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Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine

Medical schools going the wrong way

Everyone who reads this blog regularly knows my dismay at the infiltration of the curriculum of American medical schools with increasing amounts of non-evidence-based woo. It’s even gotten to the point where one medical school (Georgetown University) has is integrating alternative medicine into the mandatory curriculum during all four years, even though these modalities are not based in convincing scientific evidence and therefore are not considered standard of care. Well, this distressing trend just gets more and more disturbing. Now, it seems, you can do a residency or fellowship in “integrative medicine,” where you can learn how to “integrate” non-evidence-based modalities right along side scientific evidence-based medicine.

This is “progress”?

What’s most disturbing is looking at the “Licensing, Certifying and Training Standards for Alternate Modalities.” For example, if I ever wanted to be “certified” in homeopathy as a physician, this is all I would need (well, plus $500 to take the “certification exam”):

For MDs (Medical doctors) and DOs (Osteopathic doctors):

  • Certification: The American Board of Homeotherapeutics certifies physicians at two levels:
    1. A Primary Care Certificate in Homeotherapeutics can be obtained at the post-graduate or graduate level. It requires: 60-100 hours of training homeotherapeutics and a written exam;
    2. A “Diplomate in Homeotherapeutics (DHt)” is required for treatment of chronic disease or complex pathology. It requires: proof of comprehensive didactic and clinical traing and 3 years of clinical experience.
  • Licensure: Most physicians practice homeopathic medicine under the licensure provided by their state medical boards. However, Connecticut, Nevada and Arizona have developed separate homeopathic medical state licensing boards and physicians must obtain and additional license in these states. Currently, MDs and DOs are the only professions licensed to practice homeopathy in all of the states.

What the hell is going on in Connecticut, Nevada, and Arizona that they actually license homeopathic woo?

Maybe I’m just wasting my time fighting the intrusion of this woo into medicine. I could just give in and dive in. 60-100 hours? I could take two or three weeks off and do that. Then I, too, could dispense placebos wrapped in ritual and charge money for it.

Yeah, I’m not in a great mood at the moment about the state of medicine.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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