Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Reports of significant use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States led the government in the 1990s to allocate funds towards the establishment of an Office, and subsequently a Center at the National Institutes of Health, to study CAM. At the time, most medical schools, including Georgetown University, incorporated only a few hours on CAM in their curricula. 1 In 2002, faculty from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics established a Master of Science degree in Physiology that included an introduction and exposure to CAM disciplines and philosophies. This proposal evolved from an R25 Education grant awarded to Georgetown University in 2001 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2,3 The faculty leading this initiative hoped that a significant percentage of graduates would go on to obtain doctorates in the sciences, with a focus on CAM-relevant questions, and thereby expand the community of researchers in this field. Indeed, a number of graduates completed doctorate degrees and continue to work on aspects ranging from basic to clinical translational research; however, the majority opted for careers in the health professions. As a consequence, the curriculum was modified and enhanced to address the needs of postbaccalaureate students set on pursuing careers in the health professions. A description of this program appeared several years ago, 4 and our purpose in this article is to provide a review on how the program has evolved, its impact on the healthcare-related career choices, and to share some of the exciting new directions that have taken place.
Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.