Research Training in Integrative Medicine: How Can We Make Teaching and Learning in Research Methods More Sustainable and Engaging?

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Abstract

Background

The aim of this project was to identify strategies for increasing learner engagement and knowledge retention in clinical research training of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) practitioners, and to offer a conceptual framework to address clinical research training for CIM practitioners.

Methods

In a featured large-group discussion (15 min presentation and 30 min discussion), two questions (strategies that are recommended to overcome these barriers; relevant aspects for a framework for building sustainable knowledge) were put to the audience. The sample consisted of 43 participants at the International Congress of Educators in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in Washington, DC, in October 2012.

Methods

The featured discussion was moderated and detailed notes were taken. Notes were synthesized and discussed by both authors until consensus was reached. Based on the results from the featured discussion session and a focused literature search, a framework for building sustainable knowledge and skills in clinical research for CIM practitioners was developed.

Results

Participants' responses to the questions of engagement and sustainability included curricular structures, pedagogical strategies for instruction, the use of digital tools to extend the learning experience, the necessity to ground instruction firmly in the medical literature of the field, and the relevance of mentoring. Key considerations for building sustainable knowledge in clinical research for CIM practitioners are as follows: (1) prioritizing clinical research training, (2) issues of curriculum and pedagogy, (3) technology/digital tools, (4) administrative challenges, (5) supporting the formation of communities of practice, and (6) cultural perspectives of CIM practitioners.

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