CAM EducationCAM Politics

Sad state of CAM education in Wales’ medical schools

Despite recommendations that CAM be offered to medical students in Wales, little is offered.

Here’s what we know.

First, the details.

  • A questionnaire was 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 was asked about current CAM teaching.

And, the results.

  • 32% of undergraduate students had previous knowledge of CAM vs 51% of graduate students.
  • Among the undergraduates, 62% believed they should be taught about CAM vs 94% of the graduate students.
  • 31% of undergraduates felt that CAM has a role in the NHS vs 50% of graduate students.
  • None of the students received teaching about CAM.
  • Little formal CAM teaching is currently included in the curricula at each school.
  • Most medical students in Wales would like to receive CAM teaching and significant numbers support a role for CAM in the NHS.

The bottom line?

In light of the lack of CAM education for medical students, here’s the extent of deficiency in their preparedness to practice medicine in Wales.

  • Among patients with cancer:
    • Nearly half have used CAM.
  • Use of CAM among children and adolescents in a tertiary children’s hospital:
    • Oncology patients: 42%
    • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: 70%
    • Inflammatory bowel disease: 72%
  • Community pediatrics
    • Children newly diagnosed with autism: 32%
    • Behavioral problems: 54%
  • Families of children with cerebral palsy 56%
  • Use in adults: 9% to 65%

5/9/10 21:30 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.