ICAM Resource Center
Welcome to the ICAM (Integrative, Complementary and Alternative Medicine) Resource Center! Our mission is to give health professionals-in-training an understanding of the distinct areas of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including how to integrate useful and proven CAM modalities into holistic, patient-centered clinical practice.
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative Medicine is a
patient-centered approach to medicine that focuses on treating the
“whole patient”. It incorporates the best of Western scientific medicine
with a broader understanding of the nature of healing, illness and
wellness. It appreciates that there are multiple aspects of patient care
(i.e. mental, physical, spiritual, environmental), recognizing that
these multiple aspects are critical to fostering an optimal healing
environment. To this aim, integrative medicine utilizes open, honest,
caring and humanistic interaction in the doctor-patient relationship in
order to educate and empower the patient. Patient education is seen as
the cornerstone for integrative medicine, which is informed by evidence,
drawing on scientifically-based interventions incorporating nutrition,
exercise, physical manipulation, as well as mind-body interventions.
AMSA’s working position statement on Integrative Medicine
believes that students and physicians can best serve their patients by
recognizing and acknowledging the availability of integrative medicine
in their communities. By pursuing education in complementary and
alternative medical (CAM) treatments, medical students and physicians
can better facilitate the appropriate education, treatment and
counseling of patients and consumers.
- AMSA believes that an empowered patient can serve as a powerful and central actor in their own healing.
education in CAM treatments uses scientific and ethnographic methods,
including quantitative and qualitative outcomes research of efficacy and
effectiveness. Although it is informed by evidence, it considers
explanatory models and cultural.
- AMSA supports students who
wish to work within the healthcare system to create an environment which
is supportive of the whole patient.
- AMSA believes that
medical students and other health care professionals need to be restored
and whole in order to be empowering and healing for their patients.
Efficacy VS Effectiveness of CAM Practices
(From Curtis, PC 2004) Efficacy means that the treatment or substance (surgery, medication, herbal remedy) clearly produces a change in biological or psychosocial function under optimum conditions—after excluding other possible causes for the change. That biological change may be beneficial or deleterious. Effectiveness, on the other hand, refers to the treatment’s success in day-to-day clinical practice. Outcomes of complementary and alternative medicine can be studied by using both efficacy and effectiveness research.
For more information: Curtis, PC. Assessing the Effectiveness of Complementary & Alternative Medicine. In S. Gaylord, S. Norton, P. Curtis (Eds.), The Convergence of Complementary, Alternative & Conventional Health Care: Educational Resources for Health Professionals. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Program on Integrative Medicine, 2004.