Medical Students' Knowledge, Perceptions, and Interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Abstract Background: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a growing industry in the health care system. In Ireland, to date there has not been a study that evaluates the knowledge of, interest in, and attitude of Irish medical students toward CAM. Objectives: This research can serve as a pilot study to inform Irish medical schools on the need to introduce CAM into the medical curriculum. Materials and Methods: The survey instrument was a modified design based on previously published studies carried out in other geographical areas. All medical students within the undergraduate and graduate entry programs (GEP) at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland were invited to participate in the study. SPSS software was used to analyze the results of the questionnaires. Results: The survey completion rate was 20.1%. A majority of students (78.4%) thought that CAM knowledge is important for their future career as physicians. Approximately 65% of students reported that they have not acquired sufficient knowledge about CAM from medical school, and 50.2% of students believe CAM should be incorporated into the medical curriculum. Preclinical years (49.4%) were suggested as the most appropriate time to learn about CAM. Knowledge of CAM modalities was generally rated as minimal or none by students. Among the 15 CAM modalities incorporated in the survey, massage, acupuncture, and meditation received the highest interest from students. Students who believe in a religion had a higher interest in CAM (p