Survey of Chinese Medicine Students to Determine Research and Evidence-Based Medicine Perspectives at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine

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Abstract

Context:

Research literacy and the practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM) are important initiatives in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which requires cultural change within educational institutions for successful implementation.

Objective:

To determine the self-assessed research and EBM perspectives of Chinese medicine Masters degree students at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, New York campus (PCOM-NY).

Design and Methods:

A survey with 17 close-ended questions and one open-ended question was administered through Survey Monkey to students at PCOM-NY.

Results:

The survey was sent to 420 Masters students and 176 (41.9%) responded. Students in all four years of the Masters degree indicated a generally high degree of interest in, and support for the value of research. However, increasing years (one to four years) in the program was associated with lower interest in post-graduation research participation and entering the doctoral program, and the fourth year students reported low levels of interest in having greater research content and training in their Masters degree programs. Students who responded to the open-ended question (23% of respondents) expressed enthusiasm for research and concerns about the relevance of research in Chinese medicine.

Conclusions:

Consistent with findings in similar studies at CAM colleges, interest in research, and EBM of the PCOM-NY Masters students appeared to decline with increasing years in the program. Concerns around paradigm and epistemological issues associated with research and EBM among Chinese medicine students and practitioners warrants further investigation, and may be an important challenge for integrative medicine.

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