidence than first or second year students (F = 7.198, df = 2, 351, P = 0.001) in their ability to understand the research concepts. Factor analyses of the confidence items yielded conceptually coherent groupings. Regression analysis confirmed a relationship between confidence and applied understanding referred to as knowledge. Confidence scores were important in explaining variability in knowledge scores of the respondents.
Conclusion
Medical students with limited understanding of research concepts may struggle to understand the medical literature. Assessing medical students' confidence to understand and objectively measured ability to interpret basic research concepts can be used to incorporate competency based research material into the existing curriculum.
doi:10.1186/1750-4732-3-10
PMCID: PMC2770523  PMID: 19825171
20.  Veterinary homeopathy: an overview. 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  1999;40(8):592-594.
Complementary and alternative therapies, including homeopathy, have a definite place in veterinary medicine today. The public is demanding access to a full range of conventional and complementary therapies, and the best scenario is to have all therapies available, for there is a place and a need for all of them in the right situation. In my own practice, I use both alternative and conventional therapies, as well as referring patients to specialists, for services such as ultrasound and surgery. I believe that the wave of the future is to have veterinarians skilled in both complementary and conventional therapies, and to have veterinary practitioners who are well enough educated to be able to treat the majority of their patients, but who are willing to refer to the appropriate "specialist," if the case and the client demand it. Veterinarians are definitely becoming more aware of the need for and showing more interest in alternative medicine. There are currently several associations in North America for veterinarians with an interest in complementary therapies. In 1998, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) boasted 1400 members, and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) over 800 (1). There are professional courses in veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic, and homeopathy, all 150-200 hours in length, which provide a good basic understanding of these modalities. In most of these modalities, there is also advanced training. Conventional teaching institutions are recognizing the need to have veterinarians well versed in all aspects of veterinary medicine. Colorado State University has offered elective courses for students and on-site courses for practitioners on alternative therapies for 3 years (1). These are designed to teach veterinarians what the alternative modalities are, whether they are effective, and what it takes to become qualified to practise them. The overriding goal in most veterinarians' minds is to heal animals and provide the best in care, so that animals can live healthy productive lives. Education to keep up with new therapies and medications is paramount to this goal. It follows easily that knowledge of noninvasive treatments with few or no side effects that have the potential to heal animals should be welcomed, and homeopathy, as well as other complementary therapies, fits this description.
PMCID: PMC1539764  PMID: 12001344
21.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine Familiarization: What's happening in Medical Schools in Wales? 
Despite recommendations that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) familiarization should be offered to UK medical students, in Wales little such teaching was offered. We decided to assess medical students’ knowledge of CAMs, perceived training needs in CAMs, their view of its role in the National Health Service (NHS) and current teaching given. Analysis of data from a questionnaire given to medical students and direct questioning of senior academic medical school staff in Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools was carried out. The participants comprised 78 first year medical students in the undergraduate entry program in Cardiff and 58 first year medical students from the graduate entry program in Swansea. Senior academic medical school staff at Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools were asked about current CAM teaching. Results revealed that 32% of undergraduate entry students (UGES) had previous knowledge of CAMs compared with 51% of graduate entry students (GES). Of the UGES, 62% believed they should be taught about CAM's compared with 94% of GES. Of UGES 31% felt that CAMs have a role in the NHS compared with 50% of GES. None of the students had received teaching about CAMs and little formal CAM teaching is currently included in the curricula at each site. The majority of medical students in Wales would like to receive CAM teaching and significant numbers support a role for CAMs in the NHS. Little formal teaching is currently provided.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nem185
PMCID: PMC2862934  PMID: 18955309
CAM teaching; medical students; integrated healthcare
22.  Use and Acceptance of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among the General Population and Medical Personnel: A Systematic Review 
The Ochsner Journal  2012;12(1):45-56.
Background
The interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increased during the past decade and the attitude of the general public is mainly positive, but the debate about the clinical effectiveness of these therapies remains controversial among many medical professionals.
Methods
We conducted a systematic search of the existing literature utilizing different databases, including PubMed/Medline, PSYNDEX, and PsycLit, to research the use and acceptance of CAM among the general population and medical personnel. A special focus on CAM-referring literature was set by limiting the PubMed search to “Complementary Medicine” and adding two other search engines: CAMbase (www.cambase.de) and CAMRESEARCH (www.camresearch.net). These engines were used to reveal publications that at the time of the review were not indexed in PubMed.
Results
A total of 16 papers met the scope criteria. Prevalence rates of CAM in each of the included studies were between 5% and 74.8%. We found a higher utilization of homeopathy and acupuncture in German-speaking countries. Excluding any form of spiritual prayer, the data demonstrate that chiropractic manipulation, herbal medicine, massage, and homeopathy were the therapies most commonly used by the general population. We identified sex, age, and education as predictors of CAM utilization: More users were women, middle aged, and more educated. The ailments most often associated with CAM utilization included back pain or pathology, depression, insomnia, severe headache or migraine, and stomach or intestinal illnesses. Medical students were the most critical toward CAM. Compared to students of other professions (ie, nursing students: 44.7%, pharmacy students: 18.2%), medical students reported the least consultation with a CAM practitioner (10%).
Conclusions
The present data demonstrate an increase of CAM usage from 1990 through 2006 in all countries investigated. We found geographical differences, as well as differences between the general population and medical personnel.
PMCID: PMC3307506  PMID: 22438782
Alternative medicine; complementary medicine
23.  Referral to yoga therapists in rural primary health care: A survey of general practitioners in rural and regional New South Wales, Australia 
Background:
Yoga is an increasingly accepted complementary treatment modality for referral in Australian general practice, yet this practitioner group has largely escaped research attention in Australia. Complementary medicine use is highest in rural and regional areas, where a number of primary health care challenges are also more pronounced. Despite the significant role of complementary therapists in rural and regional Australia, and the increasing acceptance of yoga therapy in general practice, there has been little exploration of the interface between yoga therapists and conventional primary health care practitioners in this area.
Materials and Methods:
A 27-item questionnaire was sent to all 1486 general practitioners (GPs) currently practising in rural and regional Divisions of General Practice in New South Wales, Australia.
Results:
Completed questionnaires were returned by 585 GPs, with 49 returned as ‘no longer at this address’ (response rate 40.7%). One-in-eight GPs (12.1%) advised their patients of specific yoga therapies and protocols, and 7.2% advised specific meditation techniques. Three-quarters of GPs (76.6%) referred to a yoga therapist at least a few times per year, with 12.5% of GPs referring at least once per week. GPs being in a remote location (OR = 10.95; CI: 1.55, 77.31), being female (OR = 1.85; 95% CI: 1.16, 2.94), GPs graduating from an Australian medical school (OR = 4.52; 95% CI: 2.61, 7.80), perceiving lack of other treatment options (OR = 3.29; 95% CI: 1.61, 6.74), GPs reporting good or very good knowledge of yoga therapies (OR = 18.2; 95% CI: 9.19, 36.19), and GPs using CAM for their own personal health (OR = 4.53; 95% CI: 2.60, 7.87) were all independently predictive of increased referral to yoga therapists amongst the rural GPs in this study.
Conclusions:
There is a significant interface between yoga therapists in Australian rural and regional general practice. There is generally high support for yoga therapies among Australian GPs, with low levels of opposition to the incorporation of these therapies in patient care. There is a need for increased research into yoga therapies practice, policy and regulation in these areas.
doi:10.4103/0973-6131.123471
PMCID: PMC4097925  PMID: 25035602
General practice; health services; meditation; primary care; rural healthcare; yoga
24.  Development and validation of the CAM Health Belief Questionnaire (CHBQ) and CAM use and attitudes amongst medical students 
Background
The need for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and holistic approaches in allopathic medical school curricula has been well articulated. Despite increased CAM instruction, feasible and validated instruments for measuring learner outcomes in this content area do not widely exist. In addition, baseline attitudes or beliefs of medical students towards CAM, and the factors that may have formed them, including use of CAM itself, remain unreported.
Methods
A 10-item measure (CHBQ – CAM Health Belief Questionnaire) was constructed and administered to three successive classes of medical students simultaneously with the previously validated 29-item Integrative Medicine Attitude Questionnaire (IMAQ). Both measures were imbedded in a baseline needs assessment questionnaire. Demographic and other data were collected on students' use of CAM modalities and their awareness and use of primary CAM information resources. Analysis of CHBQ items was performed and its reliability and criterion-related validity were established.
Results
Response rate was 96.5% (272 of 282 students studied). The shorter CHBQ compared favorably with the longer IMAQ in internal consistency reliability. Cronbach's coefficient alpha was 0.75 and 0.83 for the CHBQ and IMAQ respectively. Students showed positive attitudes/beliefs towards CAM and high levels of self-reported CAM use. The majority (73.5%) of students reported using at least one CAM modality, and 54% reported using at least two modalities. Eighty-one percent use the internet as a primary source of information for CAM.
Conclusions
The CHBQ is a practical, valid and reliable instrument for measuring medical student attitudes/beliefs and has potential utility for measuring the impact of CAM instruction. Medical students showed a high self-reported rate of CAM use and positive attitudes towards CAM. Short, didactic exposure to CAM instruction in the first year of medical school did not additionally impact these already positive attitudes. Unlike the IMAQ, which was intended for use with physicians, the CHBQ is generic in design and content and applicable to a variety of learner types. Evaluation measures must be appropriate for specific CAM instructional outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-4-2
PMCID: PMC373452  PMID: 14718061
25.  The medical schools outcomes database project: Australian medical student characteristics 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:180.
Background
Global medical workforce requirements highlight the need for effective workforce planning, with the overall aims being to alleviate doctor shortages and prevent maldistribution. The Medical Schools Outcomes Database and Longitudinal Tracking (MSOD) Project provides a foundation for evaluating outcomes of medical education programs against specified workforce objectives (including rural and areas of workforce needs), assisting in medical workforce planning, and provision of a national research resource. This paper describes the methodology and baseline results for the MSOD project.
Methods
The MSOD Project is a prospective longitudinal multiple-cohort study. The project invites all commencing and completing Australian medical students to complete short questionnaires. Participants are then asked to participate in four follow-up surveys at 1, 3, 5 and 8 years after graduation.
Results
Since 2005, 30,635 responses for medical students (22,126 commencing students and 8,509 completing students) in Australia have been collected. To date, overall eligible cohort response rates are 91% for commencing students, and 83% for completing students. Eighty three percent of completing medical student respondents had also completed a commencing questionnaire.
Approximately 80% of medical students at Australian medical schools are Australian citizens. Australian medical schools have only small proportions of Indigenous students. One third of medical students speak a language other than English at home.The top three vocational choices for commencing medical students were surgery, paediatrics and child health and general practice. The top three vocational choices for completing students were surgery, adult medicine/ physician, and general practice. Overall, 75.7% of medical students changed their first career preference from commencement to exit from medical school.
Most commencing and completing medical students wish to have their future medical practice in capital cities or in major urban centers. Only 8.1% of commencing students and 4.6% of completing students stated an intention to have their future medical practice in smaller towns and small communities.
Conclusions
The MSOD longitudinal project is now an established national resource that is beginning to generate significant research outputs, along with providing key information for workforce planning and policy makers. The project has now expanded to enrol New Zealand medical students.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-180
PMCID: PMC4156614  PMID: 25169797
Medical education; Medical workforce; Health; Medical student; Medical doctors; Longitudinal; Medicine; Methodology; Interns; Internship

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