CAM Education

Standardized patient histories improve CAM knowledge among medical students

Researchers at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington conducted CAM workshops to study the value of standardized patients on knowledge and clinical skills of third-year medical students.

First, the details.

  • 186 3rd year medical students participated in the program.
  • A 4-hour CAM workshop was developed as part of a 4-week primary care internal medicine clerkship.
  • The CAM workshop and 3 other workshops were randomly assigned to half of the students.
  • The CAM workshop used 4 standard patient cases representing different clinical challenges.
  • At the end of the program, all students took a 100-item written exam that included 7 CAM-specific questions and a written exercise.

And, the results.

  • Workshop participants performed significantly better on the written exercise (77% vs 63%) and on the 7 CAM written exam items (85% vs 76%).

The bottom line?

In my experience case histories aid learning, and the Socratic method is superior to didactic learning.

But what does this study teach us except that exposure of medical students to CAM results in better knowledge compared to students who get no exposure?

1/4/10 23:34 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.