American Medical Association Supports Alternative Medicine

Yes, you read that correctly.

The AMA House of Delegates recently passed "Increasing Awareness of the Benefits and Risks Associated with Complementary and Alternative Medicine."

Introduced by the active group of medical students who seem to be the vanguard here, the resolution states:

Whereas, Patient usage and acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread and growing in the US; and

Whereas, Current American Medical Association policy supports physicians routinely inquiring about the use of alternative or unconventional therapy by their patients, and to educate themselves and their patients about the state of scientific knowledge with regard to alternative therapy that may be used or contemplated (AMA Policy H-480.964); and

Whereas, Despite growing public interest and support for CAM, a majority of physicians surveyed, as reported in the 2004 Summer edition of Behavioral Medicine, do not feel sufficiently knowledgeable about CAM safety or efficacy and would like to receive more education on CAM modalities; and

Whereas, According to a report issued by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the educational opportunities offered by US allopathic medical schools in CAM are inconsistent and sparse; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support the incorporation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in medical education as well as continuing medical education curricula, covering CAM's benefits, risks, and efficacy.
Whereas, Patient usage and acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread and growing in the US; and

Whereas, Current American Medical Association policy supports physicians routinely inquiring about the use of alternative or unconventional therapy by their patients, and to educate themselves and their patients about the state of scientific knowledge with regard to alternative therapy that may be used or contemplated (AMA Policy H-480.964); and

Whereas, Despite growing public interest and support for CAM, a majority of physicians surveyed, as reported in the 2004 Summer edition of Behavioral Medicine, do not feel sufficiently knowledgeable about CAM safety or efficacy and would like to receive more education on CAM modalities; and

Whereas, According to a report issued by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the educational opportunities offered by US allopathic medical schools in CAM are inconsistent and sparse; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support the incorporation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in medical education as well as continuing medical education curricula, covering CAM's benefits, risks, and efficacy.

The Resolution also cites the old language -- seems centuries ago -- from the AMA, which is apparently still relevant policy (though the new language seemingly supercedes):

RELEVANT AMA POLICY

H-480.964 Alternative Medicine
Policy of the AMA on alternative medicine is: (1) There is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies. Much of the information currently known about these therapies makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious. Well-designed, stringently controlled research should be done to evaluate the efficacy of alternative therapies. (2) Physicians should routinely inquire about the use of alternative or unconventional therapy by their patients, and educate themselves and their patients about the state of scientific knowledge with regard to alternative therapy that may be used or contemplated. (3) Patients who choose alternative therapies should be educated as to the hazards that might result from postponing or stopping conventional medical treatment. (CSA Rep. 12, A-97; Reaffirmed: BOT Rep. 36, A-02)

H-480.973 Unconventional Medical Care in the United States
Our AMA: (1) encourages the Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health to determine by objective scientific evaluation the efficacy and safety of practices and procedures of unconventional medicine; and encourages its members to become better informed regarding the practices and techniques of alternative or unconventional medicine; and (2) utilizes the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's classification system of alternative medicine, "Major Domains of Complementary and Alternative Medicine,: in order to promote future discussion and research about the efficacy, safety, and use of alternative medicine. (BOT Rep. 15, A-94; Reaffirmed and Modified by Sub. Res. 514, I-95; Appended: Res. 505, A-00)


See also the amended language new as of June 2006.