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Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 161, Issue 1–2, pp 32–43 | Cite as

Integration of complementary and alternative medicine into medical schools in Austria, Germany and Switzerland – Results of a cross-sectional study

  • Benno Brinkhaus
  • Claudia M. Witt
  • Susanne Jena
  • Angelina Bockelbrink
  • Miriam Ortiz
  • Stefan N. Willich
Original article

Summary

BACKGROUND: The results of a survey of decision makers (directors of clinical departments, along with research and education institutes) at German medical schools in 1997 demonstrated that although most respondents were in favour of integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into medical school curricula, only a minority had implemented these into their medical schools. The aims of this study were to evaluate the current opinions on CAM from decision makers at medical schools in three German-speaking countries and the present extent to which it has been integrated. METHODS: In 2004 we sent a standardised questionnaire to 1,017 department directors at medical schools in Austria (A, n = 75), Germany (G, n = 873) and Switzerland (CH, n = 69). RESULTS: 487 questionnaires (overall response rate: 48%, country-specific response rate: A 39%; G 49%; S 42%) were returned. 40% of respondents had a positive opinion on CAM, whereas 28% had a neutral and 29% a negative opinion and 3% were unsure with a significant difference between Germany (44% positive opinion) in favour for CAM vs. Switzerland (22%; p = 0,021). The CAM therapies rated most positively were acupuncture (53%), osteopathy (52%) and naturopathy (38%) with no statistical differences between the countries. Naturopathy (39%) and herbal medicine (34%) were viewed more positively in Germany compared to Austria (4%, p = 0.001 and 8%, p = 0.01), but not to Switzerland (27%, p = 0.289 and 24%, p = 0.353). The majority of respondents favoured the integration of CAM into the medical system (research 85%, teaching 84% and treatment 60%). However, only 162 respondents (34%) indicated that CAM therapies had already been integrated into the curriculum at their medical schools (treatment 26%, research 19% and education 18%) with no significant differences between the countries. Respondents of Switzerland indicated lower activity of CAM integration (treatment 10% and research 10%) compared to Austria (28%, p = 0.016 and 28%, p = 0.016) and Germany (27%, p = 0.01 and 20%, p = 0.174). CONCLUSIONS: The majority of respondents favoured the integration of CAM into the medical system. However, this integration remains limited and does not reflect the high usage of CAM in the population.

Keywords

Medical school Complementary and alternative medicine Naturopathy Cross sectional study Medical curriculum 

Integration von Komplementärmedizin in Medizinische Hochschulen in Österreich, Deutschland und der Schweiz – Ergebnisse einer Querschnittsstudie

Zusammenfassung

GRUNDLAGEN: Ziel der Studie war es die Meinung von Entscheidungsträgern zum Thema "Komplementärmedizin" in medizinischen Hochschulen in den drei deutschsprachigen Ländern zu untersuchen und zu erfragen, ob und wie Komplementärmedizin in die medizinischen Hochschulen integriert wurde. METHODIK: Im Rahmen dieser Querschnittsstudie schickten wir einen Fragebogen an Instituts- und Klinikdirektoren in Österreich (n = 75), Deutschland (n = 873) und der Schweiz (n = 69). ERGEBNISSE: 487 Fragebogen wurden zurückgeschickt. 40 % der Antwortenden hatten eine positive Einstellung zur Komplementärmedizin, 28 % eine neutrale und 29 % eine negative. Die komplementärmedizinischen Verfahren die am positivsten beurteilt wurden waren Akupunktur, Ostopathie und Naturheilkunde. Die Mehrheit der Antwortenden war für die Integration der Komplementärmedizin in die Medizinischen Hochschulen (Forschung 85 %, Lehre 84 % and Behandlung 60 %). Allerdings gaben nur 162 Antwortende (34 %) an, dass Komplementärmedizin bereits in ihre medizinischen Hochschulen integriert wurde (Behandlung 26 %, Forschung 19 %, Lehre 18 %). Es zeigte sich kein signifikanter Unterschied zwischen den Ländern. SCHLUSSFOLGERUNGEN: Die Mehrheit der Antwortenden war für eine Integration von Komplementärmedizin in die medizinischen Hochschulen. Allerdings ist die Integration der Komplementärmedizin in den medizinischen Hochschulen derzeit sehr limitiert.

Schlüsselwörter

Universitätsmedizin Komplementärmedizin Naturheilkunde Querschnittsstudie Medizinisches Curriculum 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benno Brinkhaus
    • 1
  • Claudia M. Witt
    • 1
  • Susanne Jena
    • 2
  • Angelina Bockelbrink
    • 1
  • Miriam Ortiz
    • 1
  • Stefan N. Willich
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health EconomicsCharité University Medical CenterBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Biometry and StatisticsFreiburgGermany

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