Recommended Integrative Medicine Competencies for Family Medicine Residents

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Abstract

Background

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) has grown steadily over the past decade. Patients seek physician guidance, yet physicians typically have limited knowledge and training. There is some coverage of IM/CAM topics in medical schools and residencies but with little coordination or consistency.

Methodology

In 2008, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) group on Integrative Medicine began the process of designing a set of competencies to educate Family Medicine residents in core concepts of IM. The goal was creation of a set of nationally recognized competencies tied to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) domains. These competencies were to be achievable by diverse programs, including those without significant internal resources. The group compiled existing curricula from programs around the country and distilled these competencies through multiple reviews and discussions. Simultaneously, the Integrative Medicine in Residency program run by the University of Arizona underwent a similar process. In 2009, these competencies were combined and further developed at the STFM annual meeting by a group of experts.

Results

In 2010, the STFM Board approved 19 measurable competencies, each categorized by ACGME domain, as recommended for Family Medicine residencies. Programs have implemented these competencies in various ways given individual needs and resources.

Conclusions

This paper reviews the development of IM competencies for residency education in Family Medicine and presents those endorsed by STFM. By educating physicians in training about IM/CAM via competency-based curricula, we aim to promote comprehensive patient-centered care.

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